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MA in EU International Relations and Diplomacy Studies

Course Description

The advanced MA in EU International Relations and Diplomacy Studies offers:

- a unique blend of knowledge in EU external relations and training in professional and diplomatic skills,
- tailor-made courses covering core areas of EU diplomacy while allowing for individual curricula addressing novel topics, and
- immersion in a diverse, dynamic and dedicated group of teachers, staff and students.

The study programme targets applicants who are:
- familiar with the European Union, its institutions and decision-making processes and seek to specialize in EU diplomacy and external action,
- ready to take part in a highly demanding and equally rewarding one-year programme,
- curious about the EU’s role in the world and open to new ways of thinking, and
- preparing for a career in the EU institutions, national diplomatic services and international organisations or in consultancies, NGOs and research.

Why study EU external relations in Bruges?

The advanced MA in EU International Relations and Diplomacy Studies offers an exciting study programme for applicants who are already familiar with the European Union, its institutions and decision-making processes and would like to specialise in EU diplomacy and external action.

Among the major reasons to study EU external relations in Bruges are:
1. the programme’s distinctive blend of knowledge and skills aimed at:

- enhancing the understanding of diplomacy and EU external relations (such as foreign policy, legal aspects, security, trade and development, major bi- and multilateral relations, or external aspects of EU internal policies), including through a study visit to the international diplomatic hub of Geneva
- acquiring diplomatic skills (negotiation analysis, simulation game, multicultural competences, insights beyond Europe, interaction with high-level visitors, etc.)
- developing professional skills (critical analysis, public speaking, drafting, time management, teamwork, thinking ‘outside the box’, etc.)
- strengthening personal language skills through coursework in English and French and the opportunity to learn a new foreign language

2. the unique, tailor-made courses:

- ensuring a comprehensive understanding of EU diplomacy through carefully designed core courses
- allowing students to construct an individual curriculum including novel topics (for example, international mediation, intelligence analysis, political reporting, risk analysis, project and communications management)
- offering a highly challenging but equally rewarding learning experience and encouraging continuous personal growth
- preparing for careers in the EU institutions, national diplomatic services and international organisations or in consultancies, NGOs and research

3. the people of the academic department:

- academics from top universities, trainers from think tanks and practitioners from various sectors
- dedicated staff members supporting students in their learning experience
- immersion in a highly diverse and dynamic student body with intercultural exchanges opening new perspectives and creating lasting networks

Study programme

This accredited study programme (66 ECTS) provides expertise in all aspects of the EU's external relations (foreign and security policy, trade, development, international financial relations, immigration, asylum, etc.), the EU's external representation and relations with major countries and regions in the world as well as certain professional skills such as political risk analysis, Public Relations, impact assessment or project management. Students thus learn to understand the multifaceted international role of the EU in connection with the functioning of the complex EU system, and they acquire the sound theoretical and practical knowledge needed to succeed in a variety of careers in national, European and international affairs.

First Semester

In the first semester, starting in mid-September, students follow several compulsory courses. They ensure the necessary background with regard to the political, legal and economic aspects of the EU’s external relations and the practice of modern diplomacy. In addition, an introductory course is offered on EU institutions and decision-making.

Language courses form an integral part of the EU International Relations and Diplomacy Studies programme throughout the academic year.

Second Semester

In the second semester, starting in January, students choose among a range of optional courses. They explore in depth selected topics that were broadly introduced to them during the compulsory courses, thus giving them the opportunity to study specific areas of interest more closely and interactively.The selected courses cover at least three of the folllowing thematic clusters: security and justice, foreign economic relations, bi- and multilateral diplomacy and professional skills.

In addition, students follow two more compulsory courses which focus more closely on the Union's neighbourhood: a simulation exercise in the field of EU crisis management and a course on the European Neighbourhood Policy.

Each student writes a Master's Thesis, generally in the framework of an optional or compulsory course. Abstracts of the best Master’s theses each year are published on the website of the College of Europe.

Beyond the regular courses, the Department offers many voluntary extra-curricular activities such as guest lectures and conferences as well as compact seminars and workshops on a broad range of topical issues relevant to the study of the EU's exernal relations. The Department also conducts its own research activities.

The study programmes are revised annually to ensure continuing excellence and dynamism.

Entry Requirements

Students admitted to the Department of EU International Relations and Diplomacy Studies should have an excellent university diploma, primarily in one of the following fields:Political ScienceInternational RelationsEuropean StudiesDiplomatic StudiesLawEconomicsContemporary European historyCandidates may also be seconded from international organisations and national foreign services, provided they hold a university degree and have relevant professional experience.

Course Fees


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