Programme Details

Master of Arts in Global Affairs and Diplomatic Leadership Programme


The MA in Global Affairs and Diplomatic Leadership Programme(MAGAD), formerly known as the MA in Diplomacy and International Relations, was launched in October 2017 as an accredited programme that aims to equip students with greater knowledge of global and regional issues and with an advanced grasp of important diplomatic skills.

The MA is a 30-credit programme where students acquire the ability to think critically about important political and economic trends while gaining first-hand training in advanced negotiations and mediation, public diplomacy, leadership and crisis management in the field of diplomacy.

The MAGAD programme was initially accredited by the Commission for Academic Accreditation (CAA) in August 2017. It was re-accredited in June 2021 and will renew its accreditation in June 2026. 

The MAGAD programme is a full-time commitment comprising 30 credits, designed to be completed within one year.

Students enrolled in the MAGAD programme are required to attend evening classes throughout the week (Monday - Thursday), from 5:00pm until 8:00pm on the AGDA campus.

All students in the MAGAD programme are mandated to complete 4 core courses (totaling 12 credits), 4 elective courses (totaling 12 credits), and a Master’s Thesis (totaling 6 credits). Work on the MA thesis commences throughout the academic year with a defense date scheduled in September of the following academic year.

The study plan is summarised below:

Core Requirements Compulsory412
Elective RequirementsCompulsory412
Total 930


AGDA alumni who successfully completed the Post-Graduate Diploma (PGD) programme in UAE Diplomacy and International Relations can enroll in MAGAD. They are required to complete 12 credits worth of course work, which include 6 credits of course work and 6 credits for the MA thesis.

Alumni can expect to complete the programme in one academic year by taking one course per semester and defending their thesis in either June or September.

The MAGAD programme balances between core courses, electives and the MA thesis. Core courses are required courses for all MAGAD students, whereas students can choose the elective courses that they wish to enroll in. The MA Thesis is also required of all MA students. The courses are:

Core Courses – Total: 12 credits

  • Contemporary Global Affairs (3 credits)
  • International Economics (3 credits)
  • Public Diplomacy, Leadership and Crisis Management (3 credits)
  • International Negotiation and Mediation: Strategy and Methods (3 credits)

Elective Courses – Total 12 credits

Students take 4 courses from the following options:

  • Special Topics in Regional Studies – which could include the following courses:
    • African Political Systems
    • Trends in Gulf-Asia-Africa Foreign Relations
    • China and the Middle East
    • Trends in European – Middle Eastern Foreign and Security Policies
  • Special Topics in Thematic Issues – which could include the following courses:
    • Science Diplomacy
    • Comparative Politics
    • The Geopolitics of Food Security
    • Countering Global Terrorism and Extremism
    • Humanitarian Crises and Refugees

MA Thesis – Total: 6 credits:

The MA Thesis starts in the Fall semester with a defence date set for either June or September of the following academic year.

Candidates who wish to enroll in the MAGAD programme can apply online through the AGDA admissions portal. The deadline to apply is May 15, 2024.

For the 2024 – 2025 academic year, admissions criteria include the following:

  • Being a UAE national
  • Having graduated with a Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) with a minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Have a minimum score of 79 on the Internet-based TOEFL (IBT) or a minimum score of 213 on Computer Based TOEFL (CBT) or a minimum score of 550 pm Paper Based TOEFL or a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 or minimum EmSAT of 1550 or will take the exam soon.

Completed applications are forwarded to AGDA’s admissions committee, which is responsible for reviewing and evaluating applications.

Candidates will be notified of their acceptance into the programme by end of May 2024.

  • Admission opened in April 15, 2024
  • Deadline to apply was May 15, 2024

Programme Learning Outcomes (PLOs)

The PLOs for the MA programme include:

  • PLO1

    • Global and Thematic Knowledge: Upon the successful completion of the programme, students will acquire a strong and advanced understanding of current and historical policies, events and practices happening in a region of the world that is central to the national interests of the UAE. They will also be able to understand and use the conceptual tools in comparative politics and will be able to critically evaluate and analyse regional issues related to the study of international relations and foreign policy. Students will also acquire an advanced understanding in a field of study of their choice, in security, development, international organisations, cultural diplomacy and/or economics and trade.

  • PLO2

    • Research and Critical Thinking: Upon the successful completion of the programme, students will demonstrate a strong capacity to successfully conduct individual research projects. Students will use advanced research tools, while investigating complex issues related to diplomacy, foreign policy and international relations, by critically examining a range of sources to produce substantive and analytical research papers and theses.

  • PLO3

    • Diplomatic Leadership Skills: Upon successful completion of the programme, students will be able to demonstrate leadership, managerial and strategic skills, while carrying out their work, and will proudly carry out the mission of UAE foreign policy and diplomacy, during their tenure at the AGDA and beyond, in an ethical, responsible, sensible and tactful manner.

The MAGAD programme coordinator is Dr. Muhamad Olimat

The list of academic faculty who teach in the MAGAD program can be found here

The list of research faculty who teach in the MAGAD program can be found here

  Graduation Rate Retention Rate Dropout Rate
2022-2023 68% 94% 6%
2023-2024 TBD 77% 23%

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