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MSc International Strategy and Diplomacy

About the Executive MSc programme

This executive programme is organised and managed by LSE IDEAS, the centre for International Affairs, Diplomacy and Strategy. The programme offers the following benefits:

  • study within a group of professionals in a leading world centre for the subject, situated in the only UK institution devoted to the social sciences, and in a thriving research community
  • intellectual input from leading LSE academics in the field of strategy and diplomacy
  • involvement from senior policy practitioners on core analytical issues
  • in-depth focus on the complex threats and risks of the contemporary international landscape
  • unique emphasis on how to address the national and trans-national challenges of the future
  • opportunity for active student participation in a small group environment
  • international networking with LSE IDEAS's academic and professional contacts

The Executive MSc International Strategy and Diplomacy is a unique programme designed to enhance the strategic vision of future leaders by providing participants with a clear understanding of the diversity of challenges confronting governments and societies. For this purpose, the programme examines the changing global landscape created by the fundamental shifts that have occurred in domestic and international relations in the past 20 years. Lectures and seminars focus on strategic trends, the emergence of new strategic actors, the international environment within which they operate, with particular attention to new security challenges and global flash-points.

As an integral part of the established LSE Executive Programme, it is also focused on applicability and relevance, on how to manage risk and change. Therefore, participants learn not only how to use strategy to deal with adversaries, but also to cooperate with others in solving common problems, be they military, diplomatic/political, economic or business.

Enrolment is restricted to professionals with at least four years of work experience in order to ensure high-calibre discussion and intellectual engagement. This programme is particularly suitable for professionals who are aiming to proceed to senior political or corporate level positions. It will also be of interest to those wishing to deepen their conceptual grasp of contemporary international relations, and how to address the complex challenges of the future.

Programme details

The teaching is concentrated in the following units:

  • four intensive weeks in October, December, January and March
  • twenty weekly evening seminars from October to March
  • two policy weekends in November and March

The summer term is devoted to writing a 3000 word dissertation plan and a 15,000 dissertation on a topic agreed with the dissertation supervisor.

Compulsory courses 

(* half unit)

  • Strategy in a Changing World examines five different perspectives on strategy: the need for a new approach to strategy; the interplay between old and new strategic actors; strategic trends - economic, social, political and military; the evolving strategic international environment and the changing role of institutions; and the nature of strategic decisions.
  • Diplomacy and Challenges looks at six key aspects of diplomacy: the tools of diplomacy, both old and new; the arts of diplomatic and business negotiation; how different types of crisis have been resolved; in-depth discussions of a major current international problem; the challenges ahead, including flashpoints; preventative action and crisis management.
  • Strategy in Action* gives participants experience in evaluating foreign policy decisions and options, preventative action to reduce near-term risks and threats, and the development of longer term strategies. Through group exercises, participants will be asked to prepare a strategy and policy paper relevant to the day.
  • A 15,000 word Dissertation (one and a half units).

Please read the following important information before referring to full details of course options found in the Programme Regulations.

The programme regulations available are for the current academic session and may be subject to change before the beginning of the next academic year. For more information about course availability in the next academic session, please contact the relevant academic department. The School reserves the right at all times to withdraw, suspend or alter particular courses and syllabuses, and to alter the level of fees. Courses are on occasion capped (limited to a maximum number of students) or subject to entry conditions requiring the approval of the course convenor. The School cannot guarantee that places on specific courses will be available.

Graduate destinations

The majority of graduates have continued to work in their previous posts, though very often at a higher level after having completed their studies. Others have changed direction entirely with some moving into full-time education, government, international organisations, and foreign policy consultancy.


lse.ac.uk/internationalRelations, lse.ac.uk/ideas

Application code: L2UJ (check availability)

Start date: 21 September 2015

Duration: 12 months (Note: This is considered a full-time programme at LSE. The unique teaching arrangements are part-time, with ongoing employment) 

Intake/applications in 2013: 34/127

Minimum entry requirement: This is a master's degree for mid-career level professionals/civil servants who have spent several years in full time employment and have previously achieved a good first degree in politics, history, international relations or similar disciplines at undergraduate level (entry requirements)

English requirement: Standard (English requirements)

GRE/GMAT requirement: None

Fee level: £26,997

Financial support: This programme is not eligible for the Graduate Support Scheme

Application deadline: None – rolling admissions