MA International Development

Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 90)

The MA in International Development is designed to provide you with an interdisciplinary understanding of the process of development by bringing together expertise in politics, economics, agriculture, political economy and other areas.

  • Oldest and largest school of its kind in Ireland with over 150 years of experience in political studies
  • World-renowned staff drawn from many countries.

Careers & Employability

Graduates of the programme have found employment with the official Irish aid programme, in Irish and international non-governmental organisations such as Trocaire, Goal, Action Aid and Oxfam, and with agencies of the European Union and the United Nations as well as in journalism, education, local community development, and many other areas such as:
  • Public administration
  • Journalism
  • Media
  • Civil society organisations
  • Voluntary sector
  • Academic institutions

    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

    Each application is considered on its individual merits. The applicants should have earned an undergraduate degree 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/international law etc.

    This programme aims to equip students with the skills and knowledge necessary to work in international development - either as a practictioner or as an academic/policy specialiist.  Learning is designed to be participatory and a critical, but constructive, approach to interdisciplinary development issues (ecconomic, politival and other) is encouraged.

    • acquaint students with cutting edge development issues
    • allow students to comment critically on development interventions
    • develop oral presentation skills
    • enhance group work skills
    • enhance students' abilities to assess development practice on the ground
    • equip students with the skills to work in the field of international development

    View All Modules Here

    The MA International Development 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.

    Core and Option Modules for MA International Development (credits in parentheses)

    Please note that these are subject to change


    Autumn Trimester

    Spring Trimester

    Core Modules

    POL42330 Research Design (10)

    POL40100 Politics of Development (10)

    POL41860 Governance, Pol, Dev (10)


    Option Modules



    LAW40760 NGO Law (10)

    POL40050 Theories of Internat.Relations (10)

    POL40140 International Political Theory (10)

    POL40950 Introduction to Statistics (10)

    POL40970 Politics European Governance (10)

    POL41020 Politics of Human Rights (10)

    POL41650 Global Political Econ ofEurope (10)

    POL41800 Theories of Int'l Rels Stream2 (10)

    POL41910 Political Violence (10)

    POL41930 Psychology of Conflict in MENA (10)

    POL42040 Gender & the Political System (10)

    POL42340 Programming for Soc Scientists (10)

    GS40100 Gender, Harm and Justice (10)

    POL40160 Comparative Public Policy (10)

    POL40370 International Political Econom (10)

    POL40540 Comparative European Politics (10)

    POL40610 EU Foreign and Security Policy (10)

    POL41030 Theory of Human Rights (10)

    POL41640 Qual Research Methods for Pol (10)

    POL41720 Gender, Peace, and Security (10)

    POL41780 The Politics of Inequality (10)

    POL41870 Econ & Policy Analysis 1 10cr (10)

    POL41980 Peace & Conflict Studies (10)

    POL42000 Political Theory and the EU (10)

    POL42050 Quantitative Text Analysis (10)

    POL42060 International Security (10)

    POL42070 Politics of (mis-)information (10)


    Summer Trimester

    POL42300 SPIRe Internship (30)


    POL42310 Thesis (30)

    MA International Development (W301) Full Time
    EU          fee per year - € 8525
    nonEU    fee per year - € 19900

    MA International Development (W302) Part Time
    EU          fee per year - € 5600
    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
    Ayesha Azeem, Pakistan,

    Senior Project Officer, Church World Service – Pakistan/Afghanistan
    With the knowledge I learned during my masters in UCD, I am confident that I can fulfil my role with the utmost professionalism and confidence as Senior Project Officer in Capacity Institutionalisation Project (CIP) in Church World Service – Pakistan/Afghanistan, a donor-funded project which deals with initiatives on capacity building of local NGO’s and CSO’s. Living abroad for a year on my own enhanced my ability to interact and communicate with people of diverse backgrounds and collaborate effectively within a team and manage varied projects. That one year in UCD and Dublin taught me much more about life beyond a masters degree!

    The following entry routes are available:

    MA International Development FT (W301)
    1 Years
    Full Time
    MA International Development PT (W302)
    2 Years
    Part Time

    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:

    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: 

    Middle East & North Africa: 


    Latin America: 

    North America: 

    South Asia:

    ROW & Africa:

  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 The email must be sent from a professional email account (e.g.,, 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.