Foundations of Diplomacy Pre-Master's Course

Course details

If you're considering a career in diplomacy or intending to work for a government ministry, NGO or international organisation, this intensive 6-month course could prove an invaluable starting point.

It offers you a thorough grounding in diplomatic theory and contemporary practice, as well as thought-provoking seminars taught by experts in international relations, political economy, and public international law.

The course is suitable for students with no previous knowledge of diplomacy, politics or international relations.

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Course details

Academic and cultural orientation week (30 September – 4 October 2024)

This week you’ll learn about 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 (7 October - 20 December, 2024)

You take all of the classes below.

Academic and Diplomatic Practice Module:

Academic Literacy Module:

Students with IELTS scores of 6.5 to 7.0 take the following Advanced English Language Module:

Students who have an Oxford Test of English Advanced pass, an IELTS score of 7.5 and above, or who are native speakers of English take the following Issues in Global Diplomacy module:

  • Issues in Global Diplomacy I

Hilary term (6 January - 21 March, 2025)

You take all of the classes below:

Academic and Diplomatic Practice Module:

Academic Literacy Module:

Students with IELTS scores of 6.5 to 7.0 take the following Advanced English Language Module:

Students who have an Oxford Test of English Advanced pass, an IELTS score of 7.5 and above, or who are native speakers of English take the following Issues in Global Diplomacy module:

  • Issues in Global Diplomacy II

Weekly individual academic literacy tutorial

Each term you will receive a weekly individual academic literacy tutorial which provides personalised academic writing support.

Professional training sessions and workshops

During the course, you will participate in the following full day practical training sessions and workshops:

  • Presentations: Designing and Delivering with Confidence
  • Talking to Camera – Media Interview Techniques
  • Digital and Cyber Diplomacy
  • International Negotiating and Influencing Skills
  • Effective Leadership through Emotional Intelligence

UK study visits and field trips 

You will visit various organisations in London such as:

  • Diplomatic missions
  • Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office
  • Cabinet Office
  • NGOs

Study visit to Austria

You will participate in a three-day European field trip to Austria where you will visit a number of international agencies, the Austrian Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the British Embassy in Vienna, and the Austrian Centre for Peace in Schlaining. There is no additional fee for this visit which includes airport transfers (UK and Austria), flights, bed and breakfast accommodation, excursions and entrance fees.

Guest lectures

Across both terms you will have the opportunity to attend guest lectures by:

  • Oxford scholars
  • Leading international academics
  • Former senior diplomats
  • Industry experts
  • Entrepreneurs

Course materials

You will receive hard copies of prescribed coursebooks, and digital copies of all of the compulsory and recommended readings are available via the course learning site on Canvas. The cost of books and learning materials is included in your course fees.

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.

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

Assessment methods

A number of assessment methods are used and may include:

  • Essays (2,000-2,500 words)
  • Presentations
  • Viva voce exam
  • Reports
  • Short in-class exercises
  • Case studies
  • Simulations

Digital certification

Successful students will receive a University of Oxford Certificate of Course Completion, as well as a digital certificate which can be added to your LinkedIn page.

Fees and additional costs

Course fees

The per person course fees for the six-month programme are £17,500. The fees include the following:

  • All key course textbooks and study materials

  • All-day UK field trips to London
  • Multi-day field trip to Vienna including air fares, transportation, and accommodation
  • Weekday morning refreshments (tea/coffee)

Please note that the fees do not include accommodation in Oxford during 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.

Scholarships and funding

We are, unfortunately, unable to offer any scholarships or funding  for the Foundations of Diplomacy Course 2024-25 at present.

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

Please note that there will be an additional fee for associate college membership.

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.

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. Please check if you need a visa for this course using this link on the GOV.UK website. If you require a visa, we strongly recommend that you apply for this course as early as possible. If you need to provide a letter from the course administrator confirming your place on the course as part of the visa application process, it 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 of the visa application fee.

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

How to apply

You should email us the following documents as attachments:

  • your completed application form

  • A copy of passport pages indicating citizenship
  • a personal statement of 500 words (max.)
  • a copy of your university transcript(s)
  • a copy of your IELTS (Academic) certificate (if applicable)/Oxford Test of English Advanced certificate. You must have taken an IELTS Test (or internationally recognised equivalent) before submitting your application. Minimum overall test score of 6.5.
  • A recent CV
  • A passport-style digital photo


Please also 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 26 July 2024. 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 will be invited to the next stage of the selection process, an interview with the Course Director.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

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

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