Global Master of Arts in
Diplomacy & International Relations (Full-Time)

Prepare for a career in international, regional, and global affairs or diplomacy to address some of the most critical issues facing the planet.

At a Glance

For the program beginning fall 2024

Credits

34

Format

Full-Time

Instructional Sites

South Africa, Switzerland, United States

Application Deadline for U.S. & permanent residents

priority deadline January 31, followed by rolling admissions until May 15

International students

January 31, no rolling admission

Duration

1 Year

Critical Global Issue of Study

Geopolitics & Power

Geopolitics & Power Icon

WHY A MASTER'S IN DIPLOMACY AND INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS?

Offering SIT’s unique brand of immersive, place-based learning from the world’s top locations in diplomacy and international relations, this one-year master’s degree provides you with key points of comparison among U.S., European, and African perspectives as you gain a mastery of the global political system and how to maneuver within it.

In your first semester, travel to Washington, DC, to participate in a two-week traveling seminar interacting with policymakers within the U.S. government, non-governmental organizations, and intergovernmental organizations. After two weeks in Washington, you will live in Geneva, Switzerland, where you will study multilateral diplomacy, European integration, leadership, and strategic decision-making. Your time in Europe concludes with a three-day traveling seminar to Vienna, Austria, to visit Austria-based international organizations such as the Organization of Cooperation and Security in Europe, the UN Nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, a global oil diplomacy power broker.

During your spring semester, you will spend 12 weeks in South Africa investigating non-western perspectives on international relations, south-south diplomacy, the BRICS alliance (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), the politics of the African Union, and African energy diplomacy. From your base in Durban, explore the history of South Africa and the legacy of South Africa’s apartheid and colonial past. Excursions will include visits to regional organizations and governance institutions in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

In your final semester, undertake a professional practicum in a location and position of your choosing, working in close consultation with your faculty advisor to ensure alignment with your career goals. You will also research and present a professional capstone paper on a topic of your choosing either on SIT’s campus in Vermont or online.

Whether you aspire to work at the United Nations, the U.S. State Department, international NGOs, or other prestigious institutions, SIT prepares you for a career in international, regional, and global affairs. Address some of the world’s most critical issues through our master’s degree in diplomacy and international relations.

Career Paths

Read about SIT Graduate Institute alumni careers through the SIT blog and our Career Impact page. Students who have graduated with this degree work in careers such as the following, among others.

  • International relations specialist

  • Foreign affairs analyst

  • Senior policy specialist

  • Researcher at NGO or think tank

  • Program coordinator or manager

  • International relations officer

  • Research and policy manager

Program Sites

Washington, DC

Explore today’s highly complex system of global governance—the role of NGOs, government agencies, and heavyweight international players—from the U.S. capital. Interact with professionals and policymakers, build your network, and visit agencies and organizations such as the U.S. State Department; the United States Agency for International Development (USAID); the United Nations Foundation; the United States Institute of Peace; and the World Resources Institute.

Click here for a description of the SIT center in Washington, DC.

Geneva, Switzerland

The nexus of multilateral diplomacy and global affairs, Geneva is a center for international organizations, The city offers unparalleled opportunities to meet with top academics, researchers, and a wide range of U.N. agencies, institutions, and NGOs. While immersed in Geneva’s international diplomacy, you will experience Francophone culture and access to top experts in the field, allowing you to build your global network.

Excursion highlights include: 

Vienna, Austria

  • UN Vienna Headquarters
  • Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)
  • OPEC Fund for International Development
  • EU Commission Vienna

Click here for a description of the SIT center in Switzerland.

Durban South Africa  

DURBAN, South Africa  

Live and study in Durban, the third most populous city in South Africa and among the most cosmopolitan, with a rich fusion of African, western, and Asian influences. Parts of the city have transformed into distinct Ethiopian, Congolese, Malawian, Pakistani, Chinese, and other enclaves. Durban is on the east coast of South Africa along the Indian Ocean and is an ideal launching site for excursions to Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Click here for a description of the SIT center in Durban, South Africa.

Practicum in location of choice

Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.

Academics

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the masters degree in Diplomacy and International Relations program, students will be able to:

  • Analyze core theoretical and applied traditions in diplomacy and international relations.
  • Forecast political trends in emergent situations and develop management contingencies to counter them.
  • Mediate situations of conflict and crisis through negotiation skills and practices.
  • Apply leadership skills and strategic foresight analysis in decision-making.
  • Research global and regional challenges through qualitative methodologies.
  • Integrate managerial and leadership skills in the design, delivery, and promotion of collaborative problem-solving plans in an international context.
  • Formulate responses to critical challenges in international affairs through research, policy advocacy, and evidence-based intervention.

Read more about Program Learning Outcomes.



Coursework

Coursework will be completed in small personalized cohorts. This program requires completion of the Language and Culture Proficiency Requirement for graduation. Details can be found in the Catalog.


Please expand the sections below to see detailed course information.


This is SIT

  • We value active togetherness, reciprocity, and respect as the essential ingredients for building a sustainable community.
  • With open minds, empathy, and courage, we facilitate intercultural understanding and respect for the commonalities and differences between people.
  • We champion social inclusion & justice in all that we are and all that we do, from ensuring our community and our programs amplify the voices, agency, and dignity of all people to deliberately instilling the principles and practices of inclusion in all of our work.
  • We are committed to human and environmental well-being through sustainability and contributing to a better world for all living and future generations.

Semester One (Fall): Washington, DC, Switzerland, and Online (14 credits)

  • (MPIM–5003 / .5 credits) Professional Development Seminar 1

The first part of a two-part, one-credit seminar focuses on topics related to professional development for students who will be establishing careers in government, nongovernmental, academic, or research settings. The seminar covers “how-to” knowledge and skills on topics including career planning, conference presentations, peer-reviewed publications, funding, and the job search process. The course is facilitated by the program chair, and individual sessions feature invited guest speakers, faculty, and others with expertise in sustainable development practice. Students have the opportunity and are encouraged to meet with leaders engaged in diplomacy work.

  • (DIPL–5045 / 3 credits) Foundations of Diplomacy and International Relations

This course examines the historical evolution and current state of diplomacy and international affairs. Students will learn about the structure of the international political system and the possibility and limits of multilateral diplomacy for addressing critical global issues. Special attention will be devoted to the rise and current dissolution of liberal internationalism, the impact of populism on contemporary international affairs, and the challenges posed by contemporary global trends such as mass migration, climate change, rising populism, weapons of mass destruction, and global wealth inequality. In addition to spending time in the classroom, students will spend most days in the field meeting with U.S. and foreign government officials, nongovernmental organization leaders, journalists, and activists.

  • (DIPL–5120 / 3 credits) Strategic Foresight and Scenario-Building 

The course focuses on the methodology of strategic foresight, drivers and super-trends, and back-casting and scenario-building and their practical application in studying international affairs and diplomacy. The course discusses the concepts of monolithic and infinite futures, continuity, and disruption of trends, as illustrated by the futures cone of plausible future worlds. Students learn horizon scanning, trend monitoring, back-casting, scenario-planning, wild card, counter factual history, futures wheel, and the PESTEL. Historical cases of altered pasts, as well as the critical global issues and examples of alternative futures, are discussed in the form of lectures, case studies, brainstorm sessions, and creative workshops on scenario-building.

  • (DIPL–5130 / 3 credits) International Organizations and Multilateral Diplomacy

The course examines the formation, processes, functions, and effects of major international organizations. Besides contending with theories of international organizations, the course examines practical applications in the areas of global governance and regional cooperation. Students learn about the concept of collective security, the League of Nations, and the foundation of the United Nations system. The course discusses international organizations and regimes in the fields of human and economic development, human rights and migration, universal criminal justice, the environment, and regional cooperation. The course concludes with discussion on the international system and challenges the UN and international organizations may face in the future. In addition to teaching in class, students visit Geneva- based international organizations, which may include WTO, UNCTAD, UNHCR, WIPO, ILO, and WHO, and nongovernmental organizations such as Norwegian Refugee Council, Diplo Foundation, World Organization Against Torture, and International Bridges to Justice.

  • (DIPL–5140/ 3 credits) The Future of Europe

This course focuses on super-trends and drivers shaping the future landscape of the European continent. Lecturers and guest speakers teaching the course use a variety of approaches in analyzing international and regional issues, actors, and processes. The course framework defines the geopolitics of Europe as a maritime region in the West open to the high seas and trade and the heartland region in the East, stretching to Asia and mainly landlocked. While discussing underlying forces that have shaped European history, economy, and society, the course assesses the European integration process since WWII and its formidable achievements, structural vulnerabilities, and potential failures. The course debates the emergence of the European Economic Community / European Union as a supra-national regional organization. The course reviews neoliberal policies, outsourcing and deindustrialization, and dismantlement of the welfare state as a set of causes for increasing popular discontent across Europe. The course lecturers discuss the crisis of the European Monetary Union, the Grexit, and the Brexit, resulting in the rise of illegitimate democracies and populism.

  • (DIPL–5510 / 1.5 credits) Practitioner Inquiry1

The first in a sequence of two courses introduces students to the design and methodology of qualitative research and offers students a hands-on opportunity to explore and apply qualitative research through a mini research study. The mini research study takes students full circle: from formulating a research question to situating their research inquiry in existing literature to designing and conducting an empirical study to generating findings and conclusions.

Semester Two (Spring): South Africa and Online (12 Credits)

  • (MPIM–5004 / .5 credits) Professional Development Seminar 2

The second part of a two-part, one-credit seminar focuses on topics related to professional development for students who will be establishing careers in government, nongovernmental, academic, or research settings. The seminar covers “how-to” knowledge and skills on topics including career planning, conference presentations, peer-reviewed publications, funding, and the job search process. The course is facilitated by the program chair, and individual sessions feature invited guest speakers, faculty, and others with expertise in sustainable development practice. Students have the opportunity and are encouraged to meet with leaders engaged in diplomacy work.

  • (MPIM–5515 / 1.5 credits) Practitioner Inquiry 2

The second in a sequence of two courses introduces students to the design and methodology of qualitative research and offers students a hands-on opportunity to explore and apply qualitative research through a mini research study. The mini research study takes students full circle: from formulating a research question to situating their research inquiry in existing literature to designing and conducting an empirical study to generating findings and conclusions.

  • (DIPL–5518 / 1 credit) Negotiation, Mediation, and Dialogue  

Negotiation, mediation, and dialog are essential skills for anyone seeking to bring about change in difficult environments. This course will examine the theory and practice behind each of these approaches to conflict transformation, consider settings where each skill might best be applied, and provide hands-on training through various roleplays and simulations.

  • (DIPL–5530 / 3 credits) South-South Relations in the Context of BRICS 

This course examines the recent resurgence of South–South cooperation in international affairs. This is located in the context of a contestation for global space within a new configuration of multilateralism. Students will explore how BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) has emerged as an alternative to Bretton Woods Institutions and moved onto the center stage of world politics, leading to a renewed interest in BRICS’ historic promise to transform our world order.

  • (DIPL–5540 / 3 credits) Energy Diplomacy and the African Political Economy 

Africa’s energy riches will make it a significant player in international relations for the foreseeable future. This course explores how African nations are currently managing energy resources nationally, bilaterally, and multilaterally. It will also examine how ecological factors and the scarcity of fossil fuels will likely dominate the agenda of African countries in the coming decades.

  • (DIPL–5550 / 3 credits) Continental Solidarity and the African Union

This course focuses on the architecture of the African political landscape constructed around the multilateral objectives of the African Union (AU). This is located in the context of the AU’s Agenda 2063, where the AU charts Africa’s development trajectory over a 50-year time frame. Significant portions of the class include site visits to relevant institutions and organizations working on issues of continental solidarity.

Semester Three (Summer): Location of Choice (8 Credits)

  • (DIPL–6601 / 4 credits) Field Practicum

Each student completes a 10-to-12-week practicum with a nongovernmental organization, government agency, intergovernmental organization, or other entity involved in work related to diplomacy and international relations. Students may complete the field practicum in the United States or abroad with the dual purpose of providing service to a host organization and the communities it serves while fulfilling academic requirements. The practicum entails completion of professional work identified as a priority by the sponsoring organization. Practicum sites will both build on longstanding SIT and World Learning partnerships, with the assistance of SIT Career and Practicum Services, or may be proposed by students seeking to develop their own networks and relationships. Practica provide hands-on opportunities to put into practice conceptual and theoretical knowledge gained throughout the MA program. The practicum expands a student’s professional network and strengthens their ability to develop grounded expectations about what constitutes feasible or appropriate development practice. During the practicum, the practicum facilitator and an advisor supervise each student and provide substantive and critical feedback to further their intellectual and experiential development. Students will also engage in guided and structured reflection with peers via remote, digital means to cross fertilize the experiences of diverse geographical, cultural, institutional, and professional contexts.

  • (DIPL–6604 / 3 credits) Capstone Paper

For this paper course, students work with the content learned in Practitioner Inquiry to develop a research paper related to the field of diplomacy and international relations. Each student is paired with an advisor to help conceptualize, launch, and write their research project.

  • (MPIM–6709 / 1 credit) Capstone Seminar and Presentation

The capstone seminar provides an environment in which students demonstrate, assess, and synthesize previous learning as well as generating new learning. It is also an opportunity for students to improve and refine their skills in oral communication and presentation. Students will critically read and give, as well as receive, peer critique of their presentation during the seminar.

Professional Practicum

A cornerstone of the SIT Global Master’s in Diplomacy and International Relations is the practicum. This will allow you to apply learning from the classroom directly to real-world settings while getting hands-on, professional experience you can put to immediate use after you graduate. 

For your final semester, SIT and your advisor will support you in finding an approved practicum with an international agency, think tank, NGO, government agency, or other organization involved in diplomatic relations and international relations in a location of your choice. This practicum experience will give you the opportunity to work in the field of international affairs, as well as expand your professional network. 

During the practicum phase, you will remain engaged with faculty and other students and receive course credit for documenting the integration of your knowledge and skills while working in a professional context. 

Faculty & Staff

Diplomacy & International Relations (Full-Time)

Bruce W. Dayton, PhD
Chair and Associate Professor
Goran Jovanovic, PhD
Co-Chair and Affiliated Faculty, Switzerland
Joseph Lanning, PhD
Assistant Professor
Alecia Ndlovu, PhD
Affiliated Faculty, South Africa
Zwelethu Jolobe, PhD
Affiliated Faculty, South Africa
Imraan Buccus, PhD
Affiliated Faculty
Stewart Chirova, MS, MPS
Program Coordinator, South Africa
Esperanza Duran, PhD
Affiliated Faculty, Switzerland
Alexandre Lambert, PhD
Faculty
Orli Fridman, PhD
Affiliated Faculty
Elias Phaahla, PhD
Affiliated Faculty

Accommodations

You will be supported by SIT staff on location in arranging housing during your time abroad and traveling to Washington, DC. Stay in small hotels (shared or private); guesthouses (these are simple, inexpensive and clean, and may include food); or ask to be placed with a homestay family, where you will be immersed in the local culture and customs. Please note that homestays are less expensive but also less independent, and limited in availability. See more information about housing for this program here.

Discover the Possibilities