Not available in 2017/18
IR439      Half Unit

This information is for the 2017/18 session.

Teacher responsible



This course is available on the CEMS Exchange, MBA Exchange, MSc in International Relations, MSc in International Relations (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in International Relations (Research) and MSc in International Relations Theory. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course is not available in 2017-18.

Course content

The aims of the course are to provide intellectual challenge to academically able students by engaging with difficult and demanding material concerning diplomacy; to provide a basis for the further study of diplomacy, or to provide to students from other academic disciplines with sufficient knowledge of International Relations to enable them to conceptualise the study of diplomacy from the point of view of their own disciplines; to provide a historical and sociological background for eventual careers in diplomatic services or international organizations; and to provide a framework to assist concerned citizens to think about issues which will be of increasing importance in the 21st century. The objectives of the course are to promote a critical engagement with a wide range of literature, and to display this engagement via the development of a succinct writing style and the ability to present complex arguments orally.


10 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the MT.

Students on this course will have a reading week in Week 6, in line with departmental policy.

Formative coursework

Two 2,000-word essays, one of which will form the basis of a presentation, and one simulated speech-writing session.

Indicative reading

Anderson, M[atthew] S[mith] (1993) The Rise of Modern Diplomacy 1450-1919.

London: Longman.

Berridge, Geoffrey R. (1995) Diplomacy. Theory and Practice. London: Prentice Hall.

Hamilton, Keith, and Richard Langhorne (1995) The Practice of Diplomacy: Its Evolution, Theory and Administration. London: Routledge.

Jönsson, Christer and Martin Hall (2005) Essence of Diplomacy. London: Palgrave.

Kissinger, Henry (2004) Diplomacy New York, NY: Simon & Schuster (idiosyncratically, this book is on statesman/statewomanship rather than on diplomacy).

Kissinger, Henry (1957) A World Restored. Metternich, Castlereagh and the Problem of Peace, 1815-22 Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Nicolson, Harold ([1939] 1963) Diplomacy, third ed., London: Oxford University Press (probably the most influential book on diplomacy ever written).

Satow, Sir Ernest (first ed. 1917) Satow’s Guide to Diplomatic Practice edited by Lord Gore-Booth. London: Longman (a handbook for the working diplomat; any of the seven editions will do).

Watson, Adam ([1982] 1984) Diplomacy: The Dialogue between States. London: Methuen (has the added interest of being written by a diplomat-scholar)


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.

Student performance results

(2013/14 - 2015/16 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 12.7
Merit 74.7
Pass 12.7
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: International Relations

Total students 2016/17: Unavailable

Average class size 2016/17: Unavailable

Controlled access 2016/17: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication