Strategic Studies and Diplomacy, MSc

Strategic Studies and Diplomacy, MSc


The MSc Strategic Studies and Diplomacy is a programme for all those interested in the workings and interactions of governments across various levels, concerning governments which have both friendly relations and those which endure more strained relations.

This course has January and September start dates. Apply Now.

Eligible self-funded international Masters students will receive the Aberdeen Global Scholarship. Visit our Funding Database to find out more.

Study Information

Study Options

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
12 months or 24 months
Study Mode
Full Time or Part Time
Start Month
September or January
Location of Study

We live in a global situation which is becoming ever more uncertain as the international community tackles problems as diverse as climate change discussions, migration, development aid, trade and the ongoing wars in Ukraine and Middle East. New actors have emerged on the international arena, but states remain the key actors within the international system.

This programme explores how governments interact with each other, ranging from formal state visits to more covert interactions which take place. To achieve this goal, three key questions are examined:

  • What are the ‘rules of the game’ in international diplomacy?
  • How do governments engage with other governments (both friendly and more hostile)?
  • How do governments engage with the emergence of new strategic actors, economic trends, security and development challenges, and global flashpoints?

Available Programmes of Study

Please note that as this is a new MSc programme, the final programme structure is yet to be confirmed and the courses listed should be considered indicative of what you will learn.


Strategic Studies and Diplomacy

Qualification Duration Learning Mode Study Mode Start Month Location  
MSc 12 months or 24 months On Campus Learning Full Time or Part Time September Aberdeen More
MSc 12 months or 24 months On Campus Learning Full Time or Part Time January Aberdeen More

Fees for individual programmes can be viewed in the Programme(s) above.

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

Fee Information

Additional Fee Information

  • Fees for individual programmes can be viewed in the Programmes section above.
  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.


Self-funded international students enrolling on postgraduate taught (PGT) programmes will receive one of our Aberdeen Global Scholarships, ranging from £3000 to £8,500, depending on your domicile country. Learn more about the Aberdeen Global Scholarships here.

To see our full range of scholarships, visit our Funding Database.

How You'll Study

You will enjoy a diverse and friendly style of teaching throughout our programme. These unique ways of learning will develop skills valued by employers, including independent learning and research, group work, presentation skills and project work.

Learning Methods

  • Individual Projects
  • Lectures
  • Research
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials

Assessment Methods

By written examination, essay work and class presentation as prescribed for each course and by submission of a dissertation. The degree of MSc shall not be awarded to a candidate who fails to achieve a CGS grade of D3 or above in PI5901, irrespective of their performance in other courses.

Why Study Strategic Studies and Diplomacy?

  • Our portfolio of MSc Strategic Studies programmes has produced graduates of high repute with excellent career prospects for over thirty years, with a network of alumni internationally
  • This programme will arm you with many transferable skills critical for the competitive working environment including oral and written communications skills, critical analysis, problem-solving, teamwork skills (e.g., negotiation, persuasion, decision-making, leadership), IT skills, and working independently (e.g., establishing and prioritising objectives, working to deadlines)
  • This programme encourages collaboration with course experts who have experience of public policy, government departments, and international organisations (e.g., NATO, EU, UN, and think-tanks), or working as advisers to government (including in the UK, the US, EU, and East Asia).
  • PIR hosts an exciting range of events, including research seminars with world-renowned guest speakers, international policy, academic conferences, and other global policy-focussed forums.
  • The interdisciplinary nature of the programme creates exiting collaboration opportunities with other departments across the university including Business, Geography, Law, and Computer Science.
  • Strategic Studies convenes a Wargaming Club that students can participate in to sharpen their skills in strategic thinking, tactics, diplomacy, communication, and team-work.

Entry Requirements


The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.

The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.

Applicants for admission will normally be expected to hold a relevant Honours degree with a 2:1 standard from a recognised university or body.

Applicants without this qualification may be admitted subject to having an alternative qualification, or an approved level of work experience appropriate to the field of study. Also taken into careful consideration is the trajectory of results, an applicant without an overall 2.1 but with 2.1 results in their final two years of study may be admitted.

Please enter your country to view country-specific entry requirements.

English Language Requirements

To study for a Postgraduate Taught degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:

IELTS Academic:

OVERALL - 6.5 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 6.0; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0


OVERALL - 90 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 21; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21

PTE Academic:

OVERALL - 62 with: Listening - 59; Reading - 59; Speaking - 59; Writing - 59

Cambridge English B2 First, C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency:

OVERALL - 176 with: Listening - 162; Reading - 169; Speaking - 162; Writing - 169

Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Document Requirements

You will be required to supply the following documentation with your application as proof you meet the entry requirements of this degree programme. If you have not yet completed your current programme of study, then you can still apply and you can provide your Degree Certificate at a later date.

Degree Certificate
a degree certificate showing your qualifications
Degree Transcript
a full transcript showing all the subjects you studied and the marks you have achieved in your degree(s) (original & official English translation)
Personal Statement
a detailed personal statement explaining your motivation for this particular programme
Reference x 2
two reference letters, one of which should be from your university discussing your academic ability. If you have been out of education for a long time you may wish to use your current or most recent employers, or other professional individuals

Aberdeen Global Scholarship

Eligible self-funded post graduate taught (PGT) students will receive the Aberdeen Global Scholarship. Explore our Global Scholarships, including eligibility details, on our dedicated page.

Aberdeen Global Scholarships


Possible career opportunities include:

  • Diplomats
  • Civil Servants
  • Military Officers
  • Intelligence Analysts
  • Political Analysts
  • University Lecturers
  • Journalists
  • Law Enforcement Officers
  • Senior Associates
  • Senior Research Officers
  • Freedom of Information Officers

7th and 9th in the UK

We are ranked 7th in the UK for International Relations and 9th in the UK for Politics by the Guardian University Guide 2024.

Chinese Security Issues

In this short video, Dr James Johnson tells us more about the course "Chinese Security Issues".

Useful Fact about this Subject

In this lecture, Dr Jim Johnson introduces one of MSc Strategic Studies courses, ‘Strategic Theory’.

Our Experts

A small and cohesive group of highly skilled academic staff with many years of graduate teaching experience, who are part of a network of high quality academics in strategic studies and diplomacy.

Dr Dimitrios Anagnostakis and Dr Jim Johnson are Programme Directors, and Prof Mervyn Bain and Dr Malcolm Harvey are Course Coordinators for this programme.

Programme Coordinators
Prof Mervyn Bain
Dr Malcolm Harvey
Dr James Johnson
Dr Dimitrios Anagnostakis

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.


We provide a wide range of related research centres, which include:

  • Centre for European Survey Research
  • New Europe Centre - housing a variety of projects looking at values and behaviour
  • Centre for Global Security and Governance

Centre for Global Security and Governance

A centre of excellence committed to inter-sectoral & interdisciplinary working for equity, social justice & sustainable futures. A space at the University for staff, students, practitioners & the public to develop collaborative teaching & research.

Find out more
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Politics & International Relations Society

Politics & International Relations Society

The student-led Politics and International Relations Society is one of the largest societies on campus. It's a place for students to come together and explore their curiosities with like-minded people, whilst having lots of fun!

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Regular Seminar Series and Guest Speakers

Regular Seminar Series and Guest Speakers

We have regular seminar series hosted by the department of Politics and International Relations along with guest speakers throughout the year.

Find out more

Get in Touch

Contact Details

Student Recruitment & Admissions
University of Aberdeen
University Office
Regent Walk
AB24 3FX