International Relations and Diplomacy

The two-year MSc Programme in International Relations and Diplomacy offers a unique blend of academic education in international relations and political science with practical graduate education and training in international negotiation and diplomacy.

The Master of Science in International Relations and Diplomacy is a programme taught jointly by Leiden University’s Institute for Security and Global Affairs (Faculty Governance and Global Affairs), the Institute of Political Science (Faculty of Social Sciences) and the Netherlands Institute of International Relations Clingendael.

The location of The Hague is beneficial for this master’s programme in terms of substantive focus and the various links to international institutions located in this city. As one of the partners, Clingendael’s objective is to promote the understanding of international affairs, and the institute devotes special attention to European co-operation, international security, and diplomacy.

In the current era of global interdependence, collaborative efforts are needed to meet the most pressing challenges in international politics, security and economics. Increased transnational channels of communication, global trade and capital flows characterise an increasingly interconnected world of both nation states and non-state actors. The resulting challenges to global governance can be met most effectively by patterns of international and transnational co-operation and diplomacy.

Master details

  • Degree Master of Science in International Relations and Diplomacy
  • Mode of study Full-time
  • Duration 2 years
  • Start date September
  • Language of instruction English
  • Location The Hague
  • Croho/isat code 75022

Prof. dr. Hosli

“Only collaborative efforts are adequate to meet the most important challenges in international politics, security and economics.”

“This master’s programme, offered by Leiden University in co-operation with the Netherlands Institute of International Relations Clingendael, provides students with a thorough education in international relations, with an additional emphasis on the academic study of international organisation and diplomacy. Each year, this programme attracts a high number of applications from international students. Leiden University has a good academic reputation internationally and the geographical proximity to The Hague appears to be an additional asset.

Leiden University, including its Department of Political Science, has a sound international reputation. Leiden is known to offer challenging and thorough graduate-level education. The programme hosts students holding bachelor’s degrees from leading universities, including those in the U.S. and Asia, and several high-level institutes in both Western and Eastern Europe.

International organisation and international relations always seemed to be particularly fascinating areas of study, as our globe is so highly interconnected and characterised by an increasing number of non-governmental organisations, transnational actors, global communication, trade and capital flows. Only collaborative efforts are adequate to meet the most important challenges in international politics, security and economics.”

What our students say

Jochem Rietveld

“Knowing what’s happening on the world stage”

“Even when I was doing my Bachelor’s in Political Science in Leiden, it was international politics that most appealed to me. And I became even more interested in the subject during my exchange semester at the University of Michigan. When I came back and started to think about what I was going to do next, I came across the Master’s in International Relations & Diplomacy. That was the ideal match for my interest in international politics and diplomacy.

We are currently witnessing a shift in the axis of power in international relations. The rise of such countries as China means that the world stage is changing, and with it the position of the West. Does Europe still have a meaningful role to play? Is the era of dominance by the United States over? These are the kinds of issues that come up in the lectures. At the moment I’m thinking about the topic for my thesis; it will probably be on the civil war in Syria. I’m fascinated by the diplomatic world; it’s highly varied and it’s about what’s happening right now! It’s a world you come into contact with when you do your internship. I think it’s vital for the Netherlands to be aware of how world circumstances are changing. IR&D plays an important role in training people to develop this awareness.

This master’s is both small scale and intensive: there are just twelve students this year. Even so, it’s a diverse group, with students from as far apart as China, Belarus and Australia. We have a lot of personal contact with the lecturers during the classes, so we learn a lot in a short space of time. We don’t tend to do exams; instead we write essays on current topics, for which we have to do a lot of solid research. The university has good contacts with Clingendael, the Netherlands Institute of International Relations, which means that the programme has a good mix of theory and practice; that’s one of its strong points. Clingendael can open doors for you, and the institute’s close relations with government, international organisations and NGOs means it’s relatively easy to organise an internship and to start building a network within the field. It also gives you a good introduction to the job market. The options for what I will do after graduating are still open: organisations such as the UN, NGOs, think-tanks or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are just some of the areas I’m considering.”

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