Diplomatic Service

A career in the Diplomatic Service will take you and your ideas around the world to deal with issues that matter everywhere.

From tackling international terrorism to promoting a low carbon economy, from managing migration to dealing with consular crises: the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) gives you an international perspective that’s second to none and offers you the opportunity to promote and protect the UK’s interests across our global network of 261 embassies and diplomatic posts.

Last updated - 2nd October 2009

Your first two years will be in London in the FCO’s main buildings on Whitehall, SW1. You’ll spend one year delivering policy; for example managing the UK’s relationships with other countries, dealing with security and defence issues or working to improve human rights abroad. You’ll spend another year delivering services; for example working in our consular department providing assistance to British citizens who are forced into marriage overseas, or working on promoting inward investment into the UK.

You’ll then go abroad to work in one of our 200+ embassies, high commissions or consulates for a three or four-year posting. Overseas postings offer you the chance to get to know a country, its people and culture in depth. You’ll be delivering real-world results on the issues that matter most to the United Kingdom 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. You won't need any specific language skills to join, although they'll certainly be an advantage in your career. Where an overseas position requires language skills you’ll receive intensive tuition to get you up to the right level. So if you need to speak fluent Russian for a press and public affairs role in the British Embassy, Moscow we’ll make sure that the full-time language training is in place for you.

Diplomatic Fast Stream for Economists
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.

Special Requirements

To join the FCO you must be a British citizen. You must have been resident in the UK for at least two of the previous 10 years immediately prior to your application, at least one year of which must have been a consecutive twelve month period unless you have served overseas with HM Forces or in some other official capacity as a representative of Her Majesty’s Government, or have lived overseas as a result of your parents’ or partner’s Government employment. All applicants should be aware that a lack of sufficient background information may preclude an applicant from being granted security clearance. If you hold dual nationality (i.e. you are a British citizen and are also a national of another country) this should not preclude you from joining but please email faststream@parity.net.

If you wish to be considered for the Diplomatic Service Fast Stream you must select it as your first preference.