School of Communications

MA in Political Communication

MA in Political Communications
Course Code:
DC604
Course Type:
Postgraduate
NFQ Level:
9
Delivery Modes
Full-Time
Part-Time
Duration
(FT - 1 Year), (PT - 2 years)
call programme contact
+353 (0) 1
700 8452

The MA Political Communication at DCU offers an exciting combination of ‘the academic’ and ‘the professional’. Students examine the rapidly changing relationship between the media, politics and the public, and consider how their overlapping relations influence democracy and the distribution of power.

This programme will interest those looking to work in the wider communications sector – in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors – as well as those currently in employment who want to advance their existing careers.

For those seeking entry to the jobs market, the MAP programme now guarantees a work placement while those currently in employment (generally part-time students) complete a reflection project.

You should apply for this programme if you are interested in media coverage of politics, the role of spin, fake news, disinformation, agenda-setting, public relations, political advertising and digital media. 

All taught modules combine political communication theory and practice. Students also prepare a dissertation as a piece of independent academic research in a political communication subject area of their choice.

Graduates of the programme currently hold senior positions in the worlds of politics and public relations as well as in government, national and multinational companies, and the not-for profit sectors (see full list of current roles under ‘Careers’).

Why do this programme?

  • Work with leading research-active academics in the areas of political communication, political science and journalism studies.
  • Engage with a range of guest lecturers from national and international industry backgrounds.
  • All modules that are 100% continuous assessment with assignments including ‘real-world’ projects.
  • Undertake a supervised research dissertation on a topic of your choice in the area of political communication.
  • Complete an industry work placement with a leading organisation in the communication sector in Dublin (new for 2023/24).
  • Study on a MA programme with high employment rates in leading national and international workplaces.

Our Graduates

Graduates of the MA in Political Communication hold senior positions in the worlds of politics and public relations as well as in government, national and multinational companies, and the not-for profit sectors.

Our School

The School of Communications is an internationally-focused centre for excellence in teaching and research in media, communications and journalism. With a tradition stretching back to 1982 – and a long-established reputation as Ireland’s leading centre for communications – the School has been consistently ranked in the top 200 of almost 4,500 universities worldwide in the area of communications (QS World Rankings by Subject).

Programme Content and Structure

The MA in Political Communication examines the rapidly changing relationship between the media, politics and the public, and considers how their overlapping relations influence democracy and the distribution of power.

The Programme deals with major issues in the contemporary political communication arena including media coverage of politics, the role of spin, agenda-setting, public relations, political advertising and digital media.
Modules examine the impact of different political communication strategies on the political process, government policymaking and in the non-governmental area.

Participants are also exposed to the history of the media in Ireland and elsewhere.

Delivery

The full-time programme is delivered over a twelve-month academic year from mid-September in three parts: two twelve-week teaching semesters (mid-September to mid-December; late-January to late-April) consisting of four/five modules per semester; completion of a research dissertation for submission at the end of August.

The programme is also offered on a part-time basis over two academic years.

Timetable

Core modules in the two teaching semesters are timetabled from Monday to Thursday, generally between 4pm and 9pm.
Please note this is not an evening programme – attendance outside these core hours is occasionally required but prior notice is provided.

Modules 2024/25 (provisional)

Work Placement & New Modules

Please note as part of recent changes this programme now includes a guaranteed work placement for all students (part-time students in employment may opt for a reflective research project). New core modules include ‘Political Communications 2: Campaigns & Strategies’ and ‘Information, Manipulation and Democracy’.

Semester One: Political Communication 1: Concepts & Issues; Media and Politics in Ireland; Social Media, Journalism & Democracy; Introduction to Research Methods.

Semester Two: Political Communication 2:  Campaigns & Strategies; Information, Manipulation, and Democracy; Research Methodologies; Dissertation Preparation. 

Students also pick from optional modules including: Public Relations: Issues and Principles; Data Communication; Media Audiences, Political Economy of the Environment, and Gender & Sexuality in Digital Culture.

All taught modules combine political communication theory and practice. Students also prepare a dissertation as a piece of independent academic research in a political communication subject area of their choice.

View the current course structure

It's young, gifted and on track. DCU gives students vital experience and skills to augment their academic studies and is instrumental in producing an exceptional calibre of graduate, primed and ready to face the future. They also perform better at interview." – The Sunday Times.

DCU is a young, dynamic and ambitious university with a distinctive mission to transform lives and societies through education, research and innovation. Since admitting its first students in 1980, over 50,000 students have graduated from DCU and are now playing significant roles in enterprise and business globally. 

The School of Communications is an internationally-focused centre for excellence in teaching and research in media, communications and journalism. With a tradition stretching back to 1982 – and a long-established reputation as Ireland’s leading centre for communications – the School has been consistently ranked in the top 200 of almost 4,500 universities worldwide in the area of communications (QS World Rankings by Subject).
 

Graduates of the MA in Political Communication hold senior positions in the worlds of politics and public relations as well as in government, national and multinational companies, and the not-for profit sectors (see full list of current roles under ‘Careers’).

The MA in Political Communication programme will interest those looking to work in the wider communications sector – in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors – as well as those currently in employment who want to advance their existing careers.

Graduates of the programme currently hold senior positions in the worlds of politics and public relations as well as in government, national and multinational companies, and the not-for-profit sectors.

Our graduates are found in political, policy and media advisory roles in all the main political parties in Ireland – and in the European Parliament – and also work as senior officials in many government departments. They are also pursuing successful careers in leading public relations companies and across the not-for-profit and corporate sectors.

Some of the positions held by MA Political Communication graduates (October 2023) include:

  • Secretary General, Department of Justice;
  • Senior Political Advisor to the Tánaiste;
  • Advisor to Director of Credit Institutions Supervision, Central Bank of Ireland;
  • Press Office Manager, Department of the Taoiseach;
  • Private Secretary to the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform;
  • Head of Employee Communications, AIB;
  • Internal Communications Manager, Bank of Ireland;
  • Head Of Corporate Affairs, SSE Airtricity;
  • Director of Communications, An Garda Síochána;
  • Senior Manager, IDM External Communications, Pfizer;
  • Communications Corporate Affairs and Director, Irish Distillers;
  • Global Communication Lead, AXA Group;
  • Senior Associate, First Derivate;
  • Political Advisor to Minister of State for Overseas Development Aid and Diaspora;
  • Communications & Public Affairs Manager, Asahi Europe & International;
  • Special Advisor, Minister of State for Rural and Community Development
  • Parliamentary Assistants; Houses of the Oireachtas
  • Head of Digital, Fianna Fail;
  • Director of Advocacy, Communication and Research; Focus Ireland;
  • Head of Advocacy Campaigns, Irish Cancer Society;
  • Director of Communications, 4 Day Week Global;
  • Director of Policy, Early Childhood Ireland;
  • Communications and Research Executive; Nursing Homes Ireland;
  • Spokesperson of the Chairman, Fraktion der Freien Demokraten (FDP), (Berlin);
  • Media Advisor, Yes23 (Australia);
  • Head of Media, Public Affairs and Policy, Business in the Community (UK);
  • Client Services Associate, Guidepoint (Greece);
  • Head of Transparency (Assistant Secretary), Department of Justice;
  • Senior Manager, Department of Health;
  • Communications & Public Affairs Manager, National Transport Authority;
  • Communications Manager, Inland Fisheries Ireland;
  • Director of Operations (Prisoners and Reintegration), The Probation Service;
  • Press Officer, Irish Defence Forces;
  • Account Executive, Murray Public Relations; 
  • Moderation Service Specialist; TikTok;
  • Marketing Executive, Irish Exporters Association.

Graduates also work at organisations including Aldi, the Department of Transport, Children’s Rights Alliance and Young Social Innovators; many others are employed by public relations/public affairs companies and are self-employed running their own communications businesses.

 

 

Requirements

For admission to the MA in Political Communication programme, successful applicants will have:

• A degree at the level of an Irish or UK Honours undergraduate degree (H2.2 or above) or equivalent.

OR

• Applicants with appropriate combinations of professional qualifications and experience may also be considered. This includes discipline-specific knowledge and know-how; transferable skills; basic research competency; personal effectiveness.

• Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) applicants are required to submit a cover letter along with their application under the Transcripts section of the portal, affirming their intent to apply for RPL. For more information on RPL see here

• International candidates who are non-native speakers of English must satisfy the University of their competency in the English language.

 

Fees

Full time

EU Status Fee
€7,700
Non EU Fee.
€16,500

Part time

EU Status Fee Part-time
€4,200 Per Annum
Non EU Fee Part time
€8,000 Per Annum

Next Steps

All Applicants must apply through DCU's Student Application Portal which is available here. Here's a quick step by step guide if you need help with your application:

• Provide Academic Transcripts for each and every year of study with English translation if applicable.

• If applicable, provide evidence of competence in the English language as per DCU entry requirements. Please see link http://www.dcu.ie/registry/english.shtml.

Please note if you are a non EU student and require a study visa, you are not eligible to apply for part-time programmes as study visas are only granted for full-time programmes.

 

Application Deadlines

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the programme is full or until the following dates:

  • Closing date for non EU applicants is 1st July 2024.
  • Closing date for EU applicants is 31st July 2024.

Note applicants who require a study visa for the purposes of studying at DCU, are advised to apply as early as possible.

All entry requirements should be met before the commencement of the programme.

Application Queries

For EU applicant queries, please visit https://www.dcu.ie/registry/eu-postgraduate-taught-admissions or email postgraduateadmissions@dcu.ie


For non EU applicant queries, please visit https://www.dcu.ie/registry/international-admissions-undergraduate-and-postgraduate or email internationaladmissions@dcu.ie

Commencement of Programme

The programme commences in September 2024.