Master of International Relations and Diplomacy


Drawing on UC's teaching and research strengths, graduates can now obtain a master's-level capstone qualification in the popular area of international relations and diplomacy. This degree will offer students an innovative, interdisciplinary programme of taught courses with a strong professional emphasis.

Features of the Master of International Relations and Diplomacy

Note: This is a sister qualification to the new Master of Policy and Governance, which caters for students interested in advancing a policy and/or governance career in local, regional, national and third sector/not-for-profit sectors.

Entry requirements

For full entry requirements see the Regulations for the Master of International Relations and Diplomacy or use the admission requirements checker. You are also required to meet UC’s English language requirements.

Qualification specific requirements

A candidate will:

a) Either:

  • have qualified for a bachelor's degree in any subject, normally with at least a B average in 60 points of 300-level courses in the majoring subject; or
  • have qualified for a bachelor's degree and completed a qualifying course with at least a B average in 60 points of 300-level courses; or
  • have qualified for a bachelor's degree and provided evidence of relevant professional or other work experience; or
  • have been admitted ad eundem statum as fulfilling these requirements.


b) Been approved as a candidate by the Programme Director and the Dean of Arts.

Qualification structure and duration

The Master of International Relations and Diplomacy (MIRAD) comprises 180 points as follows:

  • 30 point compulsory course
  • 90 points of elective courses, chosen from a variety of options
  • 60 point research dissertation.

See the 'Subjects and courses' information below for more details.


Students start their studies in February (Semester 1) and the normal enrolment would be full-time for one year. However, with approval, students can study part-time over two years.

Subjects and courses

All students must complete:

  • the compulsory 30-point course POLS441 Principles and Practice of International Relations and Diplomacy.
  • 90 points of elective courses:
    - 60 points chosen from Schedule A (400-level Political Science and International Relations courses)
    - 30 points chosen from Schedule B (400-level courses from different disciplines such as European and European Union Studies, History, International Law and Politics, Internships, Pacific Studies)
    See the Regulations for the Master of International Relations and Diplomacy for an up-to-date list of courses on offer.
  • 60-point research dissertation – POLS688 Dissertation (15-20,000 words).

Field trip

The Wellington field trip is a two-day trip which includes meetings with senior figures in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Ministry of Defence, a variety of Embassies and High Commissions, and senior figures in government, including the Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, and the Leader of the Opposition. The field trip also includes a formal networking and senior peer mentoring event with UC alumni now working in Wellington. This is an effective professional networking event.

Further study

Doctor of Philosophy

Career opportunities

The MIRAD caters perfectly for students interested in careers in foreign affairs or inter-state coordination.

While the Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not specific tertiary pathways, applicants can find it advantageous to have a postgraduate degree in an analytical subject such as law, political science, international relations, economics or science.

Graduates will leave UC having:

  • advanced knowledge of current research in international relations
  • advanced knowledge of current professional practice in diplomacy and related fields
  • the ability to understand theoretical and practical problems in international relations and diplomacy
  • proven expertise in research processes (eg, formulating a research question, data collection and analysis, case study analysis and hypothesis testing)
  • engaged with senior university staff and senior figures in politics and policy.

Useful resources:

More information

For full requirements see the Regulations for the Master of International Relations and Diplomacy.

For study planning help contact the School of Language, Social and Political Sciences or the College of Arts:

College of Arts
University of Canterbury
Karl Popper Building, Level 4
Private Bag 4800
New Zealand

Phone +64 3 364 2176
Email arts@canterbury.ac.nz