MA Political Theory

Academic Year 2021/2022

Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 90)

As a crucial part of understanding our human condition, political theory has always been held to be a valuable activity. More recently, however, changes in contemporary societies have made such systematic thinking about politics indispensable to understanding and participating in the life of our own state and a newly global world.
  • Political theory addresses the more immediate practical concerns of politics and policy that are of concern to governments, the media, civil society groups and individual citizens.
  • Combines a rigorous approach to analysing these problems with an imaginative search for solutions.

Careers & Employability

Graduates work with a wide variety of international private-sector employers, government agencies and Non-Governmental Organisations in roles such as: academics, policy analysts, diplomats, lawyers, journalists.
Recent graduates of UCD School of Politics & International Relations now work in: UK Foreign Office, US State Department, Irish Civil Service, University College London, and University of Melbourne.

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 applicants should have earned an undergraduate degree in a relevant subject with at least Upper Second Class Honours, or its equivalent, such as an overall GPA of 3.0 (B) or higher in the American system. Relevant professional experience will also be taken into account. 

This programme aspires to allow students become specialists in critical thought and reflection on key issues in political theory, capable of engaging with cutting edge philosophical debates and practical applications thereof in the realm of practical politcs

    • allow students participate in political debates informed by theory
    • develop oral presentation skills
    • develop students' capacities for critical reflection on issues of political theory
    • enhance group work skills
    • enhance students' research and writing skills
    • familiarise students with key issues and schools of thought in political theory

    View All Modules Here

    The MA Political Theory 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 or pursue an Internship instead in the summer trimester. 

    Current Core and Option Modules for MA Political Theory (credits in parentheses)

    Please note that this is subject to change year on year

     

    Autumn Trimester

    Spring Trimester

    Core Modules

    POL40140 International Political Theory (10)

    POL42330 Research Design (10)

    POL41030 Theory of Human Rights (10)

    Core Options –

    Select minimum 2 of:

    PHIL41280 Feminist and Gender Theory (10)

    PHIL41000 Aristotle's Ethics & Politics (10)

    PHIL40420 The Good Society (10)

     

    POL42000 Political Theory and the EU (10)

    Option Modules

    EDUC41520 Children's Rights & Participat (10)

    LAW41310 Asylum and Refugee Law (10)

    PHIL41560 Truth, History, Justice (10)

    POL40050 Theories of Internat.Relations (10)

    POL40130 Development and Global Justice (10)

    POL40320 Africa:Crisis & Opportunity? (10)

    POL40820 Governing the Global Economy (10)

    POL40950 Introduction to Statistics (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)

     

    PHIL41510 Ethics: Theory and Practice (10)

    POL40100 Politics of Development (10)

    POL40160 Comparative Public Policy (10)

    POL40370 International Political Econom (10)

    POL40540 Comparative European Politics (10)

    POL40610 EU Foreign and Security Policy (10)

    POL41640 Qual Research Methods for Pol (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)

     

     

    Summer Trimester

    POL42300 SPIRe Internship (30)

    or

    POL42310 Thesis (30) 

    MA Political Theory (W277) Full Time
    EU          fee per year - € 7315
    nonEU    fee per year - € 19900

    MA Political Theory (W278) Part Time
    EU          fee per year - € 4760
    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 http://www.ucd.ie/alc/programmes/pathways/ 

    These are the minimum entry requirements – additional criteria may be requested for some programmes

    Graduate Profile
    Rhona Gaynor,

    Project Manager, Civil Service, Ireland
    After graduating from UCD with an MA in Political Theory, Rhona completed an MPA in Public Policy and Management in London School of Economics and Political Science. The MA in Political Theory provided a fantastic education in ethics, citizenship, social justice, and, most importantly, critical thinking. Through a programme of challenging, provocative, and diverse courses – including ‘The Political Theory of Violence’, ‘Contemporary Debates in Citizenship’ and ‘Poverty, Development and Global Justice’ – the MA provided me with core skills that continue to shape and influence my thinking. Through the process of participating in seminars and developing my final thesis, I was both challenged and supported to look at old problems in new ways, express complex ideas clearly and build strong, logical, and original arguments. I highly recommend this course, and if given the opportunity, would take it again tomorrow.

    The following entry routes are available:

    MA Political Theory FT (W277)
    Duration
    1 Years
    Attendance
    Full Time
    Deadline
    Rolling *
    MA Political Theory PT (W278)
    Duration
    2 Years
    Attendance
    Part Time
    Deadline
    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 or Internship 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 or Internship 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: https://www.ucd.ie/global/

    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: southeastasia@ucd.ie 

    Middle East & North Africa: dubai@ucd.ie 

    China: chinaoffice@ucd.ie 

    Latin America: latinamerica@ucd.ie 

    North America: northamerica@ucd.ie 

    South Asia: india@ucd.ie

    ROW & Africa: internationaladmissions@ucd.ie

     

    internationaladmissions@ucd.ie 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 graduatespire@ucd.ie. The email must be sent from a professional email account (e.g. XYZ@harvard.edu, XYZ@politics.ox.ac.uk, XYZ@tcd.ie) 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.