Master of Diplomatic Studies

Please note: This programme will not be open to new students in 2022



In 1998, the Department of Political Sciences introduced a new Master of Diplomatic Studies (MDips) degree, reflecting a growing worldwide demand for postgraduate academic tuition in the field of diplomacy. The programme yielded several graduandi and, during 2007/2008, it was customised for an exclusive intake of senior officials from the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation. It was agreed that the officials accepted into the programme would be immersed in and become part of academic and other activities on campus for fixed periods of full-time study in order to benefit from the vast range of residential university offerings and the size, location and reputation for academic excellence of the University of Pretoria – inter alia cultural events, seminars, discussions and public lectures by leading researchers and visiting global leaders.

The MDips curriculum has been developed and revised in line with international best practice. Only highly experienced lecturers from the University and other partner institutions lecture in the programme, and the curriculum is enriched with contributions by practitioners in an array of related fields. Importantly, the UP MDips offers a uniquely African and developing world focus in its academic study of diplomacy.

Admission requirements

An honours degree with Political Sciences or directly related fields of specialisations, or any recognised university degree with sufficient relevant work experience in the diplomatic field (the latter only with UP Senate approval).

For information on 2020 admissions, click here. For information on the 2020 curriculum, click here.


General enquiries

The Head of the Department of Political Sciences, Professor Victoria Graham, assumes overall responsibility for the MDips programme.

The MDips Programme Manager Assistant is Mr. Roland Henwood. He may be contacted for general enquiries about the programme, at the following address and numbers:


          MDips Programme Office, Mr. Roland Henwood

          Department of Political Sciences

          Humanities Building 21- 11

          University of Pretoria, Pretoria

          Tel: +27 12 420 2687

          E-mail: [email protected]


Degree Detail


The MDips Programme is a one-year degree, consisting of coursework and a mini-dissertation.

During the first semester, students do four course-work modules, concluding with an examination in each module. The fourth module comprises a research methodology course, in which students develop their individual research proposals on approved topics. An approved research proposal must be submitted before registration for the mini-dissertation (Dip 895), which is then completed under individual supervision.

The content of the MDips course-work modules is broadly as follows:

Dip 876: Diplomacy and International Studies

  • Introduction to international relations
  • International political economy
  • Foreign policy analysis
  • International law

Dip 877: Diplomatic Theory

  • Diplomatic theory
  • Seminal contributions to diplomatic theory
  • Diplomatic issues (current issues, capita selecta)

Dip 872: Diplomatic Practice

  • Legal framework
  • Evolution, styles, trends
  • Methods of diplomacy
  • Institutional and functional framework
  • Unconventional diplomatic actors and methods
  • Diplomatic form
  • Negotiation and mediation
  • New diplomatic specialisations (capita selecta: preventive, economic, consular, environmental and public diplomacy)

Dip 878: Methodology of Diplomatic Studies

  • Methodology
  • Development of research proposal. 

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