Accessibility     Accessibility |
My DCU | Library | Loop |
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

MA in International Relations

Master of Arts in International Relations

  • PAC CodeDC608(Full time), DC609(Part time)
  • Course Type Postgraduate
  • NFQ Level 9
  • Delivery Modes Full-Time, Part-Time
  • Duration (FT - 1 Year), (PT - 2 years)

Contemporary international relations affect our lives in realms such as international politics, human rights, the economy, communications, trade and environmental protection. The MA in International Relations explores the concepts, forces, and processes underpinning international relations, as well as looking at the role of powerful states, international organisations, legal frameworks, foreign policy, and the international political economy.

Graduate View


“I cannot recommend the Master’s in International Relations in DCU highly enough. The course was challenging but support from the lecturers was excellent and there was also a strong sense of community amongst the students. The course was structured to encourage high student participation and the composition of students was truly international, with a wide diversity of backgrounds and experiences, which contributed to very stimulating debates in our lectures (often spilling over into discussions in The Hub afterwards!). The knowledge, skills, contacts and experience gained during my year at DCU have been indispensable in my professional life.”


Selina Donnelly, MA International Relations, Policy Officer, Trócaire


Why Do This Programme?

  • Gain an in-depth understanding of major theories, issues, and debates in contemporary international/global politics.
  • Develop a clear and thorough knowledge of the political, social, economic, historical, and cultural contexts of the international system and its institutions.
  • Understand specific aspects of international relations in the contemporary world, including security and conflict, development, globalisation, international law, area studies and foreign policy
  • Broaden your horizons with interdisciplinary options such as language studies and communication studies.
  • Build relationships and contacts with colleagues from a variety of backgrounds, a range of specialists and policy makers that will give you a head start as you build your career.

Programme Structure and Content

This MA can be completed in one year on a full-time basis, or in two years on a part-time basis.

As a full-time student, you’ll take three core modules in Semester 1, along with a research methodology class. In Semester 2, you’ll take three modules from a range of thematic- and region-focused options. A 15,000 word dissertation is due in September.

If you’re a part-time student, you’ll complete all modules (three core modules, a research methodology class, and three optional modules) over the course of two years, taking one or two modules per semester. A 15,000 word dissertation is due in September of Year 2.

The programme features seminars and presentations by guest speakers—including politicians, officials, academics and diplomats—that prompt you to explore key issues in international politics, security, and development, as well as to build connections to key practitioners.

Programme Aims and Objectives

  • Link theory, policy and practice.
  • Offer high quality academic training in international relations.
  • Give participants a critical understanding of different theories of and frameworks for international studies.
  • Enhance the practical skills of participants in the areas of research, communication, policy analysis, and programme and project management.




View the current course structure →


Why Choose DCU?

  • Open doors to further postgraduate studies in International Development, Environmental Studies, Political Science and International Relations, and Security Studies.
  • The MA in International Relations at DCU was the first postgraduate International Relations programme in Ireland and remains Ireland’s premier programme.
  • Multidisciplinary degree with small class sizes and an internationally diverse student body.
  • Interactive, participatory teaching style with a wide scope and range of modules.
  • Lecturers accessible to students and with real expertise in their disciplines.
  • The School of Law and Government is Ireland’s leading academic department for the study of International Relations and Security.

Programme Chairperson: Dr. Paola Rivetti

Tel: +353 (0)1 700 6898





The MA in International Relations attracts both recent undergraduates and those already established in their careers. The programme is suitable for students from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds, from politics, law and history to languages, business and sciences.

The knowledge and skills you acquire through this programme are highly sought by government, research organisations, the national and international non-governmental (NGO)/non-profit sector, and the inter-governmental (IGO) sector.

Potential Careers

Graduates seek work in a variety of government departments, including the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of An Taoiseach and Department of Justice, as well as international organisations including the European Union and United Nations. Others may gravitate towards agencies and NGOs such as Trócaire, Amnesty International, Concern and Oxfam, or major multinational organisations, financial services companies, the media and international business.


General Entry Requirements

Applicants will normally have an honours primary degree or equivalent, but appropriate combinations of professional qualifications and experience may be accepted as equivalent to an honours degree, in accordance with the relevant regulations of the University.

Applicants will be ranked by prior academic achievement, their work experience where relevant, and their stated reasons for wishing to take the programme. Applicants are asked to include a 400 word statement outlining

1) Why they wish to study International Relations,

2) What in their record and experience makes them suitable for the M.A. programme

3) The impact which they expect the M.A. would have on their futures.

Some applicants may be called for interview. Such interviews will be held during the month of June.

Applicants who are awaiting their degree results should indicate both the level of award expected, and their undergraduate record to date. Some applicants may be called for interview. The closing date for receipt of applications is below, though we recommend that international students apply early as we will make some decisions on international applications at an earlier date where this is necessary to allow applicants secure funding or visas.

International Applications

International candidates are expected to have educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to those outlined above. In addition, where such candidates are non-native speakers of the English language they must satisfy the university of their competency in the English language. For further information on international applications click here.

Commencement Date: September 2018

How to Apply and Closing Dates

Make an Application

All Applicants must submit

  • Certified academic transcripts for each and every year of study, with certified English translations if applicable
  • Personal statement of 400 words maximum

Non Native English Speakers - Additional

  • Evidence of English competency which meets DCU entry requirements - see link

EU Applicants

  • Please apply through PAC  First round applications for EU applicants closed on 27 April 2018. A second round of applications will be reviewed after 25 June 2018.   The final date for receipt of applications will be 14 August 2018 for entry in Autumn 2018.

Non-EU Applicants

  • Please apply through PAC  First round applications for non-EU applicants closed on 27 April 2018. A second round of applications will be reviewed after 25 June 2018. The final date for receipt of applications will be 10 July 2018 for entry in Autumn 2018.

  • Applicants who require a study visa for the purposes of gaining entry into Ireland are advised to apply as early as possible.  If you need a study visa and are a Non EU student, you are not eligible to apply for part time programmes as study visas are only granted for full time programmes.

  • To apply for this programme use the PAC code DC608 (full time) and DC609 (part time).

For queries on completed applications please email