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Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

MA in International Security and Conflict Studies

Master of Arts in International Security & Conflict Studies

  • PAC CodeDC629(Full Time), DC630(Part Time)
  • Course Type Postgraduate
  • NFQ Level 9
  • Delivery Modes Full-Time, Part-Time
  • Duration Full Time - 1 Year Part Time - 2 Years

There are no longer clear distinctions between regional or domestic civil conflicts and issues of global security. Most conflicts have an international dimension, and global insecurity has local as well as international causes and consequences.

The MA in International Security and Conflict Studies explores the causes of conflict, the roles played by powerful states and the broader international community in conflict and security, the changing role of peacekeeping, terrorism and radicalisation, and conflict resolution processes. 

Graduate View


Why Do This Programme?

  • Gain an in-depth knowledge of the political, social, economic, historical, and cultural contexts of the international security system and its institutions, including international security organisations and the law of armed conflict.
  • Understand specific aspects of international security in the contemporary world, including peacekeeping and peace-making interventions, terrorism, failed states and human security.
  • Open doors to further postgraduate studies in Conflict Studies, International Relations, Peace Studies, Politics/Political Science, Security Studies, Strategic Studies and Terrorism Studies.
  • Learn through interactive, hands-on teaching methods in small group settings, and get a head start on your career through relationships with colleagues from varied backgrounds and specialisms.

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 security.
  • Give participants a critical understanding of different theories of and frameworks for security and conflict studies.
  • Enhance the practical skills of participants in the areas of research, communication, policy analysis, and programme and project management.
  • Develop participants’ interests in the pressures giving rise to and created by the intersection of globalising forces with the maintenance of national and international security.
View the current course structure →


Why Choose DCU?

  • The School of Law and Government is Ireland’s leading academic department for the study of international development, environment and conflict studies.
  • DCU is a young, innovative university with a reputation for excellence in teaching and research consistently rated in the ‘Top 50 under 50’ by the QS World University Rankings.
  • This MA is highly regarded in Ireland and internationally and provides a challenging and innovative learning environment.
  • Gain in-depth knowledge of the fields of international development, environmental change and management, and conflict and security studies, and how they combine to shape contemporary world politics.
  • Get a head start in your career as you build relationships and contacts with colleagues, specialists and policy makers from a variety of backgrounds.
  • Open doors to further postgraduate studies in International Development, Environmental Studies, Political Science and International Relations, and Security Studies.

Programme Chairperson: Dr. Diarmuid Torney

Tel: +353 (0)1 700 6468




Graduates work for development agencies and NGOs such as Trócaire, Goal, Amnesty International, Concern and Oxfam. Our graduates also 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. Many also work for major multinational organisations, financial services companies, in the media and in international business.


General Entry Requirements

The programme is suitable both for recent graduates in any discipline and for those with some years' work experience in international organisations, in development, in government, in business or in education. Persons accepted for the MA programme will normally have an honours primary degree or equivalent, although 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. In respect of the latter, applicants are asked to include a 400-word statement outlining

a) Why they wish to take this programme,

b) What in their record and experience makes them suitable for the MA programme, and

c) The impact which they expect the MA would have on their future careers.

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.

Our MA programmes have been heavily over-subscribed in recent years. We therefore encourage people to apply all the programmes they are interested in, in order of preference. This will increase you chances of an offer. Our on-line application system allows you rank three separate programmes.

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 and 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

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.  Should places still be available on this programme, 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.  Should places still be available on this programme, 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 DC629 (full time) and DC630 (part time).

Queries on completed applications to be sent to