MSc Equality Studies

Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 90)

The MSc in Equality Studies is the only masters of its kind in Europe and offers a unique opportunity to examine global equality issues from a range of perspectives. Find out more about the programme in our informative video here.

The MSc in Equality Studies was designed for those who wish to develop an interdisciplinary understanding of global social justice issues and explore strategies for change. Drawing students from across the globe, the course emphasises the relationship between theory and practice  with a view to bringing about positive social change. You learn about and develop your own ideas on a wide range of equality, human rights and global justice issues. You will benefit from the opportunity to specialize in areas of particular interest such as capitalism and social justice, gender justice and feminism, global inequalities, human rights law and practice, and minorities and discrimination.

The learning environment is student-centred and participatory with students from a wide range of backgrounds with diverse experience and interests including community activists, development practitioners, educators, healthcare professionals, civil servants and journalists.

Careers & Employability

Equality Studies graduates work in multiple fields including politics, journalism, law, education, public policy, voluntary and community work, and human rights advocacy.

Alumni of the Masters in Equality Studies are employed by major national and international human rights and development organisations such as Amnesty International and the United Nations.


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

We welcome applicants from a wide a range of backgrounds, with diverse experience and interests. Current students are of various nationalities and include recent graduates, community activists, educators, health care professionals, civil servants and journalists. Please note that if you are intening to study this programme on a part time basis, classes do take place during normal working hours, though modules can be spread flexibly over the two years, subject to certain requirements (Egalitarian Theory always has to be taken in year 1, Feminist and Egalitarian Research and the Portfolio have to be taken in year 2).

The purpose of the M.Sc. in Equality Studies is to cultivate an interdisciplinary appreciation of equality issues of both national and international significance, informed by extensive reading, critical analysis, advanced conceptualisation and independent research across social, political, cultural, economic and legal fields of enquiry. In addition to training across the 5 core disciplinary areas, the programme enables students to specialise further, either by completing a research-based dissertation that allows the student to achieve greater depth of knowledge in a particular area of study, or by selecting three further optional modules for assessment, that allows the student to achieve greater breadth of knowledge across the field of equality studies taken as a whole. The programme is aimed at students who wish to develop a career or further studies in the field of equality, or who wish to become advocates or activists for equality in civil society or politics.  The School adopts a student-centred approach and promotes a critical, emancipatory and feminist pedagogy that is carried through all aspects of the teaching and learning process. Teaching is dialogical and operates on the principle that students have much to bring to the learning experience, that students can learn from each other and that staff can learn from students. Assessment takes a variety of forms, spanning the traditional essay, public scholarship, collaborative work and project work, including an elective minor dissertation.  Extensive student feedback is sought for all modules and this is used to review and revise subsequent courses, assignments and assessments.

  • Apply their knowledge and understanding of the component areas of Equality Studies to new, unfamiliar, multi-disciplinary contexts
  • Communicate their conclusions within the area of Equality Studies, and the knowledge and rationale underpinning these, to specialist and non-specialist audiences clearly and unambiguously
  • Demonstrate an ability to integrate knowledge from a range of disciplines and in relation to a range of equality issues, and to handle the complexities involved in the analysis of inequality and the development of equality-related policies
  • Demonstrate specialized, detailed and advanced theoretical and conceptual knowledge and understanding of the issues and theories that constitute the interdisciplinary field of Equality Studies
  • Develop and/or apply their ideas in the field of equality studies in an original way, either through research (as evidenced in a research paper prepared for assessment) or in a practical context
  • Develop research design skills and work with established, feminist and emancipatory research methods in the investigation and analysis of research problems relevant to the field of equality studies
  • Evince a sophisticated, critical and justice-oriented perspective on a range of social issues in order to promote equality as a collective social good, and be able to articulate and defend this position in public fora
  • Explain current debates and controversies animating equality studies, in fields including egalitarian theory, feminist theory, legal studies, the economics of inequality, the sociology of inequality and international development
  • Make use of the insights and findings of both published and student-produced research to inform students own understandings of the field of equality studies and how they operate within it

MSc Equality Studies (W003) Part Time
EU          fee per year - € 5460
nonEU    fee per year - € 11300

MSc Equality Studies (W105) Full Time
EU          fee per year - € 9100
nonEU    fee per year - € 22600

***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.

  • Normally students on this programme will have attained a higher second class honours in their primary degree (NFQ Level 8) or international equivalent, and will have demonstrable experience in or aptitude for the field of equality studies, as illustrated in their personal statement. Students with a lower second class honours degree may be considered for the programme, depending on level of commensurate experience and qualifications, and availability of places, as assessed by the applications review panel.
  • All applicants will be asked to upload two references as part of their application, and to provide contact details for their referees. At least one of these referees should be someone who knows the applicant in an academic capacity.
  • In certain circumstances, the applications review panel may decide to invite applicants to interview.
  • Applicants whose first language is not English must also demonstrate English language proficiency of IELTS 6.5 (no band less than 6.0 in each element), or equivalent.
  • These are the minimum entry requirements – additional criteria may be requested for some programmes

Graduate Profiles
Charlotte Byrne,
Equality Studies Graduate, Ireland. Education Officer, Irish Refugee Council

My particular area of interest was migration and having come late to third level education, I was enthusiastic in my belief that education is the key to solve so many inequalities. Since completing the Equality Studies programme, I have accessed employment at the Irish Refugee Council as Education Officer, where I support people in the asylum process to gain education and training to be ready to find employment when the time comes. We also try to influence policy to create a more level and equitable playing field. I genuinely believe that if the whole world did this course the world would bena better place as everyone would understand why equality is better for everyone. Equality Studies provides the foundation in egalitarian theory and allows you to build your Masters around areas that interest you, e.g. housing, environment, gender, human rights, education, ethnicity, children’s rights and so on. I believe that the Masters in Equality Studies is a great path towards work in any NGO, private sector, International Students or public body in the area of equality.


Mona Lotfipour,
USA, Graduate

The MSc in Equality Studies has given me the skills to think critically about complex issues in addition to feeling more empowered to lead change. After completing my degree in biochemistry and molecular biology, I was passionate to learn more about human-rights topics. In addition to learning about inequality in different developed and developing countries, as one of the American students in the class, it was a very unique experience to learn about inequalities in the United States from a different perspective. The world-renowned faculty provide an interdisciplinary framework that includes a wide range of courses such as human-rights law, international economics, philosophy and theory. Fixing inequalities requires an interdisciplinary focus. As I continue my studies at Penn State Hershey College of Medicine, I know that the skills and ideas that I learned as a student in UCD will equip me to create change as I serve thousands of patients who face inequalities.

Sam Prost, USA, Graduate

The Equality Studies program has provided me with context for a wide range of issues concerning Global inequality, including taxation, economics and human rights legislation. The program is unique in its interdisciplinary approach to understanding inequality: students are allowed to explore the issues that they are most passionate about, while also learning from experts about issues pertaining to inequality that they may have never considered before. Living in Ireland for the duration of the program was truly one of the best experiences of my life. From the passing of gay marriage by popular vote in 2015, to the even more recent calls for the repeal of the 8th Amendment of the Irish constitution, Ireland has taken on a pivotal new role in the Global fight for equality, making it an incredibly exciting place to study these ideas. The skills I attained throughout the program will undoubtedly remain with me in all of my future career endeavors. 

Nadine Shinkwin, Graduate, Ireland

My return to education began with a BSciSoc followed directly by an MSc in Equality Studies, part-time.  My aim was to acquire knowledge and understanding of the foundations, diversity and pervasiveness of inequality in society at home and globally.  Through a series of targeted modules that intersected across a diverse range of disciplines we learned how to identify, understand and challenge how society in general accepts the unacceptable and how power and powerlessness disrupts the balance of human existence.

We experienced and benefited from well thought out lectures, readings, assignments and in-class debates with an international group of students, which empowered us to question inequality and advance social change in our respective communities.

By combining these new learned skills with a background in project management, I have the confidence to work in the field of equality and social justice development. 

Adriana Orellana, Graduate, Bolivia

The best part of the MSc. in Equality Studies was feeling part of a community of like-minded and inspiring people working towards achieving equality around the world.  Being surrounded by committed professors and students, made me feel empowered to continue my own struggles and empathize with other causes.
On a personal level, the program enhanced my critical thinking skills and opened my mind to the complexity of structural global inequalities. On a professional level, Equality Studies gave me the theoretical and practical tools to continue my career in International Development and Emancipatory Research. 

You can read more, and view video testimonials by former students here:

The following entry routes are available:

MSc Equality Studies FT (W105)
1 Years
Full Time
MSc Equality Studies PT (W003)
2 Years
Part Time

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