Undergraduate Certificate in Diplomatic Studies

The undergraduate Certificate in Diplomatic Studies is designed for students whose careers will demand an understanding of the formulation and implementation of foreign policy. It is open to students from all BSFS majors and seeks to build on the BSFS program’s multidisciplinary core curriculum that includes courses on international affairs, government, economics, history, theology, philosophy, geography, and foreign languages. Diplomacy is the conduct or practice of foreign policy – its formulation and implementation – by government and inter-governmental organizations in furtherance of their interests.  Diplomacy is neither synonymous with foreign policy itself or international relations, nor is it solely the practice of international negotiation or the tradecraft of professional diplomats (e.g. how to deliver a demarche).  The U/CDS is therefore designed to complement the IPOL foreign policy/processes field and to increase the understanding of students from other majors of the practical side of policy creation and execution.

This certificate will expand and enhance a student’s understanding and appreciation of the complexity of issues, conventional and emerging, and the multiplicity of players and apply this knowledge to the formulation and implementation of policies in a 21st century context.  The certificate will prepare students to:

  • Assess and debate how the conduct (i.e. formulation/implementation) of foreign policy affects its success or failure
  • Recognize the many ways in which the global environment within which diplomats operate is changing, in particular that it is multilateral, transnational and includes interactions across the broad spectrum of host country, host institution and non-state actors 
  • Develop the substantive and analytical expertise necessary to understand the use of specific statecraft tools (e.g. negotiation, public diplomacy, economic diplomacy, etc.) to address different policy challenges
  • Understand and interpret the conduct of foreign policies by major states, medium states and small states, and regional and international organizations in clear written and oral presentations
  • Look outside their own functional or geographic areas of concentration to synthesize a wide range of information and information sources and to extrapolate to both broad strategic goals and innovative yet pragmatic policy implementation steps
  • Analyze the conduct of foreign policy within the context of the inter-related roles of history, economics, culture/religion, domestic political actors, development and security, law and science, as well as IR theory.

Together with ISD’s Director of Studies, certificate candidates will plan a directed, coherent course of study that includes (a) demonstrated language proficiency or 4 semesters of language study and (b) completion a total of 6 course/18 or more credit hours to include some combination of upper level courses from the approved ISD course list (the double counting maximum with the major is two courses):

  • Elements of statecraft, e.g. development, negotiation, public diplomacy, economic diplomacy): Students must take one course from this category (see course list attached) or petition for a course not otherwise included to meet this requirement.
  • Diplomatic history and contemporary foreign policy: Students must take one course from this category (see course list attached) or petition for a course not otherwise included to meet this requirement.
  • Econometrics or other quantitative course
  • Regional/Area Studies
  • Transnational Issue, to include STIA issues
  • Regional/Multilateral Organizations
  • Ideological/Cultural/Religious Dynamics
  • Student may petition for courses not otherwise included

Candidates must also complete an internship with organizations or institutions whose work directly affects or is directly affected by diplomacy. ISD will consider waivers and exceptions due to extenuating circumstances, but these will be the exception. Candidates are required to submit to ISD a significant research project – directed, individual research on a topic of the student’s choice, with analysis and policy recommendations of at least 20-25 pages in length - dealing with a subject/issue/event of diplomatic significance. This paper will preferably relate back to the student’s internship experience.  There are a number of channels by which a student may undertake this research and the paper for certificate credit.

  • Any course above the basic survey level taught by a member of the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy.
  • As an ISD’s student fellow under one of the several research fellowships administered by the Institute (https://isd.georgetown.edu/isd-fellowship).
  • A research paper conducted as part of another course within the intent of this certificate (paper topic would require prior ISD approval), including a Diplomacy Lab project.
  • A paper produced in a research tutorial, including the newly-approved 3 credit internship course.
  • A paper researched and submitted directly to ISD and independent of the above. The paper would not be for course credit but would be for certificate credit.

All non-ISD research paper topics, course syllabus must be submitted to diplomacy@georgetown.edu for approval. Students must receive a B+ or above on the paper.



  • Who: Students currently enrolled in BSFS degree program with a declared major.
  • When: Second semester of sophomore year (deadline: April 17, 2019, 2019) or (with ISD permission) first semester of junior year. 
  • How: Complete attached application form (link), to include statement that clearly reflects considered selection of courses to be taken, proposed research focus and articulation of how certificate complements area of concentration.

To inquire further, please contact Jim Seevers, ISD’s Director of Studies, who runs the undergraduate certificate program and will closely advise U/CDS students about certificate requirements (jps67@georgetown.edu). U/CDS students will be an integral part of the ISD practitioner community led by ISD’s Director Ambassador Barbara Bodine.      


Application for Undergraduate Certificate in Diplomatic Studies