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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 international relations, strategy and diplomacy
  • involvement from senior policy practitioners on core analytical issues
  • in-depth focus on the trends, threats and risks shaping 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 one-year programme designed to enhance the strategic vision of future leaders. 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 flashpoints.

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, with a view to address the complex challenges of the future.

Programme details

The teaching is concentrated in the following units:

  • four intensive weeks in September (five days), December (five days), January (five days) and April (five days)
  • 22 weekly evening lectures followed by seminars from October to March
  • two policy weekends in November and March

Students are assessed via an assessed academic essay (counting for 25% of the final mark) and an assessed policy paper (25% of the final mark). The summer term is devoted to writing a 3,000 word dissertation plan (12.5% of the final mark) and a 15,000 dissertation (37.5% of the final mark) 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 – political, military, economic; 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 new security issues and global 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).

You can find the most up-to-date list of optional courses for MSc International Strategy and Diplomacy in the Programme Regulations section of the current School Calendar.

You must note however that while care has been taken to ensure that this information is up to date and correct, some circumstances may cause the School to subsequently change, suspend or withdraw a course or programme of study, or change the fees that apply to it. The School will neither be liable for information that after publication becomes inaccurate or irrelevant, nor for changing, suspending or withdrawing a course or programme of study due to circumstances outside of its control. You must also note that places are limited on some courses and/or subject to specific entry requirements. The School cannot therefore guarantee places on its courses. You should visit the School's Calendar, or contact the relevant academic department, for information on the availability and/or content of courses and programmes of study. Certain substantive changes will be listed on the Updated graduate course and programme information page.

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 government, international organisations, foreign policy consultancy, and full-time education.


lse.ac.uk/internationalRelations lse.ac.uk/ideas/strategy

Application code: L2UJ (check availability)

Start date: 19 September 2016

Duration: 12 months (Note: This is a full-time programme at LSE. However, the unique teaching calendar has been designed to allow working professionals to attend all sessions.)

Intake/applications in 2014: 27/85

Minimum entry requirement: This programme is intended for mid-career professionals both from the public and private sector. Minimum requirements to be considered for a place on the programme are: a) a first or upper second class honours (2:1) degree from a UK university (or non-UK equivalent) in politics, history, international relations or similar disciplines at undergraduate level. A good master's degree will suffice instead of this; b) at least four years of professional experience but preferably 10 (See entry requirements)

English requirement: Standard (English requirements)

GRE/GMAT requirement: None

Fee level: £28,077

Financial support: This programme is not eligible for LSE financial support

Application deadline: None – rolling admissions