Diplomatic Protocol and Etiquette online course

Diplomatic Protocol and Etiquette online course

Protocol is an important part of diplomatic practice linked with history, royalty, religion, culture and language.

Diplomatic protocol involves etiquette on a local and international scale, and the practice of good manners on a daily basis. It evolved as a result of old traditions, when in the early days of civilization hospitality was extended to an arriving guest. Today it is particularly important because it not only covers the ceremonial rules that are followed during official functions and how to behave on these special occasions, but it also provides a set of established rules of courteousness that are to be respected in society. This course introduces participants to the ceremonial aspect of protocol procedures, behavior of etiquette, rules of courteousness in society, and respect for precedence. It also helps business executives master the basics of etiquette and get a better understanding of multicultural manners.

What will you learn?

  • Introduce yourselves and others appropriately and engage in initial conversation.
  • Present yourselves, and your organisations, with confidence.
  • Use handshakes effectively and present and receive business cards appropriately.
  • Use correct titles and forms of address in different contexts.
  • Prepare invitations for various events and different levels of formality; prepare notes of acceptance and decline for events.
  • Plan and prepare for hosting important events and meeting dignitaries.
  • Plan seating arrangements and balance table seating.
  • React in an appropriate and proactive manner to arising protocol-related questions and issues.

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.

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

Diplomatic Protocol and Etiquette 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


The course consists of 8 modules:

  1. Introduction to protocol and etiquette: historical background of protocol; how the unwritten rules of courtesy and ceremonial acted as catalysts in the development of protocol procedures as we know them today; the importance of first impressions; how handshakes act as a means of communication when meeting someone for the first time.
  2. Introductions and business cards: the importance of making a proper introduction: When does one introduce oneself? When do we introduce others? Commonly made mistakes during introductions; the history of visiting cards and their use as adopted by different countries.
  3. Establishment of diplomatic relations and presentation of credentials:  an introduction to the procedures normally followed for the establishment of diplomatic relations, the appointment of an ambassador, and his arrival in the host country; how the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961) relates to the life of a diplomat.
  4. Order of precedence, titles and forms of address: What is an order of precedence and how is it applied at formal functions? What kind of precedence exists among the diplomatic corps and what does the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961) say about the order of precedence? The importance of titles and forms of address; how dignitaries should be addressed in a manner appropriate to the office they occupy; how to address such dignitaries in writing.
  5. Invitations: how invitations originated; the difference between formal and informal invitations; the proper wording used on diplomatic invitations; forms of replies and declines.
  6. Attending events and planning table seating: attending receptions; the receiving line; official luncheons and dinners; and various seating arrangements.
  7. Entertaining: the list of host duties when hosting various functions and the respective duties of the guests; the purpose of toasts, when they are given and the general format used when giving a toast; table manners and other important issues related to diplomatic entertaining.
  8. State visits: preparation for state visits; the programme involved; dress codes, decorations and flag etiquette.

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 Protocol and Etiquette 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

If interested in this course, please contact us at admissions@diplomacy.edu.