MA in Diplomacy and Global Governance

Programme and curriculum

The English-taught MA in Diplomacy and Global Governance based in Brussels (Belgium) provides students and professionals with comprehensive knowledge and policy-oriented skills at the intersection of diplomacy and global governance. This diplomatic studies Master degree is available both as a 90 ECTS (12 months) and as a 120 ECTS (15 months) programme. 

Both diplomacy and global governance are important institutions of the international order, but they are also the institutions undergoing permanent processes of change in the modern and at times turbulent world. No institution has undergone greater change in both our theoretical understanding of it and the nature of its day-to-day practice in the last several decades than diplomacy.  No process has become more important than our ability, or often lack of it, to engage on transnational policy making by international collective action problem solving while at the same time becoming so highly contested and politicised. We face a permanent challenge to govern ourselves beyond the territory of the nation state, and hence face the importance of understanding the expectations and limits of global governance and diplomatic skills.

With its strong links to the policy-making world and university/think tank partners in Brussels, wider Europe, US and Asia, this MA programme offers students a truly global exchange between theory and practice.

By bringing together key practitioners with scholars from these fields, graduates of this programme will be equipped to extract insights and advantages of the various perspectives and approaches at this turning point in the history of diplomacy and global governance.

This MA programme is designed and taught by a network of leading international academics from top universities and think tanks as well as senior policy-makers from international organisations. In the latter category, our teaching staff currently includes the following prominent professors:

  • Dr Antonio Missiroli – Former Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges at NATO and former Director of the European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS)
  • Dr Jamie Shea – former Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges at NATO
  • Dr Michael Reiterer – Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Korea
  • Dr Giovanni Grevi – Former Director of Fride and senior analyst at EPC

It provides both theoretical foundations and practical skill-sets for students interested in international careers in diplomacy, government, international relations, international organisations, think tanks and NGOs.

Our School also offers a similar Master programme focusing on Global Security and Strategy.

The Brussels School of Governance is an alliance between the Institute for European Studies (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) and Vesalius College. This MA in Diplomacy and Global Governance is a programme of which the degree will be awarded by Vesalius College.


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Key Features

  • Organised in cooperation with the Royal Military Academy
  • Strong link between theory and actual practice
  • Limited class size ensures high interaction and close contacts among students and with the professors
  • Internship placement in international organisations, think tanks and NGOs
  • Intensive skills training and policy workshops, e.g. during a Capstone course that exposes students to real-life issues and challenges of policymakers and practitioners; during several simulations students participate in (SUNY model EU, Model NATO, Model UN MEDMUN)
  • Strong link to the policy-maker scene in Brussels
  • Accredited by the Flemish educational authorities (NVAO)
  • Supported by the extensive expertise of our Office for Teaching, Learning and Innovation to accommodate sophisticated blended teaching methods


Academic Calendar

Course schedule


Course catalogue

Prestigious Internships

STEP approach

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Academic Calendar

The first day of classes of the Fall 2023 semester is 11 September. Orientation and registration activities will take place a few days before that.

Click here for a detailed overview of the 2023-2024 academic calendar of our MA programmes. 


Course schedule

Here you will find the Fall 2023 course schedule for this MA programme.



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. 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. 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 their intended study plan in advance with the Programme Director.


* Students taking the 120 ECTS option cannot take an internship in the second trimester as they take an extensive internship in the additional trimester.



Click here for a full overview of courses  that are part of this MA programme. Please see the MA Course Catalogue (available below) for more detailed information.​



TRIMESTER 1: Core Foundations (Compulsory Courses)

  • MA Thesis Preparatory Seminar - 6 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


TRIMESTER 2: Specialisation Tracks (Elective Courses)

Students follow four compulsory courses and one elective


  •  MA Thesis I – 6 ECTS

  •  Global and European Diplomacy:  Change  and  Challenges – 6 ECTS

  •  Mediation, Negotiation and Conflict Resolution in Theory and Practice – 6 ECTS

  •  New Public Diplomacy from Theory to Action - 6 ECTS

ELECTIVE COURSES* (choose one)

  • Disinformation and Cybersecurity:  Implications for Strategic Communication – 6 ECTS

  • Defence Policy and Strategy Making - 6 ECTS

  • Diplomatic and Security Issues in the Indo-Pacific - 6 ECTS

  • Internship (only for students with 90 ECTS-credit option) - 6 ECTS

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


TRIMESTER 3: MA Thesis, Capstone Case Study and one elective

In addition to advancing their MA Thesis and working on a Capstone project, students take one elective which could be an internship (note that students taking the 120 ECTS option – see below – cannot take an internship in the 3rd trimester as they take an intensive internship in the additional trimester.)


  • MA Thesis II – 15 ECTS
  • Intensive Capstone – 9 ECTS

ELECTIVE COURSES* (choose one)

  • Strategic Foresight: Governance, Security and Diplomacy – 6 ECTS
  • Additional elective courses will be added

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


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. This additional content consists of:

  • Intensive internship – 9 ECTS
  • Global Risk Analysis and Crisis Management concentration (5 modules) – 15 ECTS 
    • Understanding Risks, Grasping Uncertainty
    • Analysing Risks, Preparing for Uncertainty
    • Open Source Intelligence: Tools and Techniques
    • A New Information Environment: Media, Conflict and Crisis Communication
    • Global Crisis Monitoring, Conflict Analysis & Early Warning

One elective course from the list below:

  • War and Diplomacy in the Middle East– 6 ECTS
  • Terrorism, Counterterrorism and (De-)Radicalization – 6 ECTS
  • Geopolitics – 6 ECTS


Course catalogue

Click here to access the 2023-2024 course catalogue of our MA programmes.


Prestigious Internships

As part of this MA programme, students have the opportunity to partake in a tailor-made internship with one of our high-profile internship partners where they are involved in our partners’ core activities from day one onwards. The programme has a wide range of agreements with international organisations to offer internships during the spring and fall semesters. Click here for more information on our MA internship programme


STEP approach

At the BSoG, we offer our students a unique educational experience, based on what we call the STEP approach to teaching and learning: our programmes are Student-centered, have a solid Theoretical knowledge base, their educational Excellence is guaranteed, and they are strongly Practice-oriented. It makes our School a prominent hub for the study of European and global challenges. Find out what STEP can offer you.

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Programme Director

Success stories

  • "Brussels is an amazing city and it’s really felt like home these past 18 months. BSoG pushed me to grow a lot academically and I feel like I have learned so much. I am leaving with more knowledge, lifelong friends, and amazing memories."

    Gabriella Memarian
    MA alumna (2022)
  • "The BSoG's Masters in Diplomacy and Global Governance was genuinely transformative. Under the guidance of dedicated professors, my academic and analytical skills greatly improved; engaging firsthand with institutions like EEAS, GMF, and NATO further enriched my experience. An internship highlight was co-authoring an upcoming International Affairs article with a distinguished professor. Now, I step forward well-prepared and confident."

    Samat Nerry
    MA alumna (2023)

News about the programme

Admission requirements

The Brussels School of Governance seeks students who are able to meet the challenges of our academic programme and are willing to participate fully in the intellectual and social life of the school in a spirit of openness and tolerance. Admission to the school is selective and holistic. We accept only students whose records indicate that they possess the qualities needed to achieve academic success in the degree programme of their choice. 

Diploma Requirements

Language Requirements

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Diploma Requirements

An undergraduate degree in Social, Economic or Political Sciences, Business or Law qualifying for graduate studies in the country of origin. If your degree is not within these disciplines, relevant work experience in these or related fields may qualify.


Language requirements

All our programmes are taught in English; hence, a good verbal and written command of the English language is essential. Results of an English proficiency examination are required for students who have studied for less than three years in a secondary school, or less than two years in a university with English as the language of instruction. Click here for an overview of accepted language test certificates and required scores.


Can I already apply when the result of the English test is not yet known or if I have not yet obtained my degree?

Yes. Even if you are still in the process of obtaining your previous degree, you can already apply and should indicate this information in the ‘Current and previous higher education section’ of the application form, mentioning the date (as precisely as possible) by which you will obtain the degree. If the Admissions Committee then decides that you meet all other admission criteria you will be accepted on the condition that you provide us with your diploma and transcript at the very latest before the Programme starts and that you obtain the required grades to start the programme. Please note that the same does not apply to the English language test certificate: our Admissions Committee will not assess your application if you have not submitted your language test certificate yet. 

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Deadlines and application process

Places in our MA programmes are limited, so we encourage students to apply well in advance to their semester of choice.  Below are the application deadlines students must adhere to:

  Fall semester
EEA citizens 30 June
Non-EEA citizens 31 May


If you are interested in one of our programmes beyond these dates, and do not need to apply for a visa for Belgium, please contact our Admissions Office, who will advise you on your options. 

Admission decisions are usually made within three weeks after receipt of the complete application. Once accepted, international applicants should contact the Belgian embassy or consulate in their country immediately to get a complete list of requirements specific for that country. More information on student visas is available here.

To apply, please click the ‘Apply here’ button at the top of this page, which will take you to a web page on which you can create your account in our applicaton system and then submit your application. This page also contains a checklist of the documents and information we require from you to assess your application.

The application process is as follows:

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1. Pay the non-refundable application fee of 50 EUR when submitting your application. The application fee will be deducted from the tuition upon registration. You can pay this application fee by card or by bank transfer:

  • By card: the School accepts MasterCard, Visa and Maestro. Payment by card can be made online. Please CLICK HERE to make a payment.
  • By bank transfer:
    ING Bank, Pleinlaan 2, B-1050 Brussels, Belgium
    Account number: BE 64 3631 0290 8552
    Swift code: BBRU BE BB
    Account holder: Vesalius College vzw
    (Please make sure that in the comments section of your payment you mention ‘MA Diplo application fee’ + your name)
    For international transfers, the main office of the bank is: ING Bank, Pleinlaan 2, B-1050 Brussels, Belgium.
    ​Please allow two to three weeks for payments from abroad to arrive. It is important to retain proof of payment. Students are liable for all bank charges, including exchange costs.

2. Go to the home page of our application system, also accessible via the 'Apply here' button at the top of this page, which will take you to a web page on which you can create your account in our system and then submit your application. During the steps of this application process, you will have to submit the following documents:

  • Official academic credentials and transcripts (showing courses and grades) from all universities attended.  

Photocopies of original documents are not accepted as official documents. However, we strongly encourage you to upload copies of any of the above-mentioned documents that you have with your online application while waiting for official credentials to be sent to us.

  • A recommendation letter from a professor or previous employer, who knows you well and can comment on your academic abilities and suitability for studying the MA (including your academic writing and analytical skills).
  • A photocopy of either a passport or of a national identity card.  
  • Results of an English proficiency examination are required for students whose undergraduate degree was not taught in English. See the ‘Admission requirements’ section for details. 
  • A motivation letter or a personal essay underlining your goals after graduation (minimum 300 words).  
  • A curriculum vitae.

Applicants must ensure that their names are recorded clearly on all documents. The family name or surname given in the application must then be used in all correspondence with our School and on all documents relating to it. Note: None of the application materials submitted to the Brussels School of Governance will be returned to the applicant. Candidates are advised to make copies for their own records prior to submission.

The Brussels School of Governance accepts credentials in English, Dutch, French, and German. For all other languages, official translations by a certified translator (whose signature is authenticated) are required and are accepted only when accompanied by the document in its original language.

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Tuition and scholarships

Tuition (for the entire programme, full-time)

  90 ECTS


120 ECTS (including the Postgraduate
Certificate in Global Risk Analysis
and Crisis Management)


Tuition for all students


15.000 €

19.000 €


For Brussels School of Governance graduates / Study Abroad Alumni:

Students who graduated with a BA from the Brussels School of Governance (or with one of its two members, Institute for European Studies (VUB) or Vesalius College) or have completed a semester at the School as part of their Study Abroad programme qualify for a tuition fee reduction.


Academic Excellence Scholarship (AES) – MA programmes

We will award Academic Excellence Scholarships to students who have achieved outstanding grades in their most recent university degree and whose extra-curricular achievements show evidence of leadership in today’s global society. Other factors include one letter of recommendation from their university and (in certain cases) standardised test scores. The school's merit-based financial assistance can provide up to a 50 % reduction in tuition. The scholarship will be directly applied to the student’s tuition fees. The application deadline for such Academic Excellence Scholarship is 15 April.

>> Click here for further information on Academic Excellence Scholarship minimum requirements and on how to apply for it.


Which entity awards the degree of this programme?

Is this programme accredited?

How to apply for a visa?

What happens after I applied?

When do I get a VUB student card?

Is accommodation provided by the University or should it be arranged individually?

Where can I find more information about campus and facilities?

Is there a possibility to follow language courses at the VUB?

Will I get career advice as a student?

What are the cancellation terms?

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Which entity awards the degree of this programme?

The Brussels School of Governance is an alliance between the Institute for European Studies (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) and Vesalius College. This MA in Diplomacy and Global Governance is a programme of which the degree will be awarded by Vesalius College.


Is this programme accredited?

Yes it is. The degree of this programme is awarded by Vesalius College, which is registered with the Flemish government of Belgium as an institution of higher education, and its BA and MA degrees are equivalent to fully-recognised degrees issued by a Flemish University. Vesalius College is a participant in the Bologna Process, the reform effort designed to standardise higher education throughout Europe. In accordance with the Bologna declaration, Vesalius College offers 3-year European bachelor programmes and calculates coursework in ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) credits. All our Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees have been granted accredited status by the Dutch-Flemish Accreditation Organisation (NVAO, Nederlands-Vlaamse Accreditatie Organisatie). This official organisation was established by international treaty between the Flemish and the Dutch governments to ensure the quality of higher education in both the Netherlands and Flanders. More information on the accreditation of the MA in Diplomacy and Global Governance Studies can be found on its relevant webpage on the official government website regarding higher education in Flanders, as well as on the relevant page on the NVAO website.


How can I apply for a visa?

As you will undoubtedly want to travel during your stay in Brussels, we strongly recommend that you ask for a long-stay Schengen Visa, or ‘Type D’ Schengen Visa, which will allow you to travel hassle-free to any of the countries within the Schengen region and to make multiple entries into Belgium. This type of visa is not issued by all embassies/consulates. Please contact the Belgian embassy or consulate nearest to you for details on specific procedures and requirements. Click here for more information about visa regulations.


What happens after I applied?

We aim at providing you with a decision within three weeks from receiving your complete application AND your payment of the 50 EUR application fee.  You will receive our decision by e-mail. In case of acceptance to the programme, this e-mail will contain practical info about the next steps (pre-registration fee / tuition fee payment, cost of living, etc.).


When do I get my VUB student card?

Upon your registration with the academic administration, you will get a VUB student card.


Is accommodation provided by the University or should it be arranged individually?

Students are responsible for making their own housing arrangements. There are some private residencies close to our School, so it is definitely worth to check these out first. Key to these student rooms is to apply as much in advance as possible and if needed to register on their waiting list. Prices go from 330-900€ so there is a big variety. See below for a list of some private residencies:

Most of the contracts for student rooms or flats will be for at least one year. Contracts for apartments are usually three years. You will be required to pay two months of rent in advance as a “guarantee” (security deposit) and the first month of rent is due on the day you sign the contract. Make sure that the utilities are included in the rent (electricity, heating system, water, Wi-Fi connection). Please note you will often need to share the kitchen and bathroom. If you have questions and/or concerns about a contract, please ask the landlord for a copy and ask for a translation (or help) at the School.

We suggest that you arrive one week before Orientation, if at all possible.


Where can I find more information about campus and facilities?

The School is located on the campus of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), a green campus in Etterbeek in Brussels. Modern sports facilities with sports halls, tennis and squash courts, and a swimming pool can all be found on site. Monthly gym subscriptions are available at Basic Fit, a modern and well-equipped gym right on campus. The student restaurant offers a large choice of meals and snacks at self-service counters. The campus is easy to reach by train, tram, bus or metro from the city centre or the outskirts of Brussels.

The School also offers the opportunity to attend career seminars and make use of psychological counselling (free of charge). Click here for more information about campus life, services & facilities and Living in Brussels. Moreover, the VUB offers its students a unique career advice service. Its Career Centre’s clients include the European Commission. Its services include CV editing, interview preparation and general career advice. For more information:
tel: +32 2 629 11 88
or immediately sign up here.


Is there a possibility to follow language courses at the VUB?

Yes. There are two possibilities:
BRUSSELS EDUCATION CENTER C.V.O – Day and evening language courses: VUB Campus – Pleinlaan 2 – Building D (Room D.1.33)
phone : +32 (0)2/629.39.08
website :


ITO : University Language Institute – Pleinlaan 5 – 3° floor
phone : +32 (0)2/629.26.07
e-mail :


What are the cancellation terms?

  • The pre-registration payment (1.000€) on any Master’s Programme is non-refundable unless cancellation in a programme is due to events beyond the control of the applicant (otherwise known as force majeure).
  • Cancellation before the start of the academic year/semester: any tuition fees already paid will be reimbursed, except for the 1,000€ pre-registration fee. 
  • Cancellations within 8 weeks of the start of the academic year/semester: 50% reimbursement of the tuition owed.
  • Cancellations after 8 weeks of the start of the academic year/semester: not eligible for any refund. 
  • If only partial payment has been received on date of withdrawal, the student remains fully liable for the difference.
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Have a question about this programme? Get in touch with us!

I have already applied and have a question about my application.


If you have not submitted an application yet, use the Contact Form on this page, or
one of the other contact options below.

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