Diplomatic Theory and Practice online course

Start date: 5 May 2025

Why do we need diplomats?

Diplomats are members of a profession developed over many centuries. But why do we still need them in a world transformed by electronic communications? The short answer is that diplomats serve as buffers between rulers driven by domestic insecurities or ideology – or both – that dispose them to take dangerous risks abroad, to the peril of us all. Only diplomacy offers hope when the clouds are at their darkest.

The materials for this course were developed by Prof. GR Berridge, based on his Diplomacy: Theory and Practice, now in its 6th edition, and after Kissinger’s book, the most cited general work on diplomacy on Google Scholar’s diplomacy page. Prof. Berridge is Emeritus Professor of International Politics at the University of Leicester and a DiploFoundation Senior Fellow; read more, including his current blog postings, on his website.


The course consists of 8 modules:

  • The Diplomatic Moment: diplomacy: a specialised activity; the diplomatic moment: the conditions that encourage diplomacy; diplomatic systems and diplomatic styles; the world diplomatic system in outline.
  • Negotiations: pre-negotiations, formula, and details stages; the objectives sought in each and the difficulties peculiar to them; techniques for securing agreement, for example 'linkage'.
  • Diplomatic Momentum: how the momentum of negotiation can be maintained and, if lost, regained; deadlines, metaphors of movement, publicity, and raising the level of the talks; packaging agreements and following up.
  • Telecommunications: forms, uses, and limitations of telecommunication in diplomacy, including particular reference to telephone diplomacy in crises (including “hot lines”) and video-conferencing.
  • Bilateral Diplomacy: embassies, consular posts, and unconventional resident missions such as interests sections and representative offices; why they are the major part of the modern counter-revolution in diplomatic practice.
  • Multilateral Diplomacy: ad hoc and standing conferences; questions of procedure: venue, membership, agenda, transparency, and above all decision-making; the triumph of 'consensus-decision making' and its various techniques, for example, NATO’s silence procedure.
  • Mediation: good offices, conciliation, and mediation; the motives of mediators (track one and track two); multi-party mediation; is there an 'ideal' mediator? The ripe moment and whether there is such a thing as a premature mediation.
  • Summitry: the diplomatist's bane; the case for the defence; serial summits, ad hoc summits (including funeral diplomacy), the high-level exchange of views; secrets of summit success.

Course lecturers

 Face, Head, Person, Photography, Portrait, Indoors, Adult, Male, Man, Accessories, Glasses, Clothing, Coat

Asoke Mukerji

Former Indian Ambassador to the United Nations, New York

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André Saramago

Online Learning & Research Assistant

How will you learn?

In this course, you will interact intensively in discussions with classmates and lecturers from around the world. You will receive guidance and personalised feedback on your classwork from the course team. More details on how the course works are available here.

How long will you learn?

The course lasts for 10 weeks:

  • 1 week of course introduction and orientation to online learning
  • 8 weeks of addressing the course topics one by one (see below for more details)
  • 1 week for the final assignment and completing pending tasks

Who should apply

This course will be of interest to:

  • Practising diplomats, civil servants, and others working in international relations
  • Postgraduate students of diplomacy or international relations wishing to gain deeper insight through interaction with practising diplomats
  • Postgraduate students or practitioners in other fields seeking an entry point into the world of diplomacy
  • Journalists, staff of international and non-governmental organisations, translators, business people, and others who wish to improve their understanding of diplomacy-related topics

Need more info:

DiploFoundation (attn Tanja Nikolic)

Anutruf, Ground Floor, Hriereb Street
Msida, MSD 1675, Malta

+356 21 333 323; admissions@diplomacy.edu


The Diplomatic Theory and Practice online course is based on a collaborative learning approach, involving a high level of interaction over a period of 10 weeks. Reading materials and the necessary tools for online interaction are provided in a virtual classroom.

Each week, participants study and discuss course materials and complete additional online activities. At the end of the week, participants and lecturers meet to discuss the topic of the week. For successful completion, this course requires a minimum of 5 to 7 hours of study time per week.

Participants who successfully complete a certificate course receive a certificate issued by Diplo which can be printed or shared electronically via a permanent link. Participants who successfully complete an accredited course will receive 9 ECTS credits from the University of Malta.


All course applicants must have regular internet access; dial-up connections are sufficient, but broadband is preferable.

Applicants for certificate courses must have:

  • An undergraduate university degree OR 3 years of work experience and appropriate professional qualifications in diplomacy or international relations
  • Sufficient English language skills to undertake postgraduate-level studies

Applicants for accredited courses must meet the University of Malta prerequisites:

  • Bachelor's degree in a relevant subject with at least Second Class Honours
  • Proof of English language proficiency obtained within the last 2 years (minimum requirements: TOEFL paper-based – 650; TOEFL internet-based – 95; IELTS – 6.5.; Cambridge – Proficiency Certificate with Grade C or better). If when applying you are still waiting for your English language proficiency results, the University may issue a conditional letter of acceptance.

Fees and scholarships

Course fees depend on whether you wish to obtain university credit for the course or a Diplo certificate:

  • University of Malta accredited courses: €850
  • Diplo certificate courses: €690

Note: Diplo alumni can benefit from a 15% discount on the fee for this course.

A limited number of partial scholarships are available for diplomats and others working in international relations from developing countries. Discounts are available for more than one participant from the same institution. 

You can apply for this course as:

How to apply

Fill out the short form to start your application process for this course. You will receive an instruction email on how to continue.

Applying for financial assistance? Please indicate this on the application form, upload your CV, and a motivation statement that should include:

  • Details of your relevant professional and educational background
  • Reasons for your interest in the course
  • Why do you feel you should have the opportunity to participate in this course? How will your participation benefit you, your institution and/or your country?

Please note that financial assistance from Diplo is available only to applicants from developing countries! 

Late applications will only be considered if there are spaces available in the course.


Apply for a University of Malta accredited course

Complete application packages must be received by specified application deadlines in order to be considered.

  1. Two copies of the University of Malta application form filled out in full
  2. Certified copies of original degree(s) and official transcripts
  3. English translations of degree(s) and transcripts if they are not in English, signed and stamped by a translator
  4. English language proficiency certificate obtained within the last two years (minimum requirements TOEFL paper-based – 650; TOEFL internet-based – 95. IELTS – 6.5.; Cambridge – Proficiency Certificate with Grade C or better). Please indicate on the application form if you are still waiting for your English language proficiency results
  5. Photocopy of personal details pages of your passport
  6. If you are requesting financial assistance, please include your CV and a motivation letter with your application. The motivation letter should include details of your relevant professional and educational background; reasons for your interest in the course; and why you feel you should have the opportunity to participate in this course (i.e. how will your participation benefit you, your institution and/or your country). Financial assistance from DiploFoundation is available only to applicants from developing countries.
  7. Application fee or proof of payment (€100, non-refundable – see methods of payment).

Please send the complete application package by email to admissions@diplomacy.edu or by post to:

Anutruf, Ground Floor
Hriereb Street
Msida, MSD 1675, Malta

Please note that by sending your application package, you are confirming that you have read Diplo's Privacy Policy. Please note that Diplo will process and share your personal data with third parties (including the University of Malta) for admissions and academic matters, administering finance, and administrative purposes in accordance with the Privacy Policy.


Cancellation policy

Diplo reserves the right to cancel this course if enrolment is insufficient. In case of cancellation, Diplo will notify applicants shortly after the application deadline. Applicants who have paid an application fee may apply this fee towards another course or receive a refund.