Economics for Foreign Policy

LSE Custom Programmes

The Economics for Foreign Policy programme has been created by LSE and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) specifically for British diplomats and staff of the foreign service.

This is a unique opportunity to share current academic thinking with people who are active in the policy making process.

The multi-level courses have been running since 2003, with over 1,400 participants to date. They are typically delivered in Whitehall, London, but have also taken place in locations including Brasilia, Singapore, Tokyo, Amman and Mexico City.

In modern diplomacy, well-rounded knowledge of economic and political issues is critical to the success of negotiations, reporting and for analysing various events at national and international levels. All FCO staff need the essential ability to converse easily using economic terminology with a high degree of accuracy and a reasonable level of sophistication.

Offered in two distinct levels, these Economics for Foreign Policy courses offer both fundamental and advanced knowledge of economic theory, and how theory may or may not apply in the political reality of the dynamic world.

Our coverage includes interactive lectures and discussions, case studies and simulations. It ranges across the political economy spectrum and can include policy issues such as climate change, the demographic challenge, energy, development challenges, failed state issues and the financial crisis, together with international institutional and reform issues – all within the structure of a single programme.

Level one details

Modern diplomacy requires an essential grasp of economic ideas and concepts, together with an appreciation of their application in a policy context. It also requires a higher level of understanding of the interconnection between local, national, and global features of the global economy.

Foreign Office staff posted all over the world should be comfortable with these debates and should have the basic ability to converse using economic terminology with accuracy and a reasonable level of sophistication. The level equivalent would be undergraduate, but this programme presumes only competent numeracy with no economics or mathematical background.

The aims of the course are to give you a basic understanding of the main micro and macro economic concepts, and for you to be able to relate them to an international context. Hence there is a balance of three academic streams within one course structure. Designed in a practical and applied fashion, the course will explore the economic arguments behind key policy issues to give you a solid knowledge of the decision making process where it relates to economics.

The course will avoid a mathematical approach in favour of describing and discussing the conceptual nature of economic theory and practice. You will discuss and debate these concepts with the academic faculty and amongst yourselves in seminar-based formats, as well as learning from lectures and case studies. The course should provide you with the ability to understand the relevant economic issues in the media and assess their implications.

Upon successful completion of the course, you will receive an official LSE Custom Programmes certificate.

If you have enrolled on the programme, please log in to see some recommended readings.

Level two details

In modern diplomacy, advanced knowledge of economic and political issues is critical to the success of negotiations, as well as in reporting and analysing various events at national and international levels.

The course addresses modern phenomena in the domains of economics and political economy – globalisation, financial crises, development and transition economics, politics of international trade, regulation and competition policy – all of which are interconnected and have a bearing on the professional work of diplomats.

It encourages you to question and critically analyse domestic and international economic issues to understand their political implications and to assess these at a more sophisticated level. It aims to solidify your professional understanding of modern economics issues, global institutions and policy making in the international context.

The course has been designed to introduce intermediate and advanced economic and political economy subject matter such as national competitiveness, free trade and protectionism, competition policy, global markets efficiency, development and transition, foreign aid, capital flows and financial crises, and wider debates in markets' versus states' domains.

This course naturally follows the Level One Economics for Foreign Policy course; however it is not compulsory for those with sufficient economics background to attend Level One. Although the course is fundamentally based around economic concepts, there is an interdisciplinary nature about the programme intended to illustrate at which points policy, politics and economics interact and to show how economic ideas and principles may or may not apply in the political realities.

Upon successful completion of the course, participants will receive an official LSE Custom Programmes certificate.

If you have enrolled on the programme, please log in to see your pre-course readings.


Level one

  • 7 – 11 August 2017 in Mexico City, Mexico
  • 14 – 18 August 2017 in London, UK
  • 21 – 25 August 2017 in Tokyo, Japan
  • 16 – 20 October 2017 in London, UK

Level two

  • 26 June – 7 July 2017 in London, UK
  • 25 September – 6 October 2017 in London, UK


UK courses are held at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, King Charles Street, London, SW1A 2AH. The closest tube station is Westminster. Participants will be sent full details and directions.

Participant feedback

"A good overview of key economic concepts"

"The course will certainly help with policy understanding at home and overseas"

"I can now apply, with confidence, for an economic job"

"I've been inspired to work on economic or trade related issues"

"This course has enabled me to better understand economic policy and report more effectively to London"

"What will this change about my approach to my job? Everything!"

"A thoroughly enjoyable, informative course with much work-related content"

"This is the most intellectually challenging course I have attended in the FCO and I enjoyed it hugely"

"Very high standard of presentation by highly professional experts"

"Thanks to this course, my economic awareness is much heightened and my reporting is better"

"An excellent refresher on basic economic knowledge"

"Extremely high standard"

"Highly trained educators"

"Extremely interesting course"

"It is difficult to see how anyone could credibly apply for an economic job in an overseas post, without first attending this course"

More from LSE

If you are in London, feel free to take advantage of LSE public events by policy makers, academics and business leaders. These public lectures are free to attend, although some high-profile events may be ticketed.

You may also be interested in attending LSE regular academic lectures which are open to the public. We suggest this British Government course which may be relevant to overseas staff as all the course material and lectures are openly available for viewing on the LSE website.


Should you have any queries, or would like to enrol, please contact Rickinder ChimaPlease note that these courses are for FCO employees only.

At the FCO:

Rickinder Chima
Economics Unit
Foreign and Commonwealth Office

King Charles Street
London, SW1A 2AH, UK 



Jeremey Shipp
Deputy Director, Global Market Development
LSE Enterprise Ltd

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE, UK

Tel: +44 (0) 207 852 3635
Fax: +44 (0) 207 955 7980