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  • Study Type

    Full time & Part time available

  • Subject Areas

    Politics & Government

  • Start Date

    September, January

  • Course Duration

    Full-time: 1 year; Part-time: 2 years

  • Course Type

    MA, MRes

  • Course Fees

    UK/EU: Full-time £5,000, Part-time £2,750; International: £13,260

Course content


In international politics, the primary day-to-day means of contact between states is through the institution of diplomacy. A rich legal tradition of how this diplomacy is governed has evolved, and the practices of diplomacy by states continue to change and shape the patterns of world politics around us. So one important way to understand international politics is to examine the practices of diplomats and the contexts within which they operate.

Keele's MA/MRes in Diplomatic Studies aims to meet this need. The first of its kind in the UK, it continues to provide a solid, advanced grounding in the legal foundations, and the theory and practice of diplomacy. Many students on the course are from diplomatic backgrounds, and so the course provides a useful link between the worlds of academia and of practical policy-making.

The course is taught over a 12 month period (September-September; January-January). It is available as a full-time and/or part-time mode of study. Students completing the course have gone on to a variety of careers in the public, private and voluntary sectors.

See the website https://www.keele.ac.uk/pgtcourses/diplomaticstudies/

Course Aims

The course aims to ground students in the central legal, theoretical and practical aspects of diplomacy. It does this within a context of a more general understanding of International Relations. It also prepares students for research – both research that they may do for their dissertation, but also research that they may undertake in their future academic or professional work. The optional modules and the dissertation give students a broad scope in which to pursue topics of their own choosing.

Course Content

Taught masters programmes require satisfactory completion of at least 180 credits, made up of 6 taught module (120 credits) plus a 15,000 word dissertation (60 credits). The MA and MRes programmes differ in that the MA programme contains more subject-specific modules and less research training, while the MRes programme contains more research training, in preparation for a research career or for undertaking a research degree such as a PhD.

• Power, Knowledge and the World (30 credits)
• Perspectives in Politics and International Relations (30 credits)
• Research in Action (15 credits)
• Three (15 credits) optional modules chosen from the list below
• 15,000 word dissertation on an approved topic in Diplomatic Studies (60 credits)

• Research Design and Process (20 credits)
• Two 15 credits optional modules chosen from the list below
• Perspectives in Politics and international Relations (30 credits)
• Quantitative Data Analysis I (20 credits)
• Qualitative Data Analysis (20 credits)
• 15,000 word dissertation on an approved topic in Diplomatic Studies (60 credits)

Optional modules can be drawn from modules such as those listed below, although the precise list of available modules may vary from year to year.

• Approaches to European Integration: History and Practice
• Comparative Public Management Reform (recommended)
• Comparative European Politics
• Diplomatic Law (recommended)
• Diplomatic Practice (recommended)
• Dimensions of Environmental Politics
• Environmental Diplomacy
• Environmental Movements: North and South
• Environmental Politics and Policy in India and China (recommended)
• Parties and Democracy
• Right-Wing Radical Parties
• The Changing International Agenda
• The Politics of Global Security
• The Theory of Global Security
• US Environmental Politics and Policy
• US Foreign Policy

Options available outside SPIRE
It is also possible to take a modern foreign language as a replacement for one of your optional modules. Languages currently available are; French, Russian, German, Spanish and Japanese, at beginners, intermediate or advanced level.

Background reading:
There is no single textbook for this course. Some of the basic texts include: R.P. Barston, Modern Diplomacy, G.R. Berridge, Diplomacy: Theory and Practice, C.M. Constantinou, On the Way to Diplomacy, J. Der Derian, On Diplomacy, K. Hamilton and R. Langhore, The Practice of Diplomacy, H. Nicoslon, The Evolution of Diplomatic Method, E. Satow, Guide to Diplomatic Practice, and A. Watson, Diplomacy: The Dialogue Between States.

Teaching & Assessment

Postgraduate teaching and learning generally takes place in a combination of large seminars and smaller discussion groups. Our academics typically lead the sessions, encouraging discussion between all students. Sometimes students will give presentations, either individually or in groups.

There is a strong emphasis on independent learning and students are expected to work on their own to produce their essays and dissertation. Most modules are assessed by a diverse range of coursework (e.g., essays, critiques, reports, presentations), though some modules may also be assessed by seminar contributions and/or written exams. Students take three modules in each semester. The taught modules are completed by May, leaving the summer months for students to write their dissertation.

Additional Costs

Apart from purchasing textbooks and other sundry materials, no significant additional costs are compulsory for this course.


SPIRE is a thoroughly international school, and is particularly welcoming to international students, as well as providing plenty of opportunities for home students to broaden their horizons.

We have staff with educational backgrounds in a wide variety of countries, such as Sweden, Canada, Bulgaria, Italy, Austria, Romania, and Turkey, who present their research all around the world. Students have the opportunity to hear visiting lecturers from various different countries, arranged through our ERASMUS partnerships.

International students will join established international communities at Keele, and will find plenty of support mechanisms in place to help them make the transition to study in the UK.

Find information on Scholarships here - http://www.keele.ac.uk/studentfunding/bursariesscholarships/

Visit the Diplomatic Studies (MA/MRes) page on the Keele University website for more details!





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