School of Law and Government

MA in International Relations

MA in International Relations
Course Code:
Course Type:
NFQ Level:
Delivery Modes
(FT - 1 Year), (PT - 2 years)
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700 8264


The pace of change in our world continues to grow. Countries and peoples are connected in increasingly complex ways. The list of challenges – and opportunities – is long, including populism, inequality, climate change, conflict, and governance. A better understanding of the world and the processes at work are essential. This MA programme aims to equip you with tools to analyse our world the choices we face.

The DCU MA in International Relations is the oldest in Dublin and is known for its dedicated staff and diverse student body.  We welcome students from all over the world, as well as those with different career experiences, and those who have studied very different subjects at the undergraduate level.  Our intellectual approach is also diverse. We see international relations as the meeting point of diverse theoretical, disciplinary, and geographical perspectives.  

In the first semester, the core introductory subjects are offered in small classes that offer students an intellectual toolkit to use throughout the course, and also help the students to get to know each other.  In the second semester, students can choose from the many optional modules developed specially for the MA in International Relations, as well as modules from a host of other programmes in international relations, security studies, public policy, and law.  These normally include issues such as international politics, human rights, the economy, communications, trade, area studies, and environmental protection. Students also write a dissertation of up to 15,000 words, and receive support in doing so from the beginning of the course, including one-to-one supervision.

Full-time and part-time options

The MA can be completed on a full-time basis over 12 months, or part-time over two years. The year starts in the second half of September. For the part-time course, the compulsory modules, and a selection of the most important optional ones, are normally taught on a single afternoon/evening per week between 2pm and 8pm. Depending on which optional modules are chosen, part time students would not normally have activities scheduled outside of this time.

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.

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.

What our graduates say

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

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.

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.

Potential Careers

  • Public Policy Analyst
  • Financial/Economic Analyst
  • Social Policy Program Officer
  • Foreign Service Officer
  • Immigration and Revenue Officer
  • Legislative Analyst
  • Political Aide
  • Politician
  • Lobbyist
  • Diplomat
  • Economic Development Officer
  • Editor
  • Press Officer
  • Print Journalist
  • Publisher
  • Public Relations Specialist
  • Television and Radio Journalist


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

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

• If the applicant has not yet completed their degree, then conditional offer may be made on basis of most recent grades and pending the achievement of no less than a H2.2 degree,

• 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.

• 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

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 or email

For non EU applicant queries, please visit or email

Commencement of Programme

The programme commences in September 2024.