A career in the Diplomatic Service can offer you an unrivalled international perspective and the opportunity to promote and protect the UK’s interests around the globe. It’s a chance to be involved in everything from tackling international terrorism to promoting a low-carbon economy, from managing migration to dealing with consular crises.
Your first two years will be spent in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s main buildings in Whitehall. You’ll normally spend one year delivering policy (for example, dealing with security and defence issues or working to improve human rights abroad) and the other year delivering services (for example, providing assistance to British citizens who are forced into marriage overseas) or in a corporate role (for example, working on recruitment into the FCO). There is also the option to spend your second year studying a hard language such as Mandarin or Arabic.
You’ll then go abroad for a three or four year posting, working in one of our 200+ embassies, high commissions or consulates. Overseas postings offer you the chance to get to know a country, its people and culture in depth, and you’ll be delivering real results on the issues that matter most to the UK in that part of the world.
But whether those issues are climate change in Brasilia or counter-terrorism in Islamabad, your ability to build productive relationships and to communicate effectively with a wide range of individuals will be the key to success.
What are we looking for?
You must be a British citizen to join the Diplomatic Service. (Candidates with dual nationality may apply, provided one of those nationalities is British.) You must also have been resident in the UK for specific periods of time over the last 10 years. Find out more about our nationality requirements.
No specific language skills are necessary (although they would be an advantage in your career). If any of your overseas positions ever requires language skills, you’ll receive intensive tuition to get you up to the right level.
When you apply, you must select the Diplomatic Service as your first preference or you will not be considered.
Diplomatic Fast Stream for Economists
To join the Diplomatic Service as an Economist, you should apply through the Analytical Fast Stream. In addition to the nationality requirements above, to join the Diplomatic Service as an Economist you must have, or expect to gain, a 2:1 degree or postgraduate degree in economics. Joint or mixed degrees are acceptable, provided that 50% of the course modules are in economics.