MA Political Theory

Academic Year 2020/2021

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 and a research design workshop 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 during the summer trimester.

    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 

    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)
    1 Years
    Full Time
    Rolling *
    MA Political Theory PT (W278)
    2 Years
    Part Time
    Rolling *

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