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Diplomacy and Society


Admission requirements

Only students of the Advanced MSc International Relations and Diplomacy programme can take this course.


This course builds on the MIRD core module on diplomacy. It is meant to be a laboratory of ideas and exploration of new avenues for research. Core theme is that the practice of diplomacy is increasingly responding to societal trends at home and worldwide. We examine how this has a profound impact on diplomacy. This is an intensive course and co-authoring, group collaboration and field work are important elements. Input by practitioners and student work paying attention to policy and practice implications are central elements of the course.

Course objectives

By the end of the course you will have:

  • A sound knowledge of the most important communication-related debates and practices in contemporary diplomacy.

  • A critical understanding of key theoretical concepts and debates.

  • Improved collaborative writing skills aimed at a wider readership and including writing concisely.

  • Honed group and field work skills.


On the right-hand side of the programme front page of the E-Prospectus you will find a link to the online timetables.

Mode of instruction

The course will be seminar-based and you will be coached individually by the lecturer who is also a resource person and moderator. Conference panel discussions, co-authoring and collaborative field work and writing are important in this course. The aim is to give students a better understanding of the fundamental ways in which change in government-society relations is impacting on diplomacy. You will find out as much through reading and discussion as by means of engagement with practitioners as guest speakers and interlocutors in your field work.

Study load: 140 hours

Attendance Policy
Attendance is mandatory, subject to course structure (see syllabus for details).

Assessment method

The final mark for this course is based on two equal components testing knowledge, and oral and written academic skills:

  • 50% - individual written/audio work (essay/podcast);

  • 50% - written group assignment.

Failed partial grades or components should be compensated by passed partial grades or components. The calculated grade must be at least 5,5 to pass the course. It is not possible to re-sit a partial grade or component once you have passed the course.

  • Passed partial grades obtained in the academic year 2022-2023 remain valid during the academic year 2023-2024.

  • Passed partial grades obtained in the academic year 2023-2024 remain valid during the academic year 2024-2025.

  • The assessment method has changed from last academic year. Students that have valid partial grades from last academic year, may complete the course according to last years assessment methods.

  • Should a student fail the overall course, s/he can complete the course in the next academic year. In cases of exceptional circumstances, a student may apply to the board of examiners for a resit to complete the course in the same academic year.

Reading list

Compulsory readings will be announced.


The programme will register the students in Usis based on the group division. Use Brightspace for course information.


Prof. Dr. J. Melissen


  • This course is an elective designed for MIRD students.

  • This elective is conditional on at least 5 students registering for this course.

  • Second year students have priority for the registration to this course.