MSc in Global Governance and Diplomacy | University of Oxford
The exterior of the Bodleian library
The exterior of the Bodleian library
(Image credit: Liam Peck / Graduate Photography Competition)

MSc in Global Governance and Diplomacy

About the course

This nine-month master’s degree investigates a broad range of policy issues surrounding the institutions and processes of global governance and diplomacy – at international, transnational, state, and domestic levels. The course will equip you to understand and explain global governance and diplomacy, and prepare you for a career in these areas and beyond.

Aims

By focusing on the institutions and processes of global governance and diplomacy, the MSc in Global Governance and Diplomacy enables students not only to develop a big-picture view of world politics but also to specialise on topical aspects and make an original contribution based on their own research.

Structure

You will take a foundation course, two optional courses from a list of choices and a course on research methods, and write a dissertation.

The foundation course is a two-term course running over 16 weeks and covering fundamental issues of global governance and international diplomacy.

The optional courses cover important aspects of global governance and/or diplomacy. Each option consists of eight two-hour seminars. 

There is also a mandatory, two-term course on qualitative and quantitative research methods in the social sciences. 

Lastly, you will research and write a 10,000- to 12,000- word dissertation under the direction of a supervisor, to be submitted towards the end of the final term.

Over the duration of the course, you will benefit from a series of plenary lectures and other events. The speakers discuss important issues of global governance and diplomacy and/or provide research-led presentations followed by discussion.

For more information, including the course handbook and further details about course offerings, see our course page on the departmental website.

Teaching and supervision

Most of the department's teaching takes place in small classes to encourage active participation and enable students to learn from each other. Teaching styles vary and include lectures, seminars, workshops, and student presentations.

Students and staff are passionate about research for graduate dissertations, which are due in late May or early June. Your general and dissertation supervisor(s) will support you in your academic development and you will meet them regularly. In addition, you will have a college advisor whom you may consult on issues concerning your personal wellbeing.

The allocation of graduate supervision for this course is the responsibility of the Oxford Department of International Development and it is not always possible to accommodate the preferences of incoming graduate students to work with a particular member of staff. Under exceptional circumstances a supervisor may be found outside the Oxford Department of International Development.

Assessment

During the course, you will receive regular feedback on presentations and practice essays. Such feedback does not count towards your final mark but will prepare you for the formal assessment of your performance at the end of the degree. In June, you will be examined in your four courses: the foundation course, your two options and research methods. Your final mark will be aggregated from the results of these examinations and the mark for your dissertation.

Graduate destinations

The degree prepares you for a career in diplomacy and/or transnational and regional institutions of governance such as international organisations, nongovernmental organisations, and private sector firms interacting with these institutions. It also provides the basis for further education, including doctoral studies.

Graduates of the MSc in Global Governance and Diplomacy have joined the United Nations and other international organisations, such as the World Food Programme, the diplomatic service in the UK and other countries, government departments across the globe, NGOs such as Oxfam and WWF, and the private sector in fields ranging from investment to energy.

“GGD brings together an extraordinarily diverse group of students who share a passion for international affairs and development and yet are able to specialise in a wide range of topics of personal interest throughout the programme.” Rafael Saiz Garcia, graduated 2017.

Changes to this course and your supervision

The University will seek to deliver this course in accordance with the description set out in this course page. However, there may be situations in which it is desirable or necessary for the University to make changes in course provision, either before or after registration. In certain circumstances, for example due to visa difficulties or because the health needs of students cannot be met, it may be necessary to make adjustments to course requirements for international study.

Where possible your academic supervisor will not change for the duration of your course. However, it may be necessary to assign a new academic supervisor during the course of study or before registration for reasons which might include sabbatical leave, parental leave or change in employment.

For further information, please see our page on changes to courses.

Other courses you may wish to consider

If you're thinking about applying for this course, you may also wish to consider the courses listed below. These courses may have been suggested due to their similarity with this course, or because they are offered by the same department or faculty.

Courses suggested by the faculty

International Relations MPhil

Entry requirements for entry in 2020-21

Proven and potential academic excellence

Degree-level qualifications

As a minimum, applicants should hold or be predicted to achieve the equivalent of the following UK qualifications:

  • a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours in a social science subject.

We are happy to consider students who have not specialised in a social science for the MSc in Global Governance and Diplomacy. Active diplomats are also welcome to apply, although it should be noted that they will compete for admission on equal terms with other applicants.

The MSc in Global Governance and Diplomacy is one of the most competitive master’s degrees in Oxford’s Social Science division. Most successful applicants have a first-class degree or the equivalent.

For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA normally sought is 3.8 out of 4.0.

If your degree is not from the UK or another country specified above, visit our International Qualifications page for guidance on the qualifications and grades that would usually be considered to meet the University’s minimum entry requirements.

GRE General Test scores

No Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or GMAT scores are sought.

Other qualifications, evidence of excellence and relevant experience

  • Relevant working experience is desirable but is not essential.
  • An ability to work independently is essential.
  • Publications are not expected or required for admission, but any can be listed on the CV.

Further guidance

  • It is essential to apply as early as possible and to submit all required materials by the advertised deadlines. 
  • A number of the department's master’s students apply to continue with doctoral research at the department or in other departments of the University. Entry requirements and deadlines differ slightly in each department. Details will be available on departmental websites.

English language requirement

This course requires proficiency in English at the University's higher level. If your first language is not English, you may need to provide evidence that you meet this requirement.

Detailed requirements - higher level

The minimum scores required to meet the University's higher level are:

IELTS Academic7.5Minimum 7.0 per component
TOEFL iBT110

Minimum component scores:

  • Listening: 22
  • Reading: 24
  • Speaking: 25
  • Writing: 24
Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) or C1 Advanced191Minimum 185 per component
Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) or C2 Proficiency191Minimum 185 per component

Your test must have been taken no more than two years before the start date of your course. For more information about the English language test requirement, visit the Application Guide

Supporting documents 

You will be required to supply supporting documents with your application, including references and an official transcript. See 'How to apply' for instructions on the documents you will need and how these will be assessed.

Performance at interview

Interviews are not normally held as part of the admissions process.

Supervision

Any offer of a place is dependent on the University’s ability to provide the appropriate supervision for your chosen area of work. Please refer to the ‘About’ section of this page for more information about the provision of supervision for this course.

How your application is assessed

Your application will be assessed purely on academic merit and potential, according to the published entry requirements for the course. Students are selected for admission without regard to gender, marital or civil partnership status, disability, race, nationality, ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, age or social background. Whether you have secured funding will not be taken into consideration when your application is assessed.

Admissions panels and assessors

All recommendations to admit a student involve the judgement of at least two members of the academic staff with relevant experience and expertise, and must also be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies or Admissions Committee (or equivalent within the department).

Admissions panels or committees will always include at least one member of academic staff who has undertaken appropriate training.

After an offer is made

If you receive an offer of a place at Oxford, you will be required to meet the following requirements: 

Financial Declaration

If you are offered a place, you will be required to complete a Financial Declaration in order to meet your financial condition of admission.

Disclosure of criminal convictions

In accordance with the University’s obligations towards students and staff, we will ask you to declare any relevant, unspent criminal convictions before you can take up a place at Oxford.

Resources

The Oxford Department of International Development (ODID) is recognised as one of the world’s leading teaching and research centres in development studies. In the UK’s 2014 Research Excellence Framework it was ranked top in its subject area.

As a student on the course, you will be able to attend a wide range of public seminars organised within the department and a great variety of events across the University. In particular, the Global Governance and Diplomacy Public Speaker Series brings diplomatic practitioners and academic scholars to the department for public lectures. These enable students to interact with experienced professionals and to discuss new perspectives on current diplomatic events and global governance challenges.

Transition to graduate life is helped by a voluntary Coaching Colloquium where students can discuss academic concerns in a friendly atmosphere.

Libraries

The Social Sciences Library, the largest freestanding social science library in the UK, is nearby. This is complemented by the world-class resources of the Bodleian Library and the satellite libraries. As alumni of the University, students can sign up for lifetime access to key online journals.

IT support

The department provides hot-desking areas with desk-tops and printing, as well as Wi-Fi access. Technical support is available through the department, your college and the University’s IT Services, which also offer training courses. Course materials are available online via WebLearn, the University’s Virtual Learning Environment.

Departmental facilities

Teaching takes place in the department’s seminar rooms, and there is a common room area where students from all the department's courses can gather. Light lunches in the cafeteria are available during term.

Funding

There are over 1,100 full or partial graduate scholarships available across the University. You will be automatically considered for over two thirds of Oxford scholarships, if you fulfil the eligibility criteria and submit your graduate application by the relevant January deadline, with most scholarships awarded on the basis of academic merit and/or potential. To help identify those scholarships where you will be required to submit an additional application, use the Fees, funding and scholarships search and visit individual college websites using the links provided on our college pages.

Costs

Annual fees for entry in 2020-21

Fee status

Annual Course fees

Home/EU (including Islands)£22,050
Overseas£28,040

Course fees are payable each year, for the duration of your fee liability (your fee liability is the length of time for which you are required to pay course fees). For courses lasting longer than one year, please be aware that fees will usually increase annually. For details, please see our guidance on likely increases to fees and charges.

Course fees cover your teaching as well as other academic services and facilities provided to support your studies. Unless specified in the additional information section below, course fees do not cover your accommodation, residential costs or other living costs. They also don’t cover any additional costs and charges that are outlined in the additional information below.

For more information about course fees and fee liability, please see the Fees section of this website. EU applicants should refer to our dedicated webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave the European Union.

Additional information

There are no compulsory elements of this course that entail additional costs beyond fees and living costs. However, as part of your course requirements, you may need to choose a dissertation, a project or a thesis topic. Please note that, depending on your choice of topic and the research required to complete it, you may incur additional expenses, such as travel expenses, research expenses, and field trips. You will need to meet these additional costs, although you may be able to apply for small grants from your department and/or college to help you cover some of these expenses.

Living costs

In addition to your course fees, you will need to ensure that you have adequate funds to support your living costs for the duration of your course.

For the 2020-21 academic year, the range of likely living costs for full-time study is between c. £1,135 and £1,650 for each month spent in Oxford. Full information, including a breakdown of likely living costs in Oxford for items such as food, accommodation and study costs, is available on our living costs page. When planning your finances for any future years of study in Oxford beyond 2020-21, you should allow for an estimated increase in living expenses of 3% each year.

How to apply

It is not necessary for you to contact potential supervisors or other academic members of staff before you apply. New MSc students are informed about their supervisor during their induction sessions.

The set of documents you should send with your application to this course comprises the following:

Official transcript(s)

Your transcripts should give detailed information of the individual grades received in your university-level qualifications to date. You should only upload official documents issued by your institution and any transcript not in English should be accompanied by a certified translation.

More information about the transcript requirement is available in the Application Guide.

CV/résumé

A CV/résumé is compulsory for all applications. Most applicants choose to submit a document of one to two pages highlighting their academic achievements and any relevant professional experience.

Statement of purpose/personal statement:
500 to 1,000 words

You will need to provide a statement of purpose, written in English.

You should state your motivation and how you believe the degree may contribute to your professional and/or academic career. You should also indicate an awareness of the structure of the degree, for example by stating the options courses that might be of interest. You should also indicate, very briefly, what your dissertation topic might be.

Written work:
Two essays of between 1,500 and 3,000 words each

We require two academic essays or other writing samples, usually from your most recent or ongoing degree. Extracts from longer pieces of work are acceptable and should be prefaced by a note that puts them into context. If two extracts are submitted, they should not come from the same piece of work. All writing samples must be in English.

It is preferable, though not mandatory, that the writing samples relate closely to the subject matter of the MSc in Global Governance and Diplomacy.

Please note that multi-authored work is not acceptable. The word limit does include any bibliography or footnotes.

This will be assessed for a comprehensive understanding of the subject area; understanding of problems in the area; ability to construct and defend an argument; power of analysis and expression; and familiarity with standard academic working techniques.

References/letters of recommendation:
Three overall, at least two must be academic

Whilst you must register three referees, the department may start the assessment of your application if two of the three references are submitted by the course deadline and your application is otherwise complete. Please note that you may still be required to ensure your third referee supplies a reference for consideration.

A helpful reference will speak to your intellectual ability, academic achievement, academic writing ability, suitability for this programme of study, motivation and any other information that is deemed to be relevant. At least two academic references are required.

Start or continue an application

Step 1: Read our guide to getting started, which explains how to prepare for and start an application.

Step 2: Check that you meet the Entry requirements and read the How to apply information on this page.

Step 3: Check the deadlines on this page and plan your time to submit your application well in advance.

Step 4: Our Application Guide will help you complete the form. It contains links to FAQs and further help.

Step 5: Submit your application as soon as possible (you can read more information about our deadlines).

Application GuideApply

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