Master Degree Programs in Diplomacy with Career Information

Essential Information

If you're interested in pursuing a career in diplomacy, a Master of Arts in Diplomacy or a Master of Science in Foreign Service might help you achieve your goal. Through these programs, you'll gain an in-depth understanding of international law while exploring a variety of topics, including economic and diplomatic theories and research practices. Within these programs, students may complete an internship, which may be available abroad. Some programs and courses may be available online.

A 2-year master's program in diplomacy requires a bachelor's degree, and undergraduate coursework in economics and statistics is strongly recommended. These programs may also require fluency in a foreign language, preferably for their planned region of specialty. A bachelor's degree is also needed for the 2- year master's in foreign service, as well as undergraduate coursework in micro and macroeconomics.

Master of Arts in Diplomacy

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Diplomacy programs are typically found under names such as M.A. in International Relations and Diplomacy or M.A. in Diplomacy and International Affairs. These programs help students develop their skills in international relations, conflict resolution, international law and economic policy. Students also typically choose an area of specialization, such as global health or international security, as well as a region of specialty, such as Asia, Europe or the Middle East.

Master of Arts in Diplomacy programs typically include at least 45 hours of coursework. Courses in a master's program in diplomacy might include the following:

  • International relations and diplomacy theory
  • Policy analysis research methods
  • International law
  • International negotiation
  • Economic policy

Master of Science in Foreign Service

Master of Science (M.S.) in Foreign Service degree programs are specifically tailored for students interested in joining the U.S. Foreign Service. Programs emphasize skills required to pass the Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT). Students learn about international trade, intersocial relations and statistics.

M.S. in Foreign Service programs typically require a minimum of 48 hours of coursework. Students may be required to complete classes in an area of concentration, such as international relations and security or international commerce, as well as electives that can lead to certification in areas such as Arab or Asian studies or humanitarian issues. Core courses in a master's program in foreign service are likely to include the following:

  • International trade
  • International relations
  • Security and conflict management
  • U.S. foreign policy
  • Governance and political development

Popular Career Options

Graduates of Master of Arts in Diplomacy programs can enjoy a variety of careers. While many work for the U.S. or foreign governments in the public sector, others find employment in the private sector or with nonprofit organizations. Specific career titles in the field might include the following:

  • U.S. Foreign Service officer
  • U.S. Department of State officer
  • Foreign minister
  • International financier
  • International studies professor

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Graduates of M.S. in Foreign Service programs typically work with the U.S. Department of State as Foreign Service officers. As with most government jobs, Foreign Service positions are leveled by class and grade. Applicants with master's degrees typically start as a class 5/step 5, which paid $56,293 annually in 2015, according to the U.S. Department of State's careers page ( However, applicants go up a grade for every year of professional experience they have.

Federal jobs tend to be more stable than those in the private sector during difficult economic times; thus, competition for Foreign Service jobs in today's struggling economy is likely to be fierce.

Continuing Education

Ph.D. programs in diplomacy and other areas related to international relations are widely available. In addition, many schools offer specialization certificates in areas such as global health, global negotiation and conflict resolution, and international law and human rights.

There are many continuing education opportunities for M.S. in Foreign Service graduates, including skills clinics, professional development programs and certification in areas such as Eurasian, Russian and Eastern European studies. M.S. in Foreign Service graduates also may go on to Ph.D. programs in international relations and diplomacy or related areas.

Students interested in studying diplomacy and other issues related with international law can pursue a master's degree in diplomacy or foreign service. Graduates can go on to doctorate programs or work in the public or private sectors as various kinds of international officers.

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