SYLLABUS 2011 - 2012






This introductory module provides instruction in diplomatic law and overviews the range of diplomatic and consular agents practicing diplomacy. Specific objectives include distilling the practical meanings and activities within this specialised chapter of Public International Law - Diplomatic Law - in a lucid, succinct and effective manner.
International law is defined as the body of rules governing the relations between states (although international law is the subject of much debate and opposing viewpoints).
This module considers its relevance in diplomatic relations in the fact that considerations of international law do infact influence governments and provide standards of international behaviour which are acknowledged as ideal.

Module contents:

1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations: In detail 230 page breakdown & explanation of the entire Convention
1946 Convention on the Privileges & Immunities of the UN
Treaties and Treaty-making
Types of Treaties, validity and termination of Treaties
Human Rights Law & Refugee law: 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocol; Political asylum; diplomatic asylum; extradition
Law of the Sea
Mediation, conciliation, fact-finding and arbitration in international dispute settlement
UN, Peacekeeping and Humanitarian intervention
Recognition of states and governments, de facto and de jure, non recognition and its meaning in international law; recognition of governments in exile and entities
State responsibility and jurisdiction
The International Criminal Court (ICC) and International Criminal Tribunals



This double module offers an opportunity to study diplomatic practice in considerable depth. The course aims to provide a full informational range of modern approaches to diplomatic practice and the study of the wider importance of those approaches within diplomacy is also considered.

Module contents:

The establishment of Diplomatic relations & permanent diplomatic missions: general principles& purposes; classes of heads of mission; titles of heads of mission; approval of a head of mission by the host state; credentials and presenting credentials; date of assumption of diplomatic activities; accreditation to more than one state; International organisations and accreditation; declaration of persona non grata; conduct of diplomatic relations

Organisation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Policy Organisation: assessments; foreign policy setting; characteristics and orientation; levels of interaction and aggregation; Foreign Ministry relations with its own missions and with foreign missions; Trade policies; development policies
The Diplomatic Mission: administration & co-ordination; accounts; commercial and economic sections; cultural & educational attaches; specialist attaches and armed services attaches (Military Attaches); press, media and information sections; secretarial & archives; security, technical & communications-IT, satellite, SSB-Radio; Protocol & procedure; diplomatic correspondence; negotiation; diplomatic styles;
Trade & foreign policy: international financial relations:
Environmental Diplomacy, The United Nations: purposes and principles; the UN Charter; the General Assembly; the Security Council; Economic & Social Council; The Trusteeship Council; Information, role and secretariat of:
The World Bank, UNDP, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO
Other international organisations:
NATO, WEU, European Union, Council of Europe, Nordic Council, Commonwealth, The Arab League, Asia Pacific Economic Forum (APEC),
African Union, OAU, OPEC

General issues covered:

Interaction with the press & media entertaining & offering hospitality: Invitations; seating plans; Dinners, lunches & buffets; introducing people; visiting cards; accepting hospitality & thank you; wines and spirits.

Learning Outcomes:

Administer and manage departments of the MOF and sections of diplomatic missions in meeting the standards and requirements of protocols and foreign ministry standards; demonstrate knowledge of diplomacy, diplomatic and law; understand the role of MOF departments and the procedures within the ministry of foreign affairs; appreciate conference diplomacy issues; understand the workings of the UN and other international agencies; communicate effectively in a foreign mission’s office context; perform and manage the practical aspects of  diplomatic; demonstrate an effective understanding and realism of the practical diplomatic issues including public diplomacy, social, political and economic matters.



Examination of aspects of public international law which are of relevance in the foreign relations of states; Study of the theory and fundamentals of the Consular Law of foreign relations as would be appropriate for preparation or buttressing a career in Consular Affairs within the MOF or at Embassy level; as well as a significant module for those involved in legal matters with international dimensions.

Module contents:

Brief history of Consular posts
1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations in detail breakdown & explanation of the entire Convention
Establishment of Consular posts
Consular functions: practical examples
Appointment of consular officer
Severance of consular relations
Privileges, facilities and immunities
Career consular officers & duties
Honorary consular officers and posts headed by honorary staff
Facilities, personal privileges & immunities
Visa rules: EU area; Schengen; U.S. rules & passport security features
Article 20 EC obligations on EU Member States
Human trafficking

Learning Outcomes:

Administer and manage the consular missions in meeting the standards and requirements of protocols and foreign ministry standards; demonstrate knowledge of diplomacy, diplomatic and consular law; communicate effectively in a foreign mission’s office context; perform and manage the practical aspects of  consular work; demonstrate an understanding of the historical consular issues, social, political and economic realities of consular work in a global context.





The module is designed to provide a thematic introduction to the European Diplomatic History, to broaden understanding of the European Diplomatic World from 1815 up to the end of the Cold War. The study of international relations has evolved from an essentially narrow nineteenth-century view, that concentrated on diplomatic activity and diplomatic archives into the more complex subject it is today at the beginning of the twenty-first century. There is a greater interest today in the mental world within which international relations were considered and conducted, and a stronger and more sophisticated concern with the domestic causes and consequences of foreign policy.

Module contents:

(Addresses European Diplomatic History, or, if specified by a candidate, one of the regional diplomatic history modules the Diplomatic Council, Oxford, is developing - African Diplomatic History for example).
European Diplomatic History Module contents:
Diplomatic history since the Congress of Vienna: Europe from 1815 to the present .The challenges of revolution and war; The challenge of Nationalism; The making and the challenge of Germany; The Congress of Berlin; The diplomacy of the war; Imperialism and the origins of World War I; The Peace Conference of Paris and early International law & the diplomat; The League of Nations; Issue of security; versus disarmament; The Locarno Agreements; The foreign policies of Germany and Russia; Collective Security issues; World War II & its aftermath; The diplomacy of war & diplomacy by conference; Instruments of peace; The Cold War; East-West bloc groupings 1947-1990; Post Cold War

Learning Outcomes:

the further development of study, writing and communication skills by means of individual research and essay writing; familiarity with the specific advantages and pitfalls of studying modern diplomatic history by means of primary sources as a consequence of careful analysis and assessment of the respective primary source-based readings in each individual chapter; acquisition of an understanding of the key social, political and cultural forces shaping modern European Diplomatic History; acquisition of a basic understanding of the role played by various political forces and social movements in the shaping of Western European societies by means of concentrated readings, individual research and writing for an assessed essay.


This course has been developed for those candidates who may be working in Brussels, Belgium, or an EU country, or EU desk of a ministry of foreign affairs. It aims to give a comprehensive understanding of the Brussels lobbying process. Within the module, an analysis of the main EU institutions is undertaken, their role, the EU decision-making process in detail, why diplomats lobby, the lobbying process, the regulation of lobbying and examples of lobbying practice. The EU budgetary line is explored, access to EU funding matters, ECHO, the External Affairs Directorate, the EU External Representation Offices, and the various European agencies and international Brussels-based organisations are examined including the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States Secretariat (ACP) and relevant conventions, including Cotonou.

Module Aims:

The course aims to provide Candidates with a well-balanced grounding in both the theoretical and practical study of political communication and public affairs in the EU. It will enable Candidates to develop a critical understanding and in the academic and professional bases of public affairs, and their applications within the local and wider community, through the provision of a structured curriculum which provides students with the foundation knowledge upon which they will build that detailed understanding of Lobbying the EU. In particular, this course highlights how communication operates within various political and business contexts and cultures in Brussels. It also aims to develop the ability by Candidates to undertake themselves primary research into issues of importance within political communication and EU public affairs.

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of this course, the student should:
have acquired an understanding of the central questions and current issues within both academic and professional contexts of EU political communication and EU public affairs; be able to combine theoretical and academic understanding with professional skills within strategic and applied EU context; appreciate the strategic importance of EU public affairs in the political, business and governmental worlds; understand how EU political structures operate, and how they can be influenced.

Learning and Teaching Methods that will enable the outcomes to be achieved:
Distance-learning materials and self-directed learning.  Assessment Methods that enable the outcomes to be demonstrated: Practical business-oriented projects, written essay.


This course provides a background to the study of the European Union from a legal vantage point. It is aimed at embassy personnel in legal posts, or individuals in public administration and lawyers who need a comprehensive background to the European Union and all the institutions as well as a reference legal volume on the European Union.

Module Aims:

The course aims to acquaint Candidates with the aims and functions of the EU, to acquaint students with European integration; its historical and future developments and to teach students the constitutional foundation and structure of the EU. It looks, in particular, at the function of the Treaties and the relationship between the EU and the individual 27 Member States. Candidates will also study the function, tasks, powers and duties of the Commission, the Council, Parliament and Court of Justice. The course aims to acquaint students with the nature of rights conferred by the Treaties of the European Union on the one hand and on the other hand the rights conferred by the Conventions of the Council of Europe, including the European Convention of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

Learning Outcomes:

At the end of the module, Candidates will appreciate the aim of European integration; and know and understand the constitutional basis of the EU, the function of each EU institutional body and the law making process. Candidates will know and understand the impact of EU law on national legal systems and will be familiar with the common aims and objectives of the EU and its future development in areas such as foreign policy, defence and justice and home affairs.

Syllabus Detail:

Basic principles: Historical development; main aims and objectives; expansion; constitutional structure of the EC/EU the significance of the Treaties; consequence of membership for Ireland; Constitution; European Communities Act, 1972 (and amending Acts).Sources of Community Law: Primary Sources, Secondary legislation and Amendment and Revision of the EC Treaties; Treaty articles, directives, regulations, decisions, and other sources.The European Union Institutions: Commission, Council, Court of Auditors, Court of Justice and Court of First Instance, General Principles of Law: fundamental human rights; equality of treatment and non-discrimination; legal certainty; proportionality; right to a hearing; legitimate expectation; subsidiarity. Judicial Review of EU law and its enforcement. The application of Articles, 226, 227, 230, 232, 234, 235, 241, 243 and 288.The Supremacy of EU law and its relationship with national law: the direct effect of EU law and direct applicability of EU law; Preliminary references from the Irish Courts to the European Court of Justice; the application and enforcement of EU law; Acts and Statutory instruments necessary to implement EU law including the European Communities Act 1972 and the European Communities (Amendment) Act 1973; the process of EU legislation making; State liability for non-implementation and mal-implementation of EU law. The Common and Internal Market: the rules regulating the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital.


This module takes a practical approach to international human rights with a comprehensive introduction to the broad scope of international human rights law. The practical approach offers candidates an understanding of the workings of human rights protection and presents a useful analysis of controversial issues including indigenous peoples, rights of women and children, international terrorism and crimes against the dignity of mankind. 

Module Aims:

The aim of the course is to give the Candidate a deeper knowledge and proficiency in theoretical, methodological, and empirical aspects of human rights. The course focuses on some controversies and thematic discussions within human rights, for example, the role of the UN, other international organizations and NGOs, genocide and ethnic conflicts, and issues related to equality and differences. The course also includes extended training in methods such as legal method, and human rights practice: monitoring, report writing, interviews, and case filing. The course includes essential orientation of perspectives and themes in human rights, as for example the following:

The development of regional legal systems Structure and organisation of regional human rights courts and their case law democratic values, identity of individuals and moral beliefs universal values, religions and human rights values and gender issues.

Module Outcomes:

In order to practice legal analysis and to solve legal problems with reference to human rights law, different instruments, such as conventions and treaties, will be used as working materials. Additionally, academic articles and research materials will be used and examined in order to give Candidates the possibility to critically analyse the multidisciplinary perspectives of human rights.

The experience and knowledge gained at the course will be practised by the submission of a written and comprehensive paper where the Candidate is given an opportunity to independently reflect on the multiple range of human rights methods and theories of the schools of law, political science and humanism.


This module provides an introduction to the concepts, principles, institutions and debates that define public international law today.  This reflects both on the relations between states and the relationship between individuals, international organisations and states. The module will examine current international events and the theoretical bases of international law. It is particularly suited to those involved with, or who are hoping to work for, international organisations, non-governmental organisations, international law firms and foreign affairs departments.

Module Aims:

This module will give Candidates an insight into International Law - particularly its basic structures and foundations. This insight is provided against a general background of contemporary international affairs.

Learning Outcomes:

Candidates will gain the ability to understand the relevant norms of International Law including customary norms, general principles, treaties, judicial decisions and writings. Gain familiarity with the current state of the law and international affairs, and generally, the capacity to identify and analyse critically the key issues in Public International Law.


This course will examine the principle features of Chinese law in contemporary China. The module explores the manner in which the law regulates the resultant growth of trade activity in modern China, studying both general principles and substantive areas of law. General topics covered:
*  The general principles of trade law,
*  The law relating to foreign trade and investment,
*  Law governing financial and commodity markets.

Module Aims:

The course aims at, getting Candidates to know basic theories and related knowledge of modern Chinese law, trading to China as well as Chinese economy, knowing the development of economic trade rules and conventions, familiar with foreign trade policies and laws of China.

Learning Outcomes:

At the end of the course, the Candidates should be able to understand should be able to demonstrate a sound understanding of the evolution of Chinese law in the context of its history. Show knowledge of specific areas of Chinese law.

(optional module)

This module provides a comprehensive analysis on Trade and Special Economic Zones programmes in Sub-Saharan Africa (SEZ). Focusing on case studies conducted in Sub-Saharan Africa,  this module provides quantitative evidence of the performance of SEZs, and of the factors which contribute to that performance, highlighting the critical importance not just of the SEZ itself but of the wider national investment climate in which it functions. It also provides a comprehensive guide to the key policy questions that confront governments establishing SEZ programs, including: if and when to launch an SEZ program, what form of SEZ is most appropriate, and how to go about implementing it.

Module Aims:
The module is aimed at individuals who presently work, or who hope to work, in both the public and private sectors and who wish to increase their understanding of the international environment in which they operate.

Learning Outcomes:
Upon completion of this module, Candidates should have a sound understanding of theories of SEZs. It includes standard trade theory as well as new. The key objective is to equip Candidates with the skills and knowledge to critically assess both older and more recent theories of SEZs. Given that the focus of the course is on SEZs in Africa, it also aims to enable Candidates to evaluate the relevance of theoretical, empirical and policy-related material on international trade for developing countries.

(available in 2010)

This gender course explores the development of feminism, and examines various aspects and linkages from gender including Gender and Development, Gender, Peace and Security, Gender Violence (direct, structural, and cultural), and creative ways of transforming gendered conflicts; Gender and Human rights will also be explored and other topics will include gender issues relating to economic development, education, management, legal reforms, media, gender stereotypes, and the role of individuals and organisations in eliminating gender discrimination..  Secondly, Gender and Political Participation: Leadership, will be studied. and the role of agencies including the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women (UNDAW); United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and relevant programmes including UN-INSTRAW.

Module Aims:

The distance-learning course will help participants to apply a gender sensitive approach in planning and implementing policies.

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of the course the participants should be able to: - Describe basic gender theories and practices - Transform gender conflicts without violence - Develop better strategies to overcome gender discrimination.

(optional module)

The Module aims to provide:

A preparation for writing dissertations and extended essays:
An understanding of research philosophy and principles; basis from which Candidates can appreciate the range of research strategies; access to a wider research community; an appreciation of the ethical and value dimensions of the research process.

Indicative Content:

The nature of research and research problems; different methods, different philosophies – ontological and epistemological assumptions; values and objectivity – ethical considerations in the research process; method choice; experimental method; some mathematical modelling; survey logic and statistical methods; observational methods; reflective practice; abstraction and creativity; historical research; research outputs

Learning Outcomes:
By the end of the Module Candidates will be able to:
Identify an appropriate topic within international affairs and diplomacy for investigation; indicate the appropriate methods of investigation; justify their investigative strategies on theoretical grounds; understand the theoretical bases of other research strategies; articulate the appropriate ethical and value stances adopted in their research; articulate the above in the form of a learning contract and research proposal