Foundations of Diplomacy Pre-Master's Course

Course details

Pre-Master's Course in Diplomacy 2023-24

The Foundations of Diplomacy Course offers a unique blend of academic seminars, practical classes and professional development skills workshops. It not only teaches you how to communicate clearly and confidently in spoken and written English, but also helps you to develop superior analytical and critical thinking skills.

For 2023-24 we're introducing a series of five highly practical, day-long transferable skills workshops to improve your presentation design and delivery skills, to enable you to engage professionally and confidently in TV interviews, and to hone your project management and leadership skills.

If you're considering a career in diplomacy or intending to work for a government ministry, think tank, NGO or international organisation, this course could prove an invaluable starting point.

Course Structure

The course offers you a thorough grounding in diplomatic theory and practice, as well as introductory courses in international relations, political economy, politics and ideology, and public international law. It is suitable for students who have no previous knowledge of diplomacy, politics and international relations.

Your course begins with a dynamic one-week Academic and Cultural Orientation programme, followed by two 10-week terms. Please note that changes may be made to the course syllabi shown below as required. 

Academic and Cultural Orientation Week (25 September - 29 September 2023)

To ensure you settle into university life at Oxford, our Academic and Cultural Orientation Week has been designed to offer you a smooth transition not only to your full-time academic studies, but also to help you integrate successfully into everyday life in the UK. Among other things, you will be introduced to British academic culture and values, take a personal digital skills health check, evaluate your personal organisational skills, and participate in a number of social activities.

Michaelmas Term (2 October - 15 December, 2023)

Teaching will be delivered in the Department's main building at Rewley House. Please note that if, at any point, face-to-face teaching is not possible, classes will be delivered online.

You will take all of the classes below:

Academic and Diplomatic Practice Module

English Language Module*

Academic Literacy Module

Hilary Term (8 January - 22 March, 2024)

Teaching will be delivered in the Department's main building at Rewley House. Each week, you will benefit from lectures, seminars and small group activities. 

You take all of the classes below:

Academic and Diplomatic Practice Module

English Language Module

Academic Literacy Module

Professional Skills Development Workshops (New for 2023-24)

A series of transferable professional skills workshops will be delivered across both terms. They have been designed to be engaging, practical and participatory.

  • Presentations: Designing and Delivering with Confidence (Full day)
  • Talking to Camera – Media Interview Techniques (Full day)
  • Essentials of Project Management (Full day)
  • Communicating Successfully across Cultures (Full day)
  • Effective Leadership through Emotional Intelligence (Full day)


Weekly Individual Academic Literacy Tutorial

In both Michaelmas and Hilary terms all students receive a weekly individual academic literacy tutorial which provides personalised academic writing support. Tutorials are arranged at mutually convenient times for students and tutors.

*Students who are native speakers of English or who have a high degree of fluency in the language (IELTS 7.5 and above) are exempted from the English Language Module and, in lieu, take a Personalised Academic Study Option (below). They are also stongly encouraged to follow classes in academic literacy and critical thinking over two terms.

Assessment methods and feedback

In Michaelmas term you will be required to prepare three assignments and in Hilary Term you will be required to prepare four assignments. These may take the form of an essay, a report or brief, or a presentation.

During your course you will benefit from a high degree of written and oral feedback on both formatively and summatively assessed work.

Personalised Academic Study Option

Students who have been exempted from the English Language Module must submit an assignment for ONE other academic course of study included in the course. We also offer students exempt from the English Language Module a seminar series on Rhetoric. You will be required to submit an assignment of 2,500 words each term on your chosen option.

UK and international study visits

If circumstances with travel inside the UK and internationally allow, students have the opportunity to attend a number of study visits to institutions in London each term, and also a three-day European field trip to Vienna where you will visit a number of international agencies. There is no additional fee for this visit which includes airport transfers (UK and Austria), flights, bed and breakfast accommodation, excursions and entrance fees.


Course books and materials

All course books and study materials for both academic and English language and literacy modules are included in your course fees.

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Term dates 2023-24

  • Academic and Cultural Orientation Week (25 September - 29 September 2023)
  • Michaelmas Term  (2 October - 15 December 2023)
  • Hilary Term (8 January - 22 March 2024)

Please click here for a sample course timetable. Please note that the timetable is liable to change at short notice.

Graduate applicants

If you are intending to apply for admission to a Master’s degree on successful completion of the course you should hold a good first degree in any subject. Applicants should note that successful completion of the pre-Master's course does not guarantee progression to Master's degree courses at Oxford for which separate application is necessary.

Non-graduate applicants

We welcome applications from those with a strong interest in the fields of diplomacy, politics and international relations who may have no formal qualifications but who would like to follow an intellectually stimulating and engaging interdisciplinary course. Importantly, we are looking for a high level of commitment, as well as the capacity for intellectual growth and development. Admission will be based on information provided in the application form and at interview. We may also ask you for evidence of written work. If you have any questions concerning your suitability for admission and would like to discuss your interest in the course with us, please contact our course administrator at

Important information regarding visa requirements

We welcome applications from international students, and you can check if you need a visa for this course using this link on the GOV.UK website. If you require a visa to study abroad, then we strongly recommend that you apply for this course as early as possible in order to allow yourself sufficient time to make a successful visa application.

This may include a letter from the course administrator confirming your place on the course; this confirmation letter will not be issued until all course fees have been paid in full.

In the case of a visa application being unsuccessful the Department will not offer a refund.

Please note that, for legal reasons, the Programme Administrator is not permitted to provide any visa advice to applicants. All such enquiries should be submitted to Oxford University’s student visa and immigration advisers via email at

FAQs - Frequently asked questions

View some of the most frequently asked questions. If you cannot find an answer to your question, please email us at


Successful students will receive a University of Oxford Certificate of Course Completion.


As a Department, we are not in a position to offer accommodation for the duration of the course. While we are happy to provide students with advice on finding suitable accommodation in Oxford, students should be aware that it is ultimately their own responsibility to secure accommodation.

Course fees

The per person course fees for the six-month programme are £17,500. Please note that the fees do not include accommodation.

College Associate Membership (optional)

As a Foundations of Diplomacy pre-Master's student you have the opportunity to apply for associate student membership of Kellogg College, which will enable you to enjoy the benefits of belonging to both a world-class university and to one of Oxford's most international graduate colleges. For further details, please contact the Course Administrator at


We are, unfortunately, unable to offer any scholarships for the Foundations of Diplomacy Course 2023-24 at present.

Entry requirements

There are no formal entry requirements for the course although ideally applicants should have at least an undergraduate degree. We welcome applications from native speakers of English, as well as from international students whose first language is not English. The course is open to graduates and non graduates.

How to apply

You should email us the following attached in an email:

  • your completed application form
  • A copy of passport pages indicating citizenship
  • a personal statement of 500 words (max.)
  • a copy of your university/college transcript(s)
  • a copy of your IELTS (Academic) certificate (if applicable). You must have taken an IELTS Test (or internationally recognised equivalent) before submitting your application. Minimum test score of 6.5**
  • An academic or professional CV
  • A passport-style photo

**You can request a language test waiver if you have studied a full-time, degree-level course within the last two years where the teaching and assessment was conducted entirely in English. Please email us if you have any questions.

In addition to the above, please provide the name, affiliation and email address of an academic or professional referee. We will not accept references that are sent as part of your application. Your application will not be considered unless you provide all the documentation requested above including contact details of your referee.

The deadline for your application to be considered is 2.00pm 28 July 2023. When we have received your completed application form and all related documentation, you will be contacted by the Course Administrator who will advise you if you are invited to the next stage of the selection process, an interview with the Course Director.