Taught course


University of Reading · Graduate Institute of Political and International Relations (GIPIS)

Entry requirements

Normally a good undergraduate honours degree (high 2.2 level or above), or equivalent from a university outside the UK. All of our programmes are appropriate for students from any disciplinary background, although a degree in politics, economics, international relations is preferred. Relevant work experience may also be taken into account.

Months of entry


Course content

Study the relations and transactions between states, the international system, and the implementation of foreign policy with our MA Diplomacy programme.

Diplomacy is a constantly evolving phenomenon. Not only is an ever-growing range of actors involved, but the tools, means and methods of diplomacy are becoming increasingly varied.

Contemporary challenges – including financial and economic crises, terrorism and armed conflict, a changing balance of power among countries, climate change, and global health crises – are expanding the range of transnational issues that require global cooperation.

At the University of Reading, our programme provides you with:

  • detailed knowledge of the main concepts and theories of international diplomacy and of key contemporary episodes in international diplomacy.
  • in-depth understanding of the range of diplomatic actors, tools and challenges that exist in today’s world.
  • skills to critically analyse the cooperation and conflict that characterise international diplomatic transactions and interactions and to develop your own arguments.
  • a range of practical skills relating to contemporary diplomatic practice, including negotiation, influencing and policy engagement.

Advance your expertise in contemporary diplomacy

Gain knowledge of the main actors involved in, issues addressed by, and tools and methods used in, contemporary diplomacy. You’ll consider entities ranging from ‘traditional’ diplomatic actors, like states and foreign ministries, to actors not historically considered diplomats but who have significant influence on foreign policy, including NGOs, individuals and corporations.

You’ll examine the range of issues addressed by diplomacy and how this is changing as the world becomes more interconnected and networked. In addition, you’ll examine the range of tools and techniques available to diplomats, including:

  • coercive diplomacy
  • public diplomacy
  • digital diplomacy
  • lobbying and influencing
  • negotiation and mediation.

Learn from experts

Benefit from the direct and substantial input of current and former diplomats. This not only enables you to test theories of diplomacy against actual practice, but to develop diplomatic skills through a range of practical exercises. It also offers opportunities for networking and interacting with diplomats, further developing your employability prospects.

Step into a diplomat’s shoes

Gain ‘first-hand’ experience as a diplomat, through a range of in-class exercises, simulations and written policy-oriented assignments. These are reinforced by direct input from highly-experienced current and former diplomats, providing you with the opportunity to engage significantly with the actual diplomatic practice.

Develop key employability skills

You’ll acquire a wide range of academic analytical skills. These include: the ability to develop coherent, convincing arguments; the ability to test arguments rigorously through the application of appropriate social sciences methods; and practical skills used in diplomacy through in-class exercises, interaction with current and former diplomats, group work, and assessments.

Our MA Diplomacy programme will also support you to become confident in oral and written communication, as our modules are taught in small-group seminars. Additionally, you’ll acquire strong presentation, essay writing and teamwork skills.

Benefit from research training

As part of your degree, you'll complete a research dissertation in an area of personal interest. It's an opportunity for you to conduct independent research, supervised by an expert, and to contribute new insights to the current scholarly debate.

The Qualitative Research Methods module will provide you with a solid grounding in a range of qualitative methods used in social science research. You’ll learn how to identify and frame research questions, gather and analyse relevant data, and apply a variety of different methods in your own research.

Learn more about our experts.

Department of Politics and International Relations at University of Reading

  • Recognised for research quality: 97% of our research outputs are rated ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’, meaning that the University of Reading is 6th highest in the UK for research outputs (Times Higher Education analysis of the latest REF 2021 – Politics and International Studies, when scoring by GPA Output)
  • Wide-ranging expertise: Our areas of strength include Applied Political Theory, Comparative Politics, Public Policy Analysis, Conflict, Security, Strategy and International Relations.
  • Research-led, relevant teaching: Our academics regularly feature in academic literature and the media, offering their expertise on current issues. Learn more about how we engage in real-world politics.
  • Exciting optional modules: Across all of our master's degrees, you’ll have the flexibility to study the subjects you're most passionate about.
  • Wide variety of teaching and assessment methods: Teaching primarily occurs through small discussion-based seminars, supplemented by lectures and other activities. Assessments range from traditional essays and oral presentations to various ‘real-world’ assignments such as policy papers.

Information for international students

IELTS: 6.5 overall with no element less than 5.5 (or equivalent).

Fees and funding

UK students
International students
Tuition fee information

The fees listed are for full-time study, unless otherwise stated. Fee information will be confirmed in offer letters sent out to successful applicants. You can find further information, including information for part-time study, through our dedicated fees and funding page.

EU student fees

With effect from 1 August 2021, new EU students will pay international tuition fees. For exceptions, please read the UK government’s guidance for EU students.

Additional costs

Some courses will require additional payments for field trips and extra resources. You will also need to budget for your accommodation and living costs. See our information on living costs for more details.

Financial support for your studies

You may be eligible for a scholarship or bursary to help pay for your study. Students from the UK may also be eligible for a student loan to help cover these costs. See our fees and funding information for more information on what's available.

International students applying to study this degree may also be eligible to apply for a Chevening Scholarship.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MA
    part time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Global Department Team