Introduction to British Diplomacy Course - Foreign & Commonwealth Office


Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description


Gain a deeper insight into the work of the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office and its diverse global workforce.

Explore British diplomacy at home and abroad

Designed and developed by the Diplomatic Academy of the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), you’ll explore the inner workings of the FCO and learn how the UK diplomatic system works at home and abroad. You’ll discover how a wide range of government departments work internationally with the FCO and learn about the function of Embassies and High Commissions.

As you get an introduction to the legal and historical frameworks of diplomacy, you’ll develop your understanding of the UK’s work abroad.

You’ll also learn more about the FCO’s staff support processes and development opportunities.

What topics will you cover?

  • How the FCO works: inside King Charles Street (headquarters) and cross-Whitehall coordination.
  • How the UK overseas network functions: the role of Embassies and High Commissions.
  • Diplomacy Demystified: the legal framework for diplomacy, theoretical approaches and what diplomats actually do (e.g. reporting, negotiating and representing).
  • How the FCO supports its staff through associations and networks (e.g. BAME and FCO Women) and development opportunities: including honest accounts of what works and what doesn’t.

When would you like to start?

Most FutureLearn courses run multiple times. Every run of a course has a set start date but you can join it and work through it after it starts.

  • Date to be announced

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to:

  • Identify the main characteristics of the UK’s diplomatic network including the role of Directorates and the importance of cross-Whitehall coordination.
  • Assess the varied role of Embassies, High Commissions and other Posts in promoting UK interests abroad including consular and political work.
  • Explore the legal and historical framework of diplomacy and what diplomats actually do.
  • Discuss how the FCO supports its employees and encourages diversity including through the important role of staff associations.

Who is the course for?

This course has been designed as an introduction to the UK’s diplomatic network for any job applicants (the UK or overseas), for new starters at any level, and for the existing UK government employees moving into international roles or going on an overseas posting for the first time.

However, this course will be suitable for anyone interested in the inner workings of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Who will you learn with?

Serwah Adusei

I work in the London team of the Diplomatic Academy, leading to online learning and communication projects.

Jonelle Dougan

I'm a Regional Learning & Development Adviser with the Diplomatic Academy and I support our Embassies, Consulates and High Commissions in the Americas.

Nicola Hebb

I work in the FCO's Diplomatic Academy in London on the International Capability programme - which aims to increase international expertise across the whole of the UK government.

Who developed the course?

Foreign & Commonwealth Office

The FCO promotes the United Kingdom’s interests overseas, supporting our citizens and businesses around the globe.

Diplomatic Academy

Ensuring we all have the knowledge and expertise we need to represent the UK and pursue the national interest.

Join this course



Unlimited (New!)
$259.99 for one year

Join free and you will get:

  • Access to this course for 4 weeks

Upgrade this course and you will get:

  • Access to this course for as long as it’s on FutureLearn
  • Access to this course’s tests as well as a print and digital Certificate of Achievement once you’re eligible

Buy Unlimited and you will get:

  • Access to this course, and hundreds of other FutureLearn short courses and tests for a year
  • A printable digital Certificate of Achievement on all short courses once you’re eligible
  • The freedom to keep access to any course you've achieved a digital Certificate of Achievement on, for as long as the course exists on FutureLearn
  • The flexibility to complete your choice of short courses in your own time within the year
Last updated Oct 2020

About the School

Learn 100% online with world-class universities and industry experts. Develop your career, learn a new skill, or pursue your hobbies with flexible online courses.

Learn 100% online with world-class universities and industry experts. Develop your career, learn a new skill, or pursue your hobbies with flexible online courses. Read less
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