Diplomats are representatives of their countries in other countries to which they are accredited. They note and interpret objectively the political, military, social and economic developments in foreign countries to obtain information in the interests of the government of their own country.

They promote exports to the country where they are stationed, and disseminate information about commercial, economic and industrial conditions and opportunities that exist in their own country.

Diplomats may issue passports to fellow countrymen travelling abroad, grant visas to foreigners who wish to visit their country or issue entry permits to immigrants who wish to settle there. They strive to build up contacts with foreign states to ensure a constant exchange of views and the establishment of mutual trust, and negotiate agreements with other countries.

Personal Requirements

  • at least 26 years old
  • tact, discretion and self-control
  • able to communicate well in speech and in writing
  • adaptability, self-discipline and dedication
  • pleasant personality and sociable
  • intelligence and vision
  • good powers of observation and interpretation
  • able to learn foreign languages easily

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course

Each institution has its own entry requirements.


What to Study

Degree: BA with major in Political Science - US, UZ, UFS, UP, UNISA, UWC, NWU, Wits, NMMU, UKZN or International Politics - RU, UNISA.

The Department of Foreign Affairs also has its own training centre in Pretoria.


Department of International Relations and Cooperation

Further Information

Department of International Relations and Cooperation
120 Plein Street
Parliamentary Precinct
Cape Town 
Tel: (012) 351-1000

Getting Started

  • get as much experience as possible working with people and speaking in public
  • develop your communication skills and obtain a broad educational background
  • make an appointment to speak to a diplomat about this type of career

Programmes by Study Institutions


A PACE Career Centre Product. © All rights reserved | Developed by Netgen (Pty) Ltd. Disclaimer: Please see disclaimer