MSc Politics

Academic Year 2020/2021

Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 90)

T‌he MSc Politics degree, which was developed for those who wish to understand the role of politics in shaping the great issues of our day including power and conflict, distribution and inequality, relations between nations, and the new challenges of globalisation, financial crisis, national security, and climate change.

  • The course focuses on the two traditional pillars of the discipline – political theory and comparative politics.
  • Comparative politics looks at the European nation-states in a comparative perspective.
  • Political theory— the reflection on the nature and morality of politics.

Careers & Employability

Graduates work with a wide variety of international private-sector employers, government agencies and Non-Governmental Organisations, in roles that include:

  • Government Social Researcher
  • Diplomatic Advisor
  • Public Affairs Consultant
  • Public Relations Officer
  • Political Advisor

Recent graduates of UCD School of Politics & International Relations now work in:

  • United Nations, New York and Geneva
  • World Trade Organisation
  • IMF
  • OSCE
  • Asia Development Bank
  • Saatchi & Saatchi
  • Credit Suisse First Boston

Curricular information is subject to change

Full Time option suitable for:

Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. Yes

Part Time option suitable for:

Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. No

The vision of this programme is to transform students into specialists in the field of politics at the levels of both theory and practice and to allow them participate effectively in both theoretical and practical debates in that field

    • develop methodological research expertise
    • develop student's research and professional development skills
    • develop students' presentational skills
    • develop understanding of the importance of interests and influence
    • enhance group work skills
    • enhance students' problem solving power
    • equip students with the skills necessary to understand and critically assess issues in politics and international relations

    View All Modules Here

    The MSc Politics is a 90-credit programme. Full time students must take three 10-credit modules in the autumn trimester, and three 10-credit modules in the spring trimester. Students must also submit a thesis worth 30 credits that will be written during the summer trimester.

    Current Core and Option Modules for MSc Politics (credits in parentheses) 

    Please note that this is subject to change year on year


    Autumn Trimester

    Spring Trimester

    Core Modules

    POL40950 Introduction to Statistics (10)

    POL40540 Comparative European Politics (10)

    POL41640 Qualitative Research Methods for Politics (10)

    POL42000 Political Theory and the EU (10)


    Option Modules

    GS40050  Gender War and Violence  (10)

    LAW41310  Asylum and Refugee Law  (10)

    POL40050  Theories of Internat.Relations  (10)

    POL40130  Development and Global Justice  (10)

    POL40140  International Political Theory  (10)

    POL40320  Africa:Crisis & Opportunity?  (10)

    POL40820  Governing the Global Economy  (10)

    POL40970  Politics European Governance  (10)

    POL41020  Politics of Human Rights  (10)

    POL41510  Middle East & North Africa  (10)

    POL41650  Global Political Econ ofEurope  (10)

    POL41910  Political Violence  (10)

    POL41930  Psychology of Conflict in MENA  (10)

    POL42040  Gender & the Political System  (10)

    POL42080  Global Classroom  (10)

    POL42340  Programming for Soc Scientists  (10)

    POL40100  Politics of Development  (10)

    POL40160  Comparative Public Policy  (10)

    POL40370  International Political Econom  (10)

    POL40610  EU Foreign and Security Policy  (10)

    POL41030  Theory of Human Rights  (10)

    POL41720  Gender, Peace, and Security  (10)

    POL41780  The Politics of Inequality  (10)

    POL41860  Governance, Pol, Dev 10cr  (10)

    POL41920  Pol. Behavior in Middle East  (10)

    POL41980  Peace & Conflict Studies  (10)

    POL42050  Quantitative Text Analysis  (10)

    POL42060  International Security  (10)

    POL42070  Politics of (mis-)information  (10)

    POL42350  Connected_Politics  (10)

    SOC40620  Nationalism and Social Change  (10)




    Summer Trimester

    POL42310 Thesis (30) 



    MSc Politics (W233) Full Time
    EU          fee per year - € 8525
    nonEU    fee per year - € 19900

    MSc Politics (W234) Part Time
    EU          fee per year - € 5600
    nonEU    fee per year - € 9950

    ***Fees are subject to change

    Tuition fee information is available on the UCD Fees website. Please note that UCD offers a number of graduate scholarships for full-time, self-funding international students, holding an offer of a place on a UCD graduate degree programme. For further information please see International Scholarships.

    SPIRe operates a Graduate Scholarship programme. To access details, see SPIRe Graduate Scholarship Scheme.

    • A primary degree with at least Second Class Honours Grade 1 (2H1) in a relevant subject such as political science, international relations, social science, sociology, history, geography, economics, global studies, public policy, development studies, EU studies, law. 2H1 is equivalent to 60 per cent, B minus or 3.08 GPA - in American system: B or 3.00 GPA.

    • Your application will be considered on its individual merits and relevant professional experience will also be taken into account.
    • English language requirements: applicants whose first language is not English should have met TOEFL, IELTs, or computer-based TOEFL requirements (600, 6.5, or 250 respectively), or the Cambridge English Test (Certificate in Advanced English at a minimum of Grade B, or Certificate of Proficiency in English at Grade C). Applicants who obtained a previous degree from an English-speaking university may be exempted from this requirement. Click here for further info. 
    • Students meeting the programme’s academic entry requirements but not the  English language requirements, may enter the programme upon  successful completion of UCD’s Pre-Sessional or International Pre-Master’s Pathway programmes. Please see the following link for further information 
    • These are the minimum entry requirements – additional criteria may be requested for some programmes

    The following entry routes are available:

    MSc Politics FT (W233)
    1 Years
    Full Time
    Rolling *
    MSc Politics PT (W234)
    2 Years
    Part Time
    Rolling *

    * Courses will remain open until such time as all places have been filled, therefore early application is advised

    Q1.  As a full-time student, how many lectures am I supposed to attend each week?

    A1. The structure of full time and part-time programmes is the same, the timetable also. Both FT and PT programmes are 90 credits. Modules normally run from Monday to Friday between(09:00 – 18:00).

    Your timetable would depend on your module choices.

    Full-time programmes:

    Autumn Trimester – 3 full 10 credit modules = 6 hours per week for a duration of 12 weeks.

    Spring Trimester – 3 full 10 credit modules = 6 hours per week for a duration of 12 weeks.

    Summer Trimester - Thesis 30 credit module

    Part-time programmes:

    Part-time students take a total of 90 credits also but over the two-year duration of the part-time course. It is advisable for part-time students to take core modules in their first year, with the exception of Research Design. Module choice is more flexible for part-time students.

    Part-time students take the Thesis 30 credit module in their 2nd year of study

    Q2.  How is a module run?

    A2.  Our modules are delivered in two-hour lecture sessions every week for 12 weeks. The majority of lectures take place between 09:00 and 18:00, Monday-Friday.

    One or two modules (trimester I and II) may be run from 18:00 - 20:00 depending on the current academic year timetable.

    Q3.  How is the part-time course run?

    A3.  A part-time student will spread the workload over two years. See Q1.

    Q4.  Are there any modules offered in the evenings or at weekends?

    A4.  We have no plans to offer modules on weekends, however, we may offer a few modules from 18:00 - 20:00 every semester. We do not currently run any weekend or evening masters programmes.

    Q5.  Can an MA/MSc be studied online?

    A5. Currently, you cannot study any of our Master’s degrees online and must be present in-person in Dublin to attend class. The exception to this is the MSc Sustainable Development, which is online only.

    Q6.  What are the differences between an MA and MSc degree?

    A6. Some courses have the option of either an MA or MSc version of the same programme

    Students opting for the MSc variation of the programme will, in addition, take core modules in research methods and statistics. This will provide a solid understanding of doing research and critically evaluating claims made by academics and other researchers. Those considering further study at PhD level or a career in research, policy analysis or journalism should certainly consider the MSc variant.

    The MA track is broader and allows you to choose to complete a dissertation or apply for an internship to develop your professional skills in the field.

    There are exceptions to this, so take a close look at your chosen programme structure and the core/optional modules offered.

    Q7.  Is the timetable available?

    A7.  Yes, please see here for the current timetables for all MA/MSc/MEconSc and Grad Dip programmes.

    Q8.  Are there any Scholarships?

    A8.  Yes there is the SPIRe Masters Scholarship, This page is updated regularly for information on how to apply and when applications open.

    Q9.  Is there any further information for International Students?

    A9. There is a lot of information available for international students on the UCD Global site:

    If you are an international student and are seeking further information, you should get in touch with your Global Centre.  The Global Centre is determined by the origin of the student.

    If you have already applied, please quote your Application Number when you do. Here is a list of our UCD Global Centres and their contact information:

    Asia Pacific: 

    Middle East & North Africa: 


    Latin America: 

    North America: 

    South Asia:

    ROW & Africa:

  can also be used for more general queries related to registration, accommodation etc.

    Q10.  Do I have to pay the application fee?

    A10.  Yes. The application fee must be paid before the UCD Application System will allow us to review it.

    Q11.  What is an academic reference?

    A11.  Your reference should come from a lecturer of your undergraduate degree at your previous/current university. It should include a history of academic grades and why you should be recommended for the programme. It should be signed and on headed paper. You need to upload this to your application, SPIRe does not contact your references directly.

    Q12.  Do I need two references?

    A12.  No. We only require one reference. 

    Q13.  My referee doesn’t want me to view the reference, but the UCD online application system asks me to upload a copy. What can I do?

    A13.  You may ask them to send the reference by email to The email must be sent from a professional email account (e.g.,, and not from a personal email account.

    Q14.  I finished my undergraduate degree a long time ago and it is difficult to contact my lecturer. What can I do?

    A14.  We primarily require an academic reference. However, we may accept a reference from your current/recent employer as an exception provided the programme coordinator is willing to accept this.

    Q15.  Can I upload a personal statement, a letter of motivation or my CV (resume) as an additional document?

    A15.  Yes, you can. As part of the admission process, most emphasis is placed on applicants’ academic transcripts and references. Relevant work/life experiences will also be taken into account.