MA Diplomacy and Global Governance Structure and Courses*

*Vesalius College is closely monitoring the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. As the situation continues to change rapidly, our top priority remains the health, safety, and well-being of our community. Please note that due to the current situation in Belgium, the Fall 2020 lectures in Vesalius College’s MA programmes will take place in a blended format, being a combination of on-campus and online teaching. Students who are unable to travel to Belgium in time for the start of the academic year, will be able to follow classes via livestream, of which a recording will be available on the student platform. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us. (last updated 9 September 2020)


The 90 ECTS MA in Diplomacy and Global Governance runs across one intensive academic year and is divided into three trimesters. Hence, it will take a full-time student a total study time of 12 months. Students taking the 120 ECTS option (only available until the 2021-22 academic year – included) will have a to complete a fourth semester and will therefore have a total study time of 16 months. The additional time needed by part-time students to complete the study will depend on the number of courses a student will take each semester, but students interested in the part-time option should note that the minimum course load per trimester is between 12 credits (2 courses) and 18 credits (3 courses) and are strongly advised to discuss in advance their intended study plan with the Programme Director.

The course descriptions of the courses listed below are available here.


Students follow five compulsory courses

Core Foundations Trimester (Compulsory Courses) 30 ECTS
 • The Theory and Practice of International Relations 6 ECTS
 • The Theory and Practice of Diplomacy and Global Governance 6 ECTS
 • Foreign Policy Analysis within and beyond the state 6 ECTS
 • Research Methods 6 ECTS
 • MA Thesis Preparatory Seminar 6 ECTS


Students follow four compulsory courses and one elective. 

Compulsory Courses 24 ECTS
Current and Future Challenges in Diplomacy  6 ECTS
Transnational Network Diplomacy and Global Public Policy 6 ECTS
Mediation, Negotiation and Conflict Resolution in Theory and Practice 6 ECTS
MA Thesis 1 6 ECTS


Elective Course Modules* (choose one) 6 ECTS
 • Public Diplomacy 6 ECTS
 • Global Economic Governance: Trade and Finance 6 ECTS
 • The Success, Failure and Future of Global Governance 6 ECTS
 • Geopolitics and Security in East Asia 6 ECTS
• European and global governance of migration  6 ECTS
• Terrorism and Europe’s Internal/external security nexus  6 ECTS
• Disinformation, cyber warfare and Post-Truth 6 ECTS

* In order to be organised, an elective course requires a minimum number of 4 students.



In addition to advancing their MA Thesis and working on a Capstone project, students take one elective which could be an internship.

Compulsory Courses 24 ECTS
 • MA Thesis II 15 ECTS
 • Capstone case study
(Students work on a real-life problem at the intersection of diplomacy and global governance by applying their knowledge to a concrete policy problem)
Elective Courses (choose one)  
Internship 6 ECTS
Cases and Issues in Global Security & Diplomacy 6 ECTS


Additional content for the 120 ECTS track

Since some national career-tracks in diplomacy or government service may require a 120 ECTS MA, the programme offers the additional flexibility of enrolling for 30 additional ECTS credits with an additional trimester. Please note that this option will only be available until the 2021-22 academic year (included). This additional content consists of:

Intensive internship 9 ECTS
Theories and Applied Issues of Global Peace, Security and Strategic Studies 6 ECTS
Global Risk Analysis and Crisis Management concentration (5 modules)  15 ECTS


Module 1: Understanding Risks, Grasping Uncertainty 3 ECTS
Module 2: Analysing Risks, Preparing for Uncertainty 3 ECTS
Module 3: Open Source Intelligence: Tools and Techniques 3 ECTS
Module 4: A New Information Environment: Media, Conflict and Crisis Communication 3 ECTS
Module 5: Global Crisis Monitoring, Conflict Analysis & Early Warning 3 ECTS

The programme takes 17 months for the full-time version and 33 months for the part-time version.

All our courses are taught in English.