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Course summary

The information provided on this page was correct at the time of publication (October/November 2022). For complete and up-to-date information about this course, please visit the relevant University of Oxford course page via The Oxford University Diplomatic Studies Programme (DSP) is one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious diplomacy programmes. It comprises a one-year, full time Master’s degree of mixed academic and vocational study. Customised for professionals, it equips participants with the knowledge and skills they require to conduct diplomacy in a complex, interdependent world. The Master of Studies (MSt) in Diplomatic Studies comprises four taught courses and requires the successful completion of a dissertation. The taught courses are as follows:

  • Diplomatic Practice focuses on both diplomatic skills (oral, written and strategic) and key manifestations of professional diplomacy, inter alia digital, economic and public diplomacy. The course is complemented by practical exercises, simulations and workshops in international negotiations, crisis management, media interview techniques and effective public speaking.
  • International Politics treats key concepts in International Relations leading to central issues in world politics, with particular emphasis on current dynamics in the international system.
  • Public International Law expounds the principles, processes and institutions of a key foundation of international society, namely international law. Legal reasoning is applied to the issues that populate the contemporary diplomatic agenda.
  • International Trade and Finance covers the basics of international trade theory and macroeconomics, and focuses on such applied and political economy topics as trade liberalisation, globalisation, international resource transfers and development.
In addition to the four taught courses above, the MSt in Diplomatic Studies requires completion of a substantial individual research project. A supervised dissertation of up to 15,000 words is done on an approved course-related topic of personal interest. To help students plan, structure and conduct their research, the DSP includes a compulsory introductory course in research methods for the social sciences. Optional, supplementary courses include English language classes (to help non-native speakers of English polish their oral and written proficiency in the language) and Academic Literacy, which assists students to develop advanced skills in preparing and presenting their academic work. The programme is delivered through a variety of lectures, seminars, workshops and small group tutorials. While the number of contact hours is likely to vary each year, these typically amount to 180 lectures/seminars and 24 tutorials. As part of the course in diplomatic practice, the DSP normally includes study visits to government departments, international organisations and business and media institutions in the United Kingdom and Europe. A study tour to Northern Ireland or Scotland may also take place. Diplomatic Studies Programme (DSP) participants are typically early- to mid-career diplomats who resume their careers on successful completion of the course, but applications are also accepted from candidates with professional experience and academic qualifications in related fields. The annual intake has a global reach, and participants come from a wide range of countries. This creates a rich and immersive experience, where students learn as much from their peers as they do from the world-class scholars and practitioners who lecture ion the programme. The resulting networking opportunities are a major attraction of the DSP. Every DSP participant is encouraged to take advantage of the broad range of opportunities available to them as a member of the University and one of its colleges, such as attending lectures, engaging in debates and participating in Oxford’s numerous clubs and societies.

Entry requirements

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Fees and funding

Tuition fees

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Additional fee information

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Diplomatic Studies at University of Oxford - UCAS