- Start date: September
- Study mode and duration: MSc: 12 months full-time; 24 months part-time
PgDip: 9 months full-time; 18 months part-time
Scholarships: Commonwealth Shared Scholarship available
Study with us
- deepen your understanding of contemporary and historical issues relating to diplomacy and security
- gain skills to design advanced research projects
- benefit from a unique multidisciplinary experience
Why this course?
The MSc Diplomacy & International Security gives graduates from a range of academic backgrounds the opportunity to gain expertise in a vital area of international engagement. It will also appeal to professionals interested in moving into positions requiring a breadth of knowledge on diplomacy, history and security issues.
Diplomacy and International Security are among the most pressing issues facing the world today. This programme is distinctive as it offers students a historical understanding of contemporary issues and enables them to develop an in depth knowledge of diplomacy. The programme examines key international security concerns and gives students the opportunity to engage with issues of vital relevance in today’s world.
This Masters programme offers a genuinely multidisciplinary experience. Drawing on the academic expertise in the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences, you'll be able to select classes from History, the School of Government & Public Policy, and the Law School.
The course has links with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Consular Missions in Edinburgh. Distinguished diplomatic and foreign policy practitioners will contribute to the programme and you'll have the opportunity to visit the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London.
The course was selected for the prestigious Commonwealth Shared Scholarship for 2020/21 which enables talented and motivated individuals to gain the knowledge and skills required for sustainable development, and are aimed at those who could not otherwise afford to study in the UK.
What you’ll study
The MSc in Diplomacy & International Security introduces and familiarises you with contemporary and historical issues relating to the course topics, examining them through historical, political and legal viewpoints.
The course is organised into core and elective classes. The core classes focus on the evolution and practice of diplomacy and will provide students with the research skills required. The opportunity to carry out an extended piece of original historical research and writing is provided in the form of the dissertation.
There are two core modules and you can select optional classes from each school. Your experience is further enhanced by learning alongside students from other disciplinary backgrounds.
MSc students also write a dissertation. You’ll research a topic of your choice, under the supervision of a member of staff.
Learning & teaching
This course is taught mainly through face-to-face teaching where class time is spent discussing and debating the weekly topic. Each class is delivered through two-hour weekly seminars, which students are required to attend.
Assessment is conducted with a mixture of presentations, written assignments and exams that vary module by module
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Diplomacy: Evolution, Theory and Practice
This course provides an advanced study of the evolution of diplomacy. While giving an historical overview it asks questions throughout about the current relevance of various diplomatic practices such as the appointment of ambassadors and the elite nature of policy-making in the diplomatic field. The class will also discusses the broader issues about the definition and purpose of diplomacy.
Embassies in Crisis
Embassies are integral to international diplomacy, their staff instrumental to inter-governmental dialogue, strategic partnerships, trading relationships and cultural exchange. But embassies are also discreet political spaces. Notionally sovereign territory ‘immune’ from local jurisdiction, in moments of crisis embassies have often been targets of protest and sites of confrontation. It is this aspect of embassy experience that this class will explore.
Choose one module from the following three subject-specific research classes:
Research Skills, Sources & Methods for Historians
This class introduces students to methodological and practical issues in historical research. The class is designed to help you decide a research topic and a design that you will use for your dissertation. Topics covered include formulating research questions, developing concepts, and how to select cases to study.
Principles of Research Design
This class covers key research design issues and enables you to evaluate alternative research designs and create appropriate research proposals. The class is designed to help you decide a research topic and a design that you will use for your dissertation. Topics covered include formulating research questions, developing concepts, and how to select cases to study.
Please note that optional classes are subject to change year on year. Indicative list is below.
Contemporary Security Challenges & Responses
The concept of national security expanded to incorporate not only ‘traditional’ threats from hostile actors, but a host of issues ranging from the impact of climate change, natural disasters, resource security and even recession. Security has become increasingly globalised and interconnected in threat and response while also increasingly recruiting the populace to be ‘secure citizens’. The relevant theories underpinning these developing trends will be examined alongside the key institutions and actors.
Britain, France & the United States 1945-1955 Diplomacy, Strategy & Alliance
This class explores the diplomacy of the post war world. It will provide students with a deeper and more nuanced understanding of the key international issues faced by Britain, France and the United States after the Second World War. Students will examine the issues which strengthened the post-war alliance and those which challenged it.
Contemporary International Relations
This class introduces students to the literature and research agendas related to conflict and cooperation in international relations studies.
We'll cover a wide array of approaches that relate to interstate and intrastate (civil) conflict, cooperation and other contemporary security topics such as post-conflict peace, peacekeeping operations, terrorism, and human rights violations.
Terrorism & the Law
While legal responses to terrorism long pre-date the attacks of 9/11, the events of that day prompted a radical shift, with certain countries expanding their already substantial counter-terrorist offences and powers, while others moved to criminalise acts of terror as distinct crimes for the first time.
International Human Rights Law
Human rights protection is a global concern. This class examines civil and political rights along with economic, social and cultural rights, and assesses the range of international monitoring and supervision regimes. Topics covered include the major international treaties and bodies. It also looks at the challenges to human rights in transitional societies as well as the right to self-determination.
International Institutions & Regimes
The purpose of this class is to provide students with a comprehensive overview of the concepts and theoretical approaches central to understanding and analysing the role of international institutions and regimes in the contemporary world.
This class will survey a variety of international institutions and regimes, exploring how they shape global interactions in a number of cross-cutting issue areas such as security, trade, human rights and the environment. The overall analysis will contribute to the understanding of the theories, practices and processes through which global politics are organised, and to an assessment of the future of international institutions and regimes in global governance.
Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution in the Arab-Israeli Dispute, 1947-1979
The class surveys and analyses the changing nature of conflict management and resolution in the Arab-Israeli dispute, together with the range of conceptual tools that seek to explain the international activity in this region. The objective is to examine the relationship between the theoretical literature within the field of diplomacy and conflict resolution and specific case studies with a particular focus on the period from the 1947 UN Partition Plan to the brink of the 1979 Camp David settlement, realised under President Jimmy Carter.
The first part of the module will focus on the influence of the United Nations on the region and the establishment of Israel in 1948. Students will then explore the impact of the Cold War on the Middle East and the role of the UN in international conflict resolution. Then the course will examine the 1973 crisis management and the US-Soviet competition to become a unilateral peacemaker in the region. Students will then explore Henry Kissinger’s negotiation tactics, including shuttle diplomacy, step-by-step approach and hard bargaining. The latter part of the module will then focus on summit diplomacy with Jimmy Carter’s single-negotiating text approach and Camp David Accords as a case study.
Cold War in Africa
This class introduces students to major debates in the history of the Cold War in Africa, especially focusing on the agency of Africans in international politics. The class is arranged roughly chronologically.
The opening weeks set out major themes of the course, such as the nature of African nationalism and the outcomes of decolonization, before moving onto debates about development, modernisation, and culture in the African context. The class then considers several thematic case studies, which explore the causes of war, and conflict resolution, in southern Africa before finishing off with a discussion of the repercussions of the Cold War for the African continent.
We'll look in detail at the decolonisation in British and French Africa, before looking in some depth at the upheaval in the Congo. We'll also investigate the ‘diplomacy of liberation’, employed by African revolutionaries from the Portuguese colonies and South Africa to achieve majority rule and independence; examine the onset of the civil war in Angola and the struggle against apartheid in South Africa.
While the course will deal with the policies of the Soviet Union and the United States in Africa, its main objective is to study the diplomacy, strategies and statecraft of Africans in the twentieth century and investigate their impact on the ‘Global Cold War’. Were Africans simply proxies of superpower competition or did they use diplomacy to their own advantage?
The class thus aims to assess the ways in which the Cold War affected the processes of decolonisation, nation-building and democratisation in Africa. It also studies the importance of the continent for the global struggles and transformations of the post-War era. The course also allows students to creatively engage with a growing body of secondary literature and documentary evidence.
First or upper second-class Honours degree, or international equivalent, in social sciences/law subjects or substantial professional experience.
|English language requirements|
You're required to have a suitable minimum level of competency in the English language if your first language is not English or if you have not been educated wholly or mainly in the medium of English.
For postgraduate studies, the University of Strathclyde requires a minimum overall score of IELTS 6.5 (with no score below 6.0) or equivalent. Tests are valid for two years.
Pre-sessional courses in English are available.
If you’re a national of an English speaking country recognised by UK Visa and Immigration (please check most up-to-date list on the Home Office website) or you've successfully completed an academic qualification (at least equivalent to a UK bachelor's degree) in any of these countries, then you don't need to present any additional evidence.
If you're from a country not recognised as an English speaking country by the United Kingdom Visa and Immigration (UKVI), please check our English requirements before making your application.
Pre-Masters preparation course
The Pre-Masters Programme is a preparation course held at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre, for international students (non EU/UK) who do not meet the academic entry requirements for a Masters degree at University of Strathclyde. The Pre-Masters programme provides progression to a number of degree options.
Upon successful completion, you will be able to progress to this degree course at the University of Strathclyde.
We've a thriving international community with students coming here to study from over 100 countries across the world. Find out all you need to know about studying in Glasgow at Strathclyde and hear from students about their experiences.Visit our international students' section
Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences Alumni Discount
10% tuition fee discount is offered to all Strathclyde alumni completing a full-time postgraduate taught course in the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences.Find out more about our alumni discount
Fees & funding
All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.
|Rest of UK|
Please note: the fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.
How can I fund my course?
Scottish and non-UK EU postgraduate students
Scottish and non-UK EU postgraduate students may be able to apply for support from the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS). The support is in the form of a tuition fee loan and for eligible students, a living cost loan. Find out more about the support and how to apply.
Students coming from England
Students ordinarily resident in England may be to apply for postgraduate support from Student Finance England. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. Find out more about the support and how to apply.
Students coming from Wales
Students ordinarily resident in Wales may be to apply for postgraduate support from Student Finance Wales. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. Find out more about the support and how to apply.
Students coming from Northern Ireland
Postgraduate students who are ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland may be able to apply for support from Student Finance Northern Ireland. The support is a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500. Find out more about the support and how to apply.
We've a large range of scholarships available to help you fund your studies. Check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.
To recognise academic achievement, the Dean's Excellence Award offers international students a merit-based scholarship of £3,000 towards the first year of tuition fees of a full-time Masters, EdD Education or 1 year MRes programme in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.
To apply for a Dean’s International Excellence Awards: Humanities & Social Sciences, candidates must:
- Be available to commence their academic studies in the UK by the start of the academic year in September/October 2020.
Some scholarships have restrictions on other funding you can accept. This means that you have to decide which scholarship to accept. For any University of Strathclyde award you are successful in applying for, you will receive the higher value award only.Find out more
Diplomacy and international security are among the most pressing issues facing the world today. Success or failure can have huge implications for society as a whole. I am interested in bringing together academics and practitioners. This has led to many fruitful collaborations over the years and the opportunity to present my work at places like the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
The programme will equip students with the skills and knowledge to pursue professional careers in areas including:
- government (whether domestically or in supra-national organisations such as the EU or UN)
- non-governmental organisations
- international agencies
- law firms
The strong research focus means this course will also act as a route to advanced postgraduate study in:
- international relations
- security studies
For those who wish to pursue a career outside academia, this research component will be beneficial for various research and policy roles, and the public and third sectors.
Interaction with practitioners is an important aspect of the MSc Diplomacy and International Security course and gives students a real-life insight into their area of study.
Students with Sir Mark Lyall Grant, UK National Security Adviser 2015-17, Ambassador and Permanent Representative, UK Mission to the UN New York, 2009 to 2015.
Students with His Excellency, Professor Cheikh Ahmadou Dieng, the Senegal Ambassador to the UK.
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Diplomacy and International Security
Start Date: Sep 2020
Mode of Delivery: full-time
Diplomacy and International Security
Start Date: Sep 2020
Mode of Delivery: part-time
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