Universiteit Leiden

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International Relations and Diplomacy (MSc)

About the programme

Most classes are taught in a seminar format where participants are required to prepare for and attend all class sessions. Since the programme involves classroom work as well as individual research, there is often close consultation between students and faculty. The academic year is divided into two semesters: September to January and January to June. The duration of the programme is 2 years.

Programme overview

First Year
In the first year, students attend courses on such as international relations theory and methodology. The Clingendael Institute will offer courses on diplomacy and practical negotiation trainings. The students also conduct an internship.

Second Year
The second year provides students with knowledge in more specific subfields such as international political economy, conflict, civil war and mediation etc.. The students practice research design, develop a thesis proposal and present their independent research in a thesis.

Charlotte Reich

Student, Class of 2023

Charlotte Reich

What I appreciate most about the MIRD programme is it’s interdisciplinary and practical approach. The programme trains you to become a well-rounded generalist while allowing you to sharpen your profile in those subject matters you are most passionate about. You will learn from highly skilled scholars and practitioners and actively engage with pressing issues of global importance beyond your comfort zone. The various simulation games and assignments allow you to directly apply what you have learned.

The MIRD programme equipped me with substantive theoretical knowledge in international relations and practical skills in diplomacy and negotiation, provoked me to rethink my positions and consider all sides to an argument, and gave me the confidence to pursue my career objectives in diplomacy.

I would recommend this programme to any student who is up for a challenge and passionate about international affairs.

Breanna Cross

Student, Class of 2024

Breanna Cross

The MIRD programme has far exceeded my expectations and has energised my passion for studying again. After working in the legal field for almost five years, I sought to make a career switch but knew I needed a competitive, challenging, and exciting programme that would push me outside of my comfort zone and help me grow both personally and professionally. While the courses are demanding, they are also thought-provoking, and the professors are truly passionate about what they teach as well as supportive of students' interests and pursuits.

Additionally, the integration of internships, networking and traditional studies is something that few programs offer, but which is invaluable for students looking to tailor their study experience to their future careers.   I have also made friends that I know I will stay in touch with long after we have graduated. I couldn’t be happier or more excited for the future!


The programme also offers various electives for both the years. These electives cover niche subfield such as non-western approaches to diplomacy, advanced research methods to name a few. The students get to choose one elective in the first year and two electives in the second year. Electives are subject to change and their availability is contingent upon minimum threshold of 5 students registering for the course being passed.


All students are required to complete an internship . Both Leiden University and Clingendael have contacts with international and domestic organisations including the institutions of the European Union and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The programme’s Internship Coordinator assists students in finding internships and is available for consultation.

Educational methods

In the Advanced MSc IRD, you:

  • Take part in an intensive and highly interactive style of teaching;
  • Find that small programme size and diversity of co-students results in truly international perspectives;
  • Actively prepare for and participate in seminar-format classes;
  • Complete classroom work, individual research, and written assignments in close collaboration with other students and lecturers;
  • Spend about 2-3 days per week on campus.

Student Support Services

Sometimes students need extra support or advice before or during their studies at Leiden University. This may take many forms: maybe you need the help of a Study Advisor, or to speak with a student psychologist about personal issues, or you experience chronic illness such as physical or psychological difficulties or dyslexia.

Here is an overview of university Student Support Services.

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