School of Law & Government and Electronic Engineering

Global Challenges (available for entry September 2022)

Global Challenges
CAO Code:
Course Type:
NFQ Level:
Delivery Modes
Minimum Points
New Course, points determined August 2022
Four Years
+353 (0) 1
700 5937
New course, entry 2022

Looking for a challenge? Take on the global challenges through challenge-based learning.

The DCU BSc in Global Challenges is for people who want to challenge themselves to take on the world’s problems.  This unique programme integrates social science and technology studies through challenge-based learning.  Technological advances can bring about huge changes to the way we live. Students will also explore the societal and economic impacts of new and emerging technologies, and their effect on the future of work, environmental impacts and community interaction.  Students will engage with concrete problems, such as climate change, gender stereotypes, fake news, global health and global inequality. Solutions to these problems will be explored through challenge-based learning projects, simulations,  hackathons and interdisciplinary team-work. Challenges will be inspired by examples from the public, private, and NGO sectors, as well as student-generated challenges.  We will equip graduates to develop socially effective technological solutions to real problems. 

"In the Ireland of 2021 and beyond we are experiencing an unprecedented pace and scale of current and future complex societal, legal, climate, technological and matched policy change.

It has therefore never been more important that we appropriately prepare, equip and populate the Irish workforce with graduates that are system thinkers who are fluent with the requisite technological knowledge and societal competencies to be leaders in a changing, technology-infused workplace to effectively deliver on this change agenda."

Anna Shakespeare (Chief Executive Pobal (Government supporting communities)

The programme includes modules such as climate change, politics, design thinking, international development, data analytics, public policy, artificial intelligence, security and peace studies, ethics, social science options to study China, Africa, Western and Eastern Europe, as well as the USA.  There will be technology options, such as sustainable design, the Internet of Things, digital interaction and opportunities for rapid prototyping of technological solutions.  The highlight of each year will be an extended team challenge, which requires the integration of social science and technology skills.  The third-year will be a placement in the private or public sectors.

Course modules will cover fundamental technical knowledge of electronic engineering, computer science and data science, and also the fundamental theories of social science, policy and politics, with an international context of these topics. 

Each year there will be an interdisciplinary project related to a global challenge. This project will involve creative problem solving by proposing technological solutions while taking into account the social implications of the proposed solution.  Assessment will be mainly project based through simulations and hackathons for a more engaging learning experience.

Indicative content

These modules are indicative of what you might be studying in each year

Year 1

  • Introduction to Social Science Methods (5 credits)
  • Introduction to Global Challenges (5 credits)   
  • The Mathematics of Change (5 credits)
  • Data Analysis and Problem Solving (5 credits) 
  • Science for a Sustainable Future (5 credits)
  • Modern Technology for a Changing World (5 credits)
  • Introduction to the Politics of a Changing World  (5 credits)
  • Global Development  (5 credits)
  • Project Planning & Management (year long, 5 credits)
  • Global Challenges project (year long, 10 credits)  – “Public engagement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals”

Year 2

  • Computational Statistics (5 credits)
  • Sensing the World (5 credits)
  • Internet of Things Technologies (5 credits)
  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship (5 credits) 
  • Qualitative Research for Global Challenges (5 credits)  
  • Global Governance (5 credits)
  • Conflict, Peace, and Security OR Climate Change: Politics, Policy, and Behaviour (5 credits)
  • Modelling the Changing World (5 credits)
  • Technology Systems Design (5 credits)
  • Political Ideas in the Twenty-First Century OR International Law and Contemporary Issues (5 credits)
  • Multidisciplinary project – Real-world Design Challenge,  (10 credits)

Year 3

  • Transforming Society with Artificial Intelligence (5 credits)
  • Data Privacy and Security (5 credits) 
  • Applied Quantitative Social Research (5 credits) 
  • Gender and Politics OR Politics in South Asia (5 credits)
  • Analysing Public Policy Challenges (5 credits)
  • Challenge based project – Using AI for Global Challenges (5 credits) 
  • INTRA Work Placement (30 credits)

Year 4


  • Renewable Energy (5 credits)
  • New Techniques in Social Research (5 credits) 
  • Chinese Politics and Foreign Policy OR Post-Soviet Politics of the the Politics of the Middle East and North Africa  (5 credits)
  • Digital International Relations (5 credits)
  • Middle East and North Africa (5 credits)
  • Multidisciplinary project – Challenge based project based on UN SDG (20 credits, year long)

Choose 2 of 3:

  • Decarbonisation for a Sustainable Future (7.5 credits)
  • Introduction to Smart Healthcare Technologies (7.5 credits)
  • Manufacturing Systems (7.5 credits)

Why DCU?

  • Classes will be smaller than is typical and only twenty five ambitious students will be admitted in the first year
  • Collaborative work in class and for assessment purposes will be emphasised
  • Address challenges within our networks in the public, private, and non-profit sectors 
  • Guide you in selecting your own team challenges
  • Project-based learning tackling real world problems

Exceptional Facilities

DCU students enjoy exceptional teaching and learning facilities across our 3 academic campuses. These include modern learning theatres, research centres, television and sound studios, classrooms, computer suites and advanced laboratories in the areas of languages, engineering, physics, chemistry and biotechnology, as well as a sports performance centre and a virtual hospital ward.

A Vibrant, Dynamic Social Environment

Student facilities include a superb sports complex with a 25 metre pool, two libraries and The Helix, our renowned performing arts centre. DCU has invested over €230m in developing new, world-class facilities across our three academic campuses. The U building is home to the more than one hundred and twenty student clubs and societies. This commitment to student facilities means that our world-class learning experiences are complemented by a vibrant, dynamic social environment.

Employers are already demanding technology-savvy, quantitatively strong generalists and this programme will produce the sort of fit-for-the-future people required. Technology is changing at a rapid rate and organisations need to adapt to keep up in this digital era.

Graduates of the BSc in Global Challenges will be prepared to be future leaders who are big picture thinkers, creative problem solvers, socially engaged and passionate about social and technological innovation.  

Graduates will be equipped with the skills to work across disciplines, crossing traditional boundaries in solving complex real world problems. They will have the ability to plan and manage complex projects involving multiple stakeholders. 

This will be based on an understanding of the full societal, economic and political impacts of implementing novel technological solutions.

Career areas:

  • Business and consulting
  • Technology
  • Healthcare
  • Local authorities and planning
  •  International development
  • Civil Service
  • Diplomatic Service
  • Non profit sector
  • Policy evaluation

Future Careers

  • Project leader
  • Project director
  • Innovation Strategist
  • Business Innovator
  • Digital innovation Strategist
  • Sustainability Manager
  • Smart cities specialist
  • Corporate Social Responsibility Manager
  • Politician
  • Researcher



Leaving Cert

In addition to the general entry requirements for admission to the university the following entry requirements apply

Minimum of H5/O2 in Mathematics

GCE A Level

In addition to the general entry requirements for admission to the university the following entry requirements apply

GCE A Level C Mathematics

FET Level 5

For details of QQI requirements and relevant codes please click here. Simply enter the DC code for the programme you are interested in or if you are not sure of the code enter DC in the Select by Institution option, then click on Go. 

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.

Next Steps

Mature Applicants

All mature applicants apply through the CAO by 1st February. For further information and for special application procedures for mature students, please click here

Applicants presenting EU school Leaving Examinations

Apply through the Central Applications Office (CAO) by 1st February or 1st May

Applicants presenting examinations from outside the EU

Candidates should apply directly to DCU. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis up to 1st July. All Non-EU candidates are advised to apply early, as places are limited.

Make an Application

Candidates required to apply through the CAO can apply online at
Candidates required to apply directly to DCU can download, print and complete a direct application form R10 by clicking here