• Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office
  • International Academy

Introduction to British Diplomacy

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

5,635 enrolled on this course

Diplomatic Academy Staircase
  • Duration

    2 weeks
  • Weekly study

    2 hours

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.

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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

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

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 (UK or overseas), for new starters at any level, and for 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?

I am a Capability Officer in the Department for International Trade. I work on delivering an investment-specific L&D programme. I have also previously held HR/L&D roles in the Cabinet Office and FCO.

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

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.

I'm a Senior Learning and Development Designer for the Diplomatic Academy, leading on learning and digital design.

Who developed the course?

Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office

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

International Academy

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

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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