Doctor of Diplomacy (DDipl)

The Doctor of Diplomacy degree is one of the highlights of our doctoral studies programme. It’s unique because it’s specially designed for working professionals and is taught at a range of venues, often with direct input from senior practitioners.

Doctor of Diplomacy (DDipl)

Key facts

  • Award DDipl
  • Start date September 2024, January 2025
  • Duration DDipl full-time: 24 to 48 months, DDipl part-time: 24 to 72 months
  • Mode of study full time, part time
  • Delivery on campus


This course brings together best practice in academic learning and professional expertise.

A unique feature of the face-to-face and practical aspect of the course is weekend seminars, which maximise your opportunities for discussion of key issues and flexible delivery. The suite of modules includes diplomatic simulations and negotiation exercises, which can also be taken à la carte.

The Doctor of Diplomacy degree consists of two parts. Full-time students can expect to complete the degree in three to four years. The taught part of the course will last for two academic years if you’re a full-time student. In your final year (with the option of applying for a one-year extension), PhD candidates will complete a thesis within about one year. This thesis will enable you to reflect on pertinent issues of diplomacy in light of the theory and conceptual knowledge you have gained over the course of your degree – as well as through your independent research.

Most working professionals are likely to choose part-time study for this degree. If you choose the part-time degree pathway, the completion of the Doctor of Diplomacy will take proportionately longer.

Top reasons to study with us

Course objectives

The key objectives are to:

  • offer a professional development opportunity for medium-level and senior professionals working in diplomacy and related field who seek to enhance and utilise their research expertise;
  • introduce students to the theoretical foundations that underpin research on the history and theory of international relations and diplomacy;
  • develop students’ understanding of research from the proposal stage to the dissemination of the findings;
  • provide students with the skills and knowledge base required to independently collect, analyse and report qualitative data, taking account of ethics, reliability and validity;
  • develop students’ understanding of the relationship between research and policy and the meanings of evaluation, its terminology, practice and use;
  • enable students, with supervision, to independently conduct and write up a research project;
  • enable students to critically reflect on their own practice in the diplomatic field and thereby advance their professionalism.

Flexible learning

If you’re interested in studying a module from this course, the Postgraduate Certificate or the Postgraduate Diploma then please email Graduate Admissions to discuss your course of study.

Research overview

In REF 2021, 87% of the University's research was judged as having an outstanding or very considerable impact on society.

  • More than 80% of Stirling research is world leading or internationally excellent.
  • Joint 4th in Scotland and joint 43rd in the UK for research impact (Times Higher Education REF 2021: Impact Scores rankings).
  • Research environment at Stirling commended for enabling excellence and delivering impact.

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

A minimum of a second-class Honours degree or equivalent (2.1 degree or equivalent preferred) in a relevant subject with a minimum of six years professional experience in a relevant context, and/or a Masters qualification in a relevant subject with a minimum of three years professional experience in a relevant context (merit degree or equivalent preferred).

Applicants without these formal qualifications but with significant appropriate work and life experience are encouraged to apply

International entry requirements

View the entry requirements for your country.

Application procedure

Use the 'Apply now' button on this course page. For more information about th DDipl Doctor of Diplomacy, please contact Professor Holger NehringFaculty of Arts and Humanities (phone:+44 (0)1786 467590, email:

English language requirements

If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

  • IELTS Academic or UKVI 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each sub-skill.
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic) 61 overall with 56 in each sub-skill.
  • IBT TOEFL 80 overall with 18 in reading, 23 in writing, 19 in listening and 21 in speaking.

See our information on English language requirements for more details on the language tests we accept and options to waive these requirements.

Pre-sessional English language courses

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner INTO University of Stirling offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for entry to this degree.

Find out more about our pre-sessional English language courses.

Course details

Common to all professional doctorates is the completion of an original piece of research. Doctor of Diplomacy students will produce a thesis of 40,000-60,000 words (maximum).

Your thesis will be expected to make an original contribution to knowledge and will be judged by the convincing evidence it offers of competent and independent scholarship and research, wide and critical reading, and an ability to relate academic knowledge to professional interests. You must submit the thesis for examination within the maximum period of study and shall undergo an oral examination on the thesis and related topics. You may submit a revised thesis only once for examination.



The module information below provides an example of the types of course module you may study. The details listed are for the academic year that starts in September 2024. Modules and start dates are regularly reviewed and may be subject to change in future years.

Course Details


Modules will be delivered in block seminars. These require a significant amount of independent preparation and study that will be delivered and supported through our virtual learning environment. 


The modules are assessed through both an essay on selected case studies, as well as brief policy papers or blogs that apply concepts and theories to real-life scenarios. Assessment is on a pass/fail basis. The thesis is assessed by two examiners (one of them external) and a viva voce examination.

Fees and funding

Fees and costs

2023-24 and 2024-25 fees
Full course fee £58,700
Annual part-time fee (minus thesis) £13,044

You will be liable to pay tuition fees for every module you enrol on. Your fees will be held at the same level throughout your course. If you need to extend your period of study, you may be liable for an additional fee.

For more information on courses invoiced on a modular fee basis, please read our tuition fees policy.

Doctoral loans

If you're domiciled in England or Wales you may be eligible to apply for a doctoral loan from your regional body:

Additional costs

There are some instances where additional fees may apply. Depending on your chosen course, you may need to pay additional costs, for example for field trips. Learn more about additional fees.

Scholarships and funding


Eligible international students could receive a scholarship worth between £4,000-£7,000. See our range of generous scholarships for international postgraduate students.

University of Stirling alumni will automatically be awarded a fee waiver for the first year of Masters studies through our Stirling Alumni Scholarship.

Applicants from the UK or Republic of Ireland who hold a first-class honours degree or equivalent will automatically be awarded a £2,000 scholarship through our Postgraduate Merit Scholarship.

If you have the talent, ability and drive to study with us, we want to make sure you make the most of the opportunity – regardless of your financial circumstances.

Learn more about available funding opportunities or use our scholarship finder to explore our range of scholarships.

Cost of living

If you’re domiciled in the UK, you can typically apply to your relevant funding body for help with living costs. This usually takes the form of student loans, grants or bursaries, and the amount awarded depends upon your personal circumstances and household income.

International (including EU) students won’t normally be able to claim living support through SAAS or other UK public funding bodies. You should contact the relevant authority in your country to find out if you’re eligible to receive support.

Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling

Payment options

We aim to be as flexible as possible, and offer a wide range of payment methods - including the option to pay fees by instalments. Learn more about how to pay

After you graduate

Successful completion of the course leads to careers in:

  • diplomacy
  • international organisations
  • international non-governmental organisations
  • international business
  • finance
  • commerce and industry

Testimonial quotes

This degree can make a real difference to your professional development. You will push the boundaries of your field, in ministries of foreign affairs, international organisations, non-governmental organisations as well as industry, business and finance.

As foreign policy and global health become increasingly intertwined, I was looking for an opportunity to further develop my diplomacy skills. The University of Stirling combines an academically rigorous environment with the flexibility I need to continue my public health career, while simultaneously providing me with unique access to experienced diplomatic practitioners.

Alison Kelly, Atlanta, USA
DDipl student, employed at the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, graduate of the University of California, San Diego and Dartmouth College, USA

Employability skills

Skills you will gain on the course include:

  • leadership;
  • reflective professionalism;
  • integrity;
  • high-level research and analytical skills;
  • advanced drafting, communication and presentation skills. 

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