School of History and Geography

MA in History

MA in History
Course Code:
Course Type:
NFQ Level:
Delivery Modes
(FT - 1 Year), (PT - 2 years)
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Gain a deeper understanding of Ireland’s social, cultural, economic and political history from the Middle Ages to the present day.

DCU's MA in History offers fresh perspectives on Ireland's journey from colony to independent state, on how Irish sovereignty has developed, on the centrality of land and landscape, and on the fluctuating fortunes of religion, language and gender. 

The combination of the disciplines of History and Geography in our school is unique in Ireland.

Through our innovative and dynamic teaching, you’ll gain rich insights on Ireland’s fascinating historical story and its broader international context; both are essential to understand the world today and how our future is being shaped.

Programme Structure and Content

Modules are taught through a combination of seminars, workshops, small group discussions and field trips. There is a strong emphasis on active and independent learning.  All modules are 10 credits and are examined by continuous assessment in the form of reviews, essays, research papers, learning journals and class presentations.


Interpretation and Argument in History 

This module introduces students to various traditions of history writing as they have evolved in the West in the modern period from Enlightenment and  romanticism to Marxism, new social and cultural history and post-colonial theory among others. Special attention is paid to Irish historiography and how it relates to global trends. 

Students will be introduced to the major areas of historical thought and interpretation, distinguishing their methodologies and approaches. They will become aware of the importance of social and political change on historians and how this has fed into directions in history writing. The module combines learning about traditions of history writing with the learning of practical skills of historiographical analysis.

Research Methods for the Historian

This module introduces a range of research methods and focuses on active engagement with the processes of gathering, evaluating and analysing historical evidence. Students are guided through the process of using archives and various online resources. 

A novel feature of this module not offered elsewhere is an introduction to Geographic Information System (GIS). A fundamental objective is to equip students to devise and execute independent research projects. The module imparts important transferrable, research and writing skills.

Ireland in the Twentieth Century: Crisis, Continuity and Change 

Crisis, continuity and change are recurring themes in the history of twentieth-century Ireland.
This module examines the central political, economic, social and cultural features of that
historical experience using primary sources in a seminar setting.


The Irish Revolution in Context

This module interrogates the Irish revolution (1912-1923) by placing it in the context of, and comparing it with, other European revolutions that occurred during that era of imperial decline. By examining Irish and other European sources, students will not only deepen their knowledge of the Irish revolution but will consider what can be learned about the Irish experience through the study of other revolutionary or state formation moments, and debate what, if anything, made the Irish experience different?

Gender and Society in Ireland since 1867 

This module examines shifting gender roles in Ireland through the lens of individual women’s lives. Using a variety of primary sources, the module will chart the trajectory of continuity and change in the construction of gender roles. 


The Writing of Irish History from the Seventeenth Century to the Present 

This module traces the evolution and development of the writing of history in Ireland, beginning in the early seventeenth century, until the present. The writing of history in Ireland  is distinctive because of its strongly confessional character, and the manner in which what evolved into ‘nationalist history’ is inextricably bound up with the changing manner in which Irish identity was defined by Catholicism. 

Similarly, what evolved into ‘unionist’ history in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries traced its intellectual ancestry to the emergence of a Protestant settler historical perspective. The module engages with all the major strands of written history produced in and about Ireland from the emergence of a Catholic nationalist interpretation in the early seventeenth century through to post revisionism in the twenty-first.


This year-long module allows students to produce their own piece of independent historical research, guided by a supervisor who will be an expert in the field. Click here for more information

Programme Aims and Objectives

  • Acquire specialist knowledge and understanding of the complexities of modern Irish history and historical geography
  • Enhance your critical, analytical and interpretative skills
  • Develop the ability to plan, research and write a substantial original research project
  • Cultivate transferrable skills of independent thinking, analysis, communication, organisation and time management
View the current course structure

DCU is ranked in the top 250 universities in the world in the area of Arts and Humanities by Times Higher Education, one of the leading third level ranking bodies. The School of History and Geography at DCU is unique in Ireland in its interdisciplinary range. It is recognised nationally and internationally for its high impact research on Ireland’s History, Geography and Landscape. The MA in History is led by expert faculty members whose work has been published widely in books and leading journals and disseminated in the media and other fora.

The location of DCU in Dublin makes it an ideal choice given  the range of library and research institutions in the capital, including the National Library of Ireland and the National Archives of Ireland.


"I found the MA in History at DCU a rewarding experience. I enjoyed the collegial atmosphere among the MA students and felt valued as part of the School of History and Geography. I benefited from the strength and breadth of the History staff’s expertise in modern Irish history and found the academic staff helpful and approachable. Developing an original research project under expert supervision for the MA thesis was a particular highlight and an invaluable experience. My positive experience undertaking the MA in History at DCU influenced my decision to pursue doctoral research." CORMAC KEENAN, MA in History, 2021

“The MA was a great experience. I grew a great deal during this one-year course, both personally and academically. A Master’s in History allowed me to further explore a subject which I have always loved. It also pushed me to limits I wasn't sure I could reach. I thoroughly enjoyed the modules, essays, exploring the archives for research and even writing the thesis. It was a valuable experience that I would highly recommend.” AOIFE MCCABE, MA in History

As a student of the MA in History, you will develop many aptitudes attractive to employers. These include independence of thought; the capacity to marshal, evaluate and communicate complex ideas and information; robust research and analytical skills; reflective writing, presentation and project management skills.

Potential Careers

The MA in History is highly versatile and our graduates progress to a variety of careers in sectors such as:

  • Education
  • University and arts administration
  • Business
  • Consultancy
  • The civil service
  • The heritage sector
  • Journalism
  • Media and publishing
  • Some advance to doctoral research


For admission to the MA in History, successful applicants will have:

• A degree at the level of an Irish or UK Honours undergraduate degree (H2.2 or above) or equivalent, in History or a cognate subject.

• 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.


Full time

EU Status Fee
Non EU Fee.

Part time

EU Status Fee Part-time
€4,200 Per Annum
Non EU Fee Part time
€8,100 Per Annum

Next Steps

To apply for this programme:

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

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

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.

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 or email

For non EU applicant queries, please visit or email

Commencement of Programme

The programme commences in September 2024