GradDip Politics & Data Science

Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 60)

The GradDip Politics and Data Science programme is specifically tailored to address the transformative impact of generative AI, large language models, and machine learning on political processes and their ethical implications. This cutting-edge degree is an ideal choice for applicants from diverse backgrounds, aiming to explore the intersection of politics and advanced data science in the digital era.

The curriculum delves deeply into the ways generative AI and large language models are revolutionising our understanding of political discourse, public opinion, and policy-making. With a focus on the ethical and societal implications of these technologies, the programme equips students with a critical perspective on how data science shapes political narratives and decisions in both democratic and non-democratic regimes.

Structured in two streams, the programme caters to students from varying academic backgrounds. The first stream introduces students from social sciences, including political science, to advanced data science methods, emphasising the use of large language models and machine learning in political analysis. The second stream, tailored for those with a technical background, focuses on political science research design and theories, integrating these with data science applications.

Core modules for the Social Science Background stream provide a foundational understanding of data science methods, while optional modules allow exploration into specialised areas like machine learning, quantitative text analysis, and the ethical use of AI in politics. Similarly, the Technical Background stream includes core and elective modules that blend technical skills with an understanding of political science theories and applications.

This programme not only offers comprehensive training in political science and its sub-disciplines but also equips students with empirical skills to navigate and analyse the complex interplay between politics and technology in the modern world. It prepares graduates to critically assess and contribute to the evolving landscape of politics in the age of data science and AI.

Careers & Employability

Graduates from this programme will be ideally equipped for careers in a large and varied set of employment sectors. The combination of a solid understanding of social science theory and the technical ability to apply cutting-edge data-science and AI approaches to answer questions of political and societal relevance, makes our graduates a unique addition to any data science team. Furthermore, graduates will be well-positioned to apply for quantitative social science PhD programmes with the aim of pursuing an academic career.

Potential future employers include:

  • Government
  • Tech industry
  • Corporate Sector
  • International Organisations (EU, UN, WTO, World Bank)
  • Non-Government Organisations
  • Not-for-profit sector
  • Public opinion institutes
  • Think tanks

Potential roles include

  • Political Advisor
  • Social Data Specialist
  • Data Scientist
  • Chief Information Officer
  • Social Science PhD candidate

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 GradDip in Politics and Data Science is aimed towards students with backgrounds in political science and related social sciences with a strong interest in learning data science methods, and towards students with a Computer Science or related technical background who want to study politics. It is specifically aimed towards students who want a cutting-edge training in politics and data science but who are less interested in writing a master’s thesis.

The programme shall equip students with both the theoretical overview and the empirical tools necessary to understand and engage with the brave new world of digitised politics, and the expansion in scale, types, and complexity of data available to study political phenomenon. The MSc in Politics and Data Science provides students with in-depth knowledge of political science theories and approaches and the methodological training to apply these tools in a theoretically-informed manner. It offers advanced training in statistical and computational methods, including tools to extract and prepare unstructured data (data wrangling), to detect patterns and predict behaviour based on statistical data, to evaluate the veracity of theoretical models on large-scale datasets, to analyse highly interconnected data from networks and spatial data sets, and to develop simulations to evaluate the inherent consistency and implications of theoretical arguments.

The key objective is to have graduates who are able to join data science teams in the Government, corporate, or private sectors, with sufficient understanding of technical concepts in data science and machine learning to collaborate with computer scientists and engineers and with sufficient understanding of social science and politics to be able to bring a deeper understanding of human behaviour to otherwise technology oriented teams.

Graduates can also use the skills acquired to continue work in political science research, either in academia, think tanks, or the non-profit or public sector, where they will benefit from a deep understanding of the cross-section between data science and political science.

Knowledge and understanding

  • Understanding the range of data science and machine learning methodologies that are available to data scientists, and their key advantages and disadvantages.
  • Understanding of theories of political behaviour, political processes, and political institutions.
  • Understanding variations in political systems and their functioning.

Applying knowledge and understanding

  • Understanding of central aspects of political and social science research design, such as conceptualization, operationalization and measurement.
  • Ability to use knowledge of research design to systematically address questions pertaining politics and public policy.
  • Gain general experience in applying data science techniques to questions of political and social science relevance.

Making judgements

  • Ability to decide on appropriate statistical techniques given a particular research question in relation to political behaviour and public policy.
  • Ability to evaluate reported statistical and algorithmic results in political and social science research.
  • Through training in general research design, ability to evaluate the veracity of input data of political and social behaviour for use in data science applications.
  • Have a basic understanding of the situations where automated techniques as used in standard data science practice are suitable and ethically appropriate, and where not.

Communications and working skills

  • Ability to clearly communicate results from statistical analysis of political and social behaviour.
  • Ability to communicate the possibilities and scope of data science tools for the understanding of political and social behaviour.
  • Basic practice in team work and learning how to collaborate in larger technical projects, including ability to work with techniques for code sharing, agile development, tools for scientific replication, etcetera.

Learning skills

  • Have sufficient grounding in fundamentals of statistical analysis and computer science to be able to acquire new skills in data science.
  • Have sufficient grounding in political and social science to be able to read into new domains of political and social science research.

View All Modules Here

The GradDip Politics and Data Science programme is organised around two streams of study. The first stream grounds students with backgrounds in political science and related social sciences in data science methods. The second stream is geared towards students with computer science or related technical backgrounds, teaching them about research design and theories in political science. Apart from two required core modules in each stream, all students can select four optional modules that best fit their interests. These modules can either revolve around methods needed to study digital and digitised politics, such as programming and machine learning, quantitative text analysis, statistics, and experimental methods. Or they can be modules relating to comparative politics, international relations, political violence, political economy, and related fields that the School of Politics and International Relations has strengths in.

The Graduate Diploma in Politics and Data Science is a 60-credit programme.

Full time students must take three 10-credit modules in the first trimester and three 10-credit modules in the second trimester.

Depending on their performance, aspirations and selection of modules, students may be able to transfer from the graduate diploma into the MSc Politics and Data Science after the first trimester. See this page for more details.

Core and Option Modules for MSc Politics and Data Science Social Science Background Stream 

These are the current modules for 2023/24 but are subject to change. Each of the following modules carries 10 credits unless otherwise specified. 

Core Modules

  • POL40950 Introduction to Statistics (Autumn)
  • POL42340 Programming for Social Scientists (Spring) 
  • POL42350 Connected_Politics (Spring) 

Core Option Modules - Select one

  • IS41210 Platform Governance (Spring) 
  • POL42050 Quantitative Text Analysis (Spring) 
  • SOC41070 Sociological Thinking in the Digital Age (Spring) ​

Option Modules

Autumn

  • IS40840 Data & Society
  • POL40050 Theories of International Relations
  • POL40140 Theories of Global Justice
  • POL40160 Comparative Public Policy
  • POL40540 Comparative European Politics
  • POL41020 Politics of Human Rights
  • POL41510 Politics and Change in the Middle East and North Africa
  • POL41650 The Global Political Economy of Europe
  • POL41870 Political Economy of Institutions and Comparative Development
  • POL41980 Peace & Conflict Studies
  • POL42040 Gender & the Political System
  • POL42070 Politics of (mis-)information
  • POL42470 Gender Identity & Difference
  • POL42490 Politics of Ireland North & South
  • SOC41130 AI and Society

Spring

  • DEV40020 Gender and Development
  • IS41210 Platform Governance
  • 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
  • POL42050 Quantitative Text Analysis
  • POL42060 International Security
  • POL42440 Political Economy of Security
  • POL42480 Contemporary Election Campaigns: Democratic Norms and Empirical Research
  • POL42500 Politics of Authoritarianism
  • SOC41070 Sociological Thinking in the Digital Age

Core and Option Modules for MSc Politics and Data Science Technical Background Stream 

These are the current modules for 2023/24 but are subject to change. Each of the following modules carries 10 credits unless otherwise specified. 

Core Modules

  • POL42350 Connected_Politics (Spring) 
  • POL42070 Politics of (mis-)information (Autumn)

Core Option Modules - Select one

  • IS41210 Platform Governance (Spring) 
  • POL42050 Quantitative Text Analysis (Spring) 
  • POL42340 Programming for Social Scientists (Spring)
  • SOC41070 Sociological Thinking in the Digital Age (Spring) ​

Option Modules

Autumn

  • IS40840 Data & Society
  • POL40050 Theories of International Relations
  • POL40140 Theories of Global Justice
  • POL40160 Comparative Public Policy
  • POL40540 Comparative European Politics
  • POL40950 Introduction to Statistics
  • POL41020 Politics of Human Rights
  • POL41510 Politics and Change in the Middle East and North Africa
  • POL41650 The Global Political Economy of Europe
  • POL41870 Political Economy of Institutions and Comparative Development
  • POL41980 Peace & Conflict Studies
  • POL42040 Gender & the Political System
  • POL42470 Gender Identity & Difference
  • POL42490 Politics of Ireland North & South
  • SOC41130 AI and Society

Spring

  • DEV40020 Gender and Development
  • IS41210 Platform Governance
  • 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
  • POL42050 Quantitative Text Analysis
  • POL42060 International Security
  • POL42340 Programming for Social Scientists
  • POL42440 Political Economy of Security
  • POL42480 Contemporary Election Campaigns: Democratic Norms and Empirical Research
  • POL42500 Politics of Authoritarianism
  • SOC41070 Sociological Thinking in the Digital Age

GradDip Politics & Data Science (W475) Full Time
EU          fee per year - € 7810
nonEU    fee per year - € 15070

GradDip Politics & Data Science (W476) Part Time
EU          fee per year - € 5170
nonEU    fee per year - € 7540

***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.

Good undergraduate degree (2.1 or equivalent, or 2.2 or equivalent with relevant work experience) in political science or related social science, or in computer science, statistics, or related discipline. Because of the streaming of the module structure of the program, we can accommodate students with a social science as well as students with a more technical background.

  • 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.
  • These are the minimum entry requirements – additional criteria may be requested for some programmes

The following entry routes are available:

GD Politics & Data Science FT (W475)
Duration
1 Years
Attend
Full Time
Deadline
Rolling*
GD Politics & Data Science PT (W476)
Duration
18 Months
Attend
Part Time
Deadline
Rolling*

* 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