MSc Politics

Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 90)

T‌he MSc Politics degree 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.

SPIRe part time programmes run for 2 years and students normally do 1 - 2 modules per semester. The final 30-credit module is completed during the second year of the programme. 

Please note that our part-time programmes run during the day and are not timetabled in the evenings or at weekends.

Core and Option Modules for MSc Politics

These are the current modules for 2024/25 but are subject to change. Each of the following modules carries 10 credits unless otherwise specified. 

Core Modules

  • POL40950 Introduction to Statistics (Autumn)
  • POL40540 Comparative European Politics (Autumn)
  • POL41640 Qualitative Research Methods for Political Science (Spring)

Option Modules


  • GS40110 Gender, Sexuality, and the Body; The Politics of Belonging
  • POL40050 Theories of International Relations
  • POL40140 Theories of Global Justice
  • POL40160 Comparative Public Policy
  • POL41020 Politics of Human Rights
  • POL41510 Politics and Change in the Middle East and North Africa
  • POL41980 Peace & Conflict Studies
  • POL42040 Gender & the Political System
  • POL42070 Politics of (mis-)information​
  • SPOL41060 Public Administration and Policy (NEW)
  • SPOL41110 Ideas, Ideology in Public Policy


  • DEV40020 Gender and Development
  • GS40030 Gender, Inequality and Policy (NEW)
  • POL40100 Politics of Development
  • POL40370 International Political Economy
  • POL40610 EU Foreign, Security, and Defence Policy
  • POL40970 Politics of European Governance
  • POL41030 Theory of Human Rights
  • POL41640 Qualitative Research Methods for Political Science
  • POL41720 Gender, Peace, and Security
  • POL41780 The Politics of Inequality
  • POL41860 Governance, Politics and Development
  • POL41910 - Political Violence (NEW)
  • POL42050 Quantitative Text Analysis
  • POL42340 Programming for Social Scientists
  • POL42350 Connected_Politics
  • POL42060 International Security
  • POL42430 - IR Theory: Conflict and Identity (NEW)
  • POL42500 Politics of Authoritarianism
  • SOC40620 Nationalism and Social Change
  • SPOL40450 Evidence-Based Policy Making (NEW)

Summer Trimester Core Module

POL42310 Thesis (30 credits)

MSc Politics (W233) Full Time
EU          fee per year - € 10100
nonEU    fee per year - € 22600

MSc Politics (W234) Part Time
EU          fee per year - € 6420
nonEU    fee per year - € 11300

***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, which opens on May 1st. To access details, see SPIRe Graduate Scholarship Scheme. Please note that not all programmes are eligible for this Scholarship, please check the T&C's carefully when they become available.

  • A primary degree with at least Second Class Honours Grade 1 (2H1). 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

Coral Richardson

Hello, my name is Coral and I am originally from California in the US. When looking at potential programs, the UCD Politics program stood out because it offered unique elective options and featured faculty members with expertise and current research in fields that interested me.

Starting a degree in a new field was daunting at first, however, the faculty, peers, and courses have overwhelming highlights of my time at UCD and I feel more than adequately prepared for future work in research and academia. I have had the chance to work with several faculty members in my own courses and as a tutor through the Master’s Graduate Scholarship program. Each professor has been engaging and passionate about their research as well as willing to help me narrow my academic interests.

In addition to the uplifting academic environment, I have met so many new friends from Europe and abroad that have introduced me to new customs and ideas that have expanded my worldview and made my time in Dublin even more enjoyable. Academically speaking, this course offered a balance of elective and required courses that simultaneously improved my research abilities and general understanding of modern politics without restricting opportunities to further my research interests in more specific subfields such as development politics. The optional elective courses are diverse and can accommodate most research interests with focuses on major political subfields: international relations, comparative politics, and political theory while the required courses were engaging and invaluable to building my confidence in research methods.

The following entry routes are available:

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

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

A comphrensive FAQ can be found here