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Social Sciences


When you study social sciences, you learn to ask questions about society and social relationships. Why do people vote the way they do? What precipitates economic growth? What behaviours mitigate climate change? Social sciences explore the nature of our society and examine many issues impacting humanity such as crime and violence, social and economic inequality, gender justice and sustainable cities. 

Social sciences students explore how people behave as individuals and in human groups - from families and teams to companies and government agencies. Social sciences investigate the development of societies - past, present and future by combining quantitative data, such as social and economic statistics, with qualitative methods, such as interviews and focus groups. Social sciences research has transformed our understanding of how societies function, how they are governed, how we work, how and where we live, how we communicate and how we learn. Studying social sciences at UCD, you will learn to analyse, criticise and challenge beliefs and assumptions - including your own.

UCD is number one for social sciences in Ireland, leading innovative social sciences education and research to address the critical social, political, cultural and economic concerns of our time. The social sciences at UCD have an established international reputation – attracting students from all over the world to social sciences undergraduate and graduate programmes.

• No 1 for social sciences in Ireland

• Internationally renowned academics

• Real-world professional experience with an optional internship

• Research skills modules

• Opportunities to study abroad in leading universities in the UK, US, Europe and Asia

• Student support with academic advisers, student advisors and peer mentors

• Alumni network of Irish and global leaders • Global reputation with high university rankings across diverse subjects

The first year studying social sciences is structured to provide extensive support to incoming students as they make the transition to third-level learning. Each student is assigned a peer mentor – an existing UCD student – to act as a guide and support as you navigate your new life in university.

As you develop expertise in your subjects and become more familiar with the university teaching and learning environment, you increasingly choose your own options, studying areas that interest you. You will be given academic advice and support on your choices as you advance into second year. 

UCD College of Social Sciences and Law is the leading centre for research in social sciences and related disciplines in Ireland. Research in the College spans all the major fields in the social sciences and related disciplines, addressing both fundamental issues concerning the nature of our society and applied issues that impact directly on public policy.

UCD Geary Institute for Public Policy 

UCD Centre for Disability Studies

UCD Dublin European Institute

UCD Institute for British Irish Studies (IBIS)

UCD International Centre for Newman Studies

UCD Equality Studies Centre

The Centre for Gender, Feminisms and Sexualities

UCD Institute of Criminology

UCD Centre for Sustainable Development Studies

UCD Centre for Human Rights

UCD Centre for Ethics in Public Life

You gain a deep understanding of the subjects you choose to study and develop real-world skills in research, communication and leadership – highly valued by employers. Graduates of UCD social sciences progress to work as:

  • Policymakers
  • Environmentalists
  • Activists
  • Economists
  • Information managers
  • HR managers
  • Data Analysts
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Journalists
  • Statisticians
  • Urban planners
  • Archaeologists
  • Librarians
  • Secondary school teachers
  • Social workers
  • Researchers and many more professions across the public and private sectors. 

Among our accomplished alumni of UCD Social Sciences are:

  • Frances Fitzgerald, Minister for Justice
  • Ali Hewson, Humanitarian
  • Sr. Stanislaus Kennedy, Humanitarian