ABOUT ISPD

What is the ISPD?

The International School of Protocol & Diplomacy is Europe’s leading academic institution solely dedicated to studies in the fields of Protocol and Soft Diplomacy. We combine the fields of protocol, diplomacy and cross cultural relations in order to bring students and participants a unique range of study programmes designed and developed by academics from a multicultural perspective.

ISPD is an organisation born out of the need for an academic institution that prepares and certifies professionals in the field of international procedures and relations.

What is Protocol?

The term “Protocol” comes from the Greek and means “the first glue”. Nowadays, protocol is said to be the glue which holds official life in society together and, jointly with etiquette, assures that relations between people and countries are conducted with minimum friction, harmoniously and efficiently.

What is Soft Diplomacy?

Soft diplomacy resides in the ability to influence others to obtain specific outcomes or to find common solutions to a challenge. The use of soft diplomacy instruments shifts attitude from coercion to a non-confrontational action. Its roots and resources rely on policies, culture and values. Soft diplomacy tools include public diplomacy, negotiation techniques, cultural understanding and cross-cultural communication proficiency, intelligent use of public relations and media relations competence.

Where is the ISPD located?

BDB House – ISPD Headquarters are located right in the heart of the European Quarter on Rue de Pascale 16, 1040 in Brussels. A five-minute walk will take you either to the European Parliament, the European Commission or Place Luxembourg, a great place to eat, drink, socialise and do business.

What can I study at the ISPD?

At the ISPD we run several types of programmes:

– Master’s Degree in Protocol and Soft Diplomacy Skills – a one-year programme

– Postgraduate Certificate in Protocol  – a one-year programme

– Executive Diploma Programmes – programmes that can be taken in 3 months or in one intensive week.

– Intensive courses – programmes of 3 or 4 intensive days

– Short courses – each of our lectures can be taken as a stand-alone, 3-hour course

– Custom courses – on request, according to the needs and requirements of organisations

Are all your programmes run in English?

Our regular courses are all taught in English. However, our tailor-made group courses that are organized on request can be run as well in French, Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese.

Do i need to have a specific level of English language to study the ISPD?

Our students should have an advanced level of English – they should be able to actively follow the lectures in English, to pass their exams and deliver assignments in this language.

Moreover, our MA and PG students should be able to produce a quality dissertation of min. 20 000 words in English, therefore, we advise the prospective students to objectively evaluate their language skills before applying for our programmes.

What is the profile of your average student?

It is really difficult to categorise our students since they represent a variety of nationalities, professional backgrounds and age. However, the majority works in embassies, ministries, European Union’s institutions or international organisations. Our students work as well in the private sector, where skills of protocol and soft diplomacy are being used on a daily basis.

ADMISSIONS

How can I contact the Admissions Office if I have any questions?

You can contact anytime our Front Office by telephone: 0032 (0)2 830 1222 or by e-mail: frontoffice@ispdnetwork.org

How do I apply for admission?

If you wish to apply for your Master’s Degree or Postgraduate Certificate programmes, you are required to send us the following documentation:

– Completed application for admission that you can find on our website

– Motivation letter;

– Certified copy of your Bachelor’s degree in English;

– Letter of recommendation;

– Current CV;

– Certified proof of working experience, minimum 5 years, in the absence of a degree.

– A copy of your ID Card or Passport

If you wish to apply for our Executive Diploma programme, intensive courses or stand-alone lectures, you are required to send us the following documentation:

– Completed application for admission that you can request from our Front Office

– Your current CV

– A copy of your ID Card or Passport

What should I write in the Motivation Letter?

In the Motivation Letter we expect you to explain why you would like to follow our MA/PG Programme and why you think that you are the right candidate for our Programme.

What kind of document can I provide to prove my working experience?

To prove your working experience, you are required to provide the ISPD with a certified letter from your former/current employer(s) that would state that you worked an x number of years on the position of … and where your main responsibilities and the projects that you had been involved in would be enumerated. Please be informed that the minimum of 5 years of working experience is required.

I have neither obtained my Bachelor’s Degree yet, nor have 5 years of working experience in protocol, diplomacy or events organization. What should I do?

If you do not fulfil the MA / PG requirements yet, you can always apply for our Executive Diploma programmes that are transferrable to the MA/PG degrees. You can therefore take one, two or three modules as Executive Diploma programmes and they will be transferred to your future MA/PG programme. In the meantime, you can gain the required experience or finish a required degree.

However, please keep in mind that our students have a period of 5 years since the completion of the first Executive Diploma programme to transfer its content to the MA/PG programme. After this period, the transfer will not be possible.

When does the next admission period start?

The Admission period for the MA and PG Programmes for the upcoming Academic Year 2013/2014 is already open. However, you can contact our Front Office any time during the year in case of any questions or doubts.bThe admissions for other courses are open during the whole year.

FINANCIAL MATTERS

Can I pay for your programmes in instalments?

The instalment plan is available EXCLUSIVELY for our MA and PG students. The instalment plan is the following:
–  in case of the MA programme:
Fees: 8835 EUR plus 70 EUR registration fee
Instalments option: 3 x 2945 EUR plus 50 EUR fee per instalment
Instalment dates:
1st Before 13 October
2nd Before 30 January
3rd Before 30 April
–  in case of the PG programme:
Fees: 5640 EUR plus 70 EUR registration fee
Instalments option: 3 x 1880 EUR plus 50 EUR fee per instalment
Instalment dates:
1st Before 13 October
2nd Before 30 January
3rd Before 30 April

Please note that the fees for our courses are subject to 21% VAT (check with our Front Office about the VAT Exemption).

What is your cancellation policy?

Please contact our Front Office to find out about our cancellation policy.

What method of payment do you accept?

We only accept payments via bank transfer. Once your application file is complete, you will be issued with an invoice containing our bank details by our Financial Department.

ISPD PROGRAMMES

I found on your website that your Master’s Degree Programme is terminal. What does it mean?

A terminal master’s degree is the most advanced degree necessary in a field, a launch for a successful professional career. When a master’s degree is terminal, you do not have to move on to a doctoral programme in order to have a career within the field. Terminal degrees are usually found in professional field, or academic areas, where research is not the priority.

Are your degrees recognized in Belgium / within the EU / worldwide?

In the last years we have partnered with the University Camilo Jose Cela in Madrid. After the completion of the programme in Brussels, our students receive a diploma from our institution and also from the University Camilo Jose Cela, whose programmes are recognized by the Spanish Ministry of Education, therefore they are recognized worldwide as well.

How many ECTS points is the MA/PG worth?

Our MA and PG Programmes are executive, non-Bologna programmes. Therefore, we do not use the system of ECTS points.

Why does your MA programme last only one year while many others are 2 years long?

Our MA Programme is an executive, non-Bologna programme. Since the majority of our students are already working professionals, the programme lasts one year and the lectures take place on Friday’s evenings and Saturdays. This is a typical schedule for executive degree programmes.

What is the difference between the MA and PG Programme?

The main difference between the two programmes, apart from the title awarded after their completion, is their content. The MA Programme is composed of 3 modules of lectures: Protocol Basics, Protocol Applied and Soft Diplomacy Skills, whereas our PG Programme’s content is limited to two modules: Protocol Basics and Protocol Applied.

Can I continue with the PHD studies after finishing your MA degree?

Since our Master’s Degree is an executive, terminal Master, it is the most advanced degree necessary in a field, a launch for a successful professional career. When a master’s degree is terminal, you do not have to move on to a doctoral programme in order to have a career within the field. Terminal degrees are usually found in professional field, or academic areas, where research is not the priority.

Can I pursue an internship instead of writing my MA/PG Dissertation?

All of our MA/PG students are required to produce a dissertation. It is not possible to pursue an internship as an alternative.

Does the ISPD provide internships as a part of the academic curriculum?

At the moment, the curricular internships are not included in our programmes.

What kinds of assessment activities do you use?

At the end of each module of lectures, our students are required to attempt an exam and deliver a written assignment. Three-hour recap sessions will be held prior to evaluation at the end of each module.
Moreover, at the end of the programme students are required to deliver their final MA / PG dissertation that they write during the academic year coordinated by one of the ISPD teachers.

How long should the MA/PG dissertation be?

The text of the dissertation may not be less than 20000 words and may not exceed 25000 words, excluding appendices and references.

What are the extra-curricular activities and are they obligatory?

The extra-curricular activities are visits to different institutions, study tours, workshops or lectures of guest speakers that take place every Saturday. They are usually related to the Friday’s lectures. The extra-curricular activities are obligatory for our MA and PG students.

What are the different study modes of your MA / PG Degree?

At the ISPD, we offer three different modes of following our Master’s and Postgraduate Degrees:
Full Time mode: classes take place on a regular basis on our premises in Brussels on Friday evenings and Saturdays
Intensive mode: each module can be studied in a format of a 4-day intensive week (corresponding to 24h of lectures)
Each of our 3 modules can be taken as one intensive week programme. This one week programme corresponds to all of the Friday’s lectures of our full-time MA/PG students. Intensive students may therefore follow the whole MA/PG programme in 3 intensive weeks throughout the year.
Unfortunately, the intensive students will miss the content of our Saturday extra-curricular activities. Therefore, as compensation, they are invited, at no cost, to the Train the Officer seminar that takes place during three days in February.
Please be informed that students may opt for a blended mode, e.g. they can follow 2 modules online and 1 in intensive mode, or 1 module full-time and 2 online. We are flexible when it comes to the choice of modes; we just need to be informed in advance about the schedule of our students.
Online mode: the online students receive access to our e-learning platform where they can watch videos recorded in the classroom. Moreover, additional materials, forum of discussions, exercises, videos and tutorials are available for online students. The lectures are published on a weekly basis and the length of the course is the same as of our full-time students.

I read on your website that you have partnered with the Camilo Jose Cela University. Which institution will issue my MA / PG Diploma?

After the completion of our programmes in Brussels, students will be awarded with a diploma from our institution as well as with a diploma from Camilo Jose Cela University.

What is the length of the Executive Diploma Programme?

The programme can be followed either full-time (on a weekly basis on our premises in Brussels) or online (on a weekly basis on our e-learning platform) and both last three months.
If a student opts for the intensive mode, the lectures take place on our Brussels’ premises during one intensive week of 4 days.
After completion of the course, either full-time, online or intensive, students are required to attempt an exam and deliver an assignment.

I read that the Executive Diploma programmes are transferrable to your MA / PG courses. Could you please explain how does it work?

When a student completes one of our Executive Diploma programmes, he/she is entitled to transfer the content of this course to his/her future MA/PG Programme. As a consequence, this student will not have to repeat the same module for the second time and the price of the MA/PG Programme will be decreased by the price of the Executive Diploma programme.
Students have a period of 5 years since the completion of the first Executive Diploma programme to transfer its content to the MA/PG programme. After this period, the transfer will not be possible.

ACCOMODATION

Do you provide your students with accommodation? Do you help your students with finding an accommodation?

We do not provide our students with accommodation in Brussels. However, we have partnered with a number of hotels in Brussels, so please contact our Front Office (frontoffice@ispdnetwork.org) and request our partnerships brochure.