A Master of Diplomacy (MDY) degree works to further your existing skills, professional experience, and education to prepare you for a career in diplomacy. This can involve work in a wide range of positions in a variety of sectors and organizations.
With a focus on international relations and the history, theory, and practices of diplomacy, as well as the techniques and strategies needed for peacekeeping and trade in the modern era, a Master of Diplomacy degree provides the well-rounded knowledge needed for this often complex discipline.
There is ample opportunity for highly paid work as a diplomat and in the international relations field,  though there are advantages to diplomatic work that extend beyond remuneration.
With frequent global and domestic shifts in power and policy, diplomats are consistently presented with unforeseen challenges, so the need for well-executed diplomacy is constant.  The unpredictable world stage requires the rational, adaptable, and cooperative nature that diplomats and those with diplomatic personalities bring to the table.
Your grasp of problem-solving, understanding of different cultures, and respect for others’ positions can bring value to a wide range of organizations and companies,  and be of real service to the world. You can obtain transferable skills that can make you well suited to a range of public and private sector jobs.
Diplomatic jobs vary enormously in their nature. Governmental roles often last two years per tour  and can involve time spent in any country where the U.S. has a diplomatic presence.
Pay and career versatility
A Master of Diplomacy can unlock exciting, far-reaching positions, including opportunities to shape foreign policy. Furthermore, if you find the right career, degrees in diplomacy and other international relations-centric fields can be quite lucrative. Forbes reported that such careers average nearly a six-figure salary at the mid-career level.  Studies by the Pew Research Center note that 25- to 34-year-olds with a graduate degree or higher in any field earn more than $900 more per month than those with a bachelor’s degree. 
The potential for increased pay is a reflection of the upward mobility and promotional prospects sometimes available to those with a master’s degree. Those who hold a Master of Diplomacy could expect to work in a range of positions, including as a diplomat, political scientist, political analyst, foreign affairs specialist, or research consultant, as well as in journalism, lobbying,  or any other position that requires an in-depth understanding of global issues.
There is also the possibility of specialization within your Master of Diplomacy degree. Based on a survey of online programs, international economics, international terrorism, security policy, and cyber diplomacy are just a few of the relevant themes that may be approached in your program, giving you a chance to build on existing interests, react to current events, and study more specifically within the area in which you would like to work.
Below are several examples of common positions and the salaries they may offer. Also included is the projected job growth where such information exists.
It is important to note the distinction between the job growth for individual roles listed here and the increased opportunities that stem from associated degrees. For example, Forbes magazine states that there is a 21% projected employment growth for jobs associated with a diplomacy degree, with the same figure for international relations, whereas the outlook for specific positions is often lower due to their specialist nature. 
According to statistics found on the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs (APSIA) website, 29% of international relations graduates work in the public sector.  There is strong competition for these positions, making internships important. These public sector organizations can focus on anything from promoting trade to developing cities, as well as upholding law and order.
Government and military
Government and military work often requires advanced degrees in diplomacy, international relations, or international law to protect U.S. interests and citizens overseas. These can include anything from an administrative position to a military one and can involve mandatory placements across the world. 
For-profit organizations, particularly ones with an international presence, may hire diplomacy and international relations graduates to benefit from their cross-cultural knowledge and communication skills.
NGOs, charities, and other nonprofit organizations
These organizations work throughout the world and require specialists to do so. They often seek candidates who can demonstrate specific examples of charity work or an interest in their projects and ideals. 
The length of an online master’s degree program can depend on a number of variables, perhaps the most prominent of which is the pace at which you choose to study. You can finish a typical master’s degree program in about two to three years if you choose to study full-time, although some accelerated programs may be able to help you finish more quickly.
Online master’s degree programs tend to offer flexibility suitable for students who choose to study part-time. This option will likely extend your time to completion, but it can allow you to study while fulfilling your familial, social, and professional obligations.
You can find more information on this topic at our program length overview page.
While each program will set its admission requirements based on its own criteria, many requirements are universal across all programs. No matter where you apply, you can expect to provide items like transcripts from previous degrees or coursework; standardized test scores; a personal statement or essay; letters of recommendation; and an overview of relevant work experience.
In certain cases, some of these requirements may be waived.
For more information about admissions, please visit our admissions requirements page.
Connections are very important for diplomacy careers. The global, cooperative nature of the studies lend themselves particularly well to fostering longstanding relationships with individuals and bodies that can assist in searching for positions, or perhaps help you to fill one at a later date. The following are organizations that may prove beneficial for you.
A master’s in diplomacy may not be best suited to your skills and qualifications or may not exist at a given institution where you wish to study. Here are some related degrees:
Regional accreditation is the most prestigious type of accreditation that an online or traditional college or university can receive. It is granted only after careful consideration by private, not-for-profit organizations tasked with evaluating educational quality.
Regional accreditation is particularly important if you anticipate that you might want to transfer credits from one online degree program to another or use those credits to pursue another degree. Most regionally accredited schools will only accept credits from other regionally accredited institutions of higher learning.
You can learn more on this topic at our regional accreditation page.
The cost of a given program generally reflects the levels of contact time, the facilities, and the expertise of those teaching it. These are likely to be of a higher standard in an accredited program, as such matters may provide a partial basis for the accreditation.
There are a number of factors that can greatly affect how much your education will cost. These include whether you attend a public or private institution; whether you attend as an in-state or out-of-state student; and whether you qualify for financial aid like grants or scholarships.
For a more detailed breakdown of tuition, fees, and other financial issues, please visit our tuition and fees page.
A Master of Arts in Diplomacy involves studies in international relations and often focuses on providing graduates with the skills and knowledge required to analyze and defuse international conflicts. Students earn the degree to learn how to impact diplomatic processes. Despite being a highly specialized degree, it is relevant to careers across a wide variety of industries and sectors.
Diplomacy degrees are typically pursued by students who wish to make a difference in the world. These individuals can come from a wide variety of sectors, including public, private, nonprofit, and military. Diplomacy students are often motivated to gain insight into global issues and take an active role in impacting foreign processes.
Many senior positions within the government, international organizations, and non-governmental organizations require a master’s degree. Pursuing a Master of Arts in Diplomacy is an excellent way for future global game changers to prepare themselves.
The primary focus of the diplomacy degree is to provide graduates with the broad knowledge base and specialized skills required to implement change and participate in solving many of the world’s most difficult problems. Topics typically studied often relate to humanities and include geography, communication, fine arts, diplomacy, and more.
Key attributes that you may consider when choosing an online Master of Diplomacy degree include concentration options, faculty, delivery method, program length, cost, curriculum, rankings, and accreditations.
While both degrees are similar in terms of content, the main point of differentiation is depth of focus. An international relations degree is typically a broad degree focused on providing the knowledge required for careers in the international relations space. In contrast, a diplomacy degree is much more specific to the field of diplomacy and focuses more on providing students with the required skill set necessary to implement solutions across nations.
The largest provider of student financial aid in the nation is the Federal Student Aid office in the U.S. Department of Education. It supplies college-level or career school students with loans, grants, and work-study funds. You can apply for federal financial aid through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, commonly known as FAFSA.
There are numerous other scholarships available, but you will need to research which opportunities you’re qualified to pursue. Many states, associations, websites, and businesses award scholarships based on specific criteria. Be sure to do your research and apply for any scholarships you’re qualified to be awarded. 
While requirements vary by school, most diplomacy programs will require a minimum undergraduate GPA. This tends to be about 2.75 or higher. Some programs may waive this requirement if you have proper coursework or experience in the field.
Whether you will need to complete the GRE prior to applying for a program will largely depend on what school you have chosen. There are many programs that do not require a GRE. Check the admissions requirements for your school before applying.
While each institution will vary slightly in its requirements/prerequisites for admission, most programs require:
Most diplomacy degrees do not require prior work experience, but it may help increase the strength of your application. Those without work experience will need to indicate why they are interested in the degree, what skills they are able to bring to the table, and how it is relevant to their career path.
Yes. As the diplomacy degree is most suited for mid-level working professionals, many diplomacy programs prefer students who are working so they can apply what they’ve learned and develop their skills around their specific roles.
There is not a specific undergraduate/bachelor’s degree required to qualify. Most master’s in diplomacy programs accept students from a wide variety of backgrounds.
No. Because diplomacy programs are pursued by people from varying industries and backgrounds, there are typically no prerequisite courses required.
While each Master of Arts in Diplomacy program varies in length, most take approximately 18-24 months to complete.
This varies by program. Some Master of Arts in Diplomacy programs include required fieldwork/internships, while others have residency components.
Many Master of Arts in Diplomacy programs include a research or independent study component, providing the opportunity for students to develop focused research and scholarly investigation skills. This is especially helpful for students looking to pursue their Ph.D. or for those who want to pursue a senior career in education or governmental roles. However, not all programs will include a research/thesis paper as a requirement for completion.
Yes. Colleges and universities offer this degree in a wide variety of settings, including online options, on campus, and hybrid degrees.
Yes. Schools typically follow the same curriculum for their online programs as they do for their campus-based programs.
Most institutions do not indicate on the degree that it was earned online.
Asynchronous coursework can be completed on your own time — a big plus for many online graduate students. Synchronous coursework has to be completed within a set timeframe. This is typically done for group projects, seminars, presentations, and other learning initiatives that require multiple attendees. The elements of asynchronous and synchronous learning in your online program depend on the professor and class itself. Once you enroll, reach out to teachers for specifics, but remember that the curriculum may be divided into these two subsets.
Those pursuing a diplomacy program often have a variety of concentrations and specializations to choose from, including international commerce, international terrorism, foreign policy, conflict management, or cyber diplomacy. Some programs also offer the option to pursue a regional concentration where they can specialize their studies on a particular region of the world.
Concentrations are an excellent way for diplomacy students to customize their diplomacy studies toward their personal and professional goals. By choosing a concentration relative to their career path, students can develop deepened knowledge within their industry or topic of choice.
There is not a particular accreditation one should look for from diplomacy programs outside of the institution being regionally accredited. Reputable accrediting agencies are authorized by the U.S. Department of Education and listed at www.ed.gov.
Accreditations are a strong indication of quality, but are also required for students who plan to apply for federal financial aid. Accreditation ensures that your degree is recognized by employers, professional associations, and other accredited institutions of higher education.
SARA (State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement) applies only to distance education programs in the United States that cross state lines. This agreement is made between member states and establishes comparable postsecondary national standards for distance education courses. 
Not every state is a SARA member. Through SARA, member states only have to receive authorization in their home state. Without SARA, non-member states would have to receive authorization in their home state and the state of each of their online students. 
As students pursuing the diplomacy degree come from a wide variety of industries, there are also many careers one can pursue after completing the degree. This includes careers in government, public policy, international organizations, or the military. Often, graduates aspire to become consultants, contractors, or political advisors.
Common job titles for graduates include:
Because the diplomacy degree is applicable to careers across varying industries, growth outlook is dependent on which industry a graduate is looking to pursue a career in.
No. Attaining management/senior positions is not guaranteed through the completion of a master’s degree. These positions often require many years of experience and a significant level of career achievement. However, an advanced degree can help you develop the necessary knowledge and skills required for these positions and also prove your dedication to the field.