UCC Postgraduate courses

International Public Policy and Diplomacy

About This Course

Fact File

  • Title

    International Public Policy and Diplomacy

  • Code


  • College

    Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences

  • Duration

    1 year Full-time; 2 years Part-time

  • Teaching Mode

    Full-time, Part-Time. See Additional Teaching Mode Information for more info.

  • Qualifications


  • EU Fees 2021

    €7,630; €3,880 (Year 1 Part-time); €3,880 (Year 2 Part-time)
    See Fees and Costs for full details.

  • Non-EU Fees 2021


  • Entry Requirements

    The course is open to students of all disciplines. The entry requirement is a Second Class Honours Grade I in a primary honours degree (NFQ, Level 8) in any subject. See Requirements for full details.

  • Closing Date

    Closed for applications: we will reopen in November.

  • Non-EU Closing Date

    1 July 2021

  • Start Date

    13 September 2021

Course Outline

The MSc in International Public Policy and Diplomacy is an innovative, interdisciplinary, taught master’s course that provides graduates with the expertise required for successful careers in international policy environments.

The course is offered by UCC’s Departments of Government and Politics, History, Law and Management and Marketing, and will give you access to expertise across a diverse range of subjects. The MSc International Public Policy and Diplomacy is strongly orientated toward vocational skills training, through coursework and an opportunity to undertake a work placement.

The course will be of interest to you if you aspire to a career in, or are already working in, departments of foreign affairs and other government ministries, international political and financial organisations, the armed forces, aid agencies, non-governmental organisations, think-tanks, and international businesses.

The MSc in International Public Policy and Diplomacy is divided in two parts.

Part 1:

In Part 1, students take a combination of compulsory and elective modules.

The core modules of Part 1 invite you to engage with:

· the contemporary global challenges facing policymakers

· processes of government decision-making in relation to international affairs

· international economic policies and institutions

· international law

· the institutions and policies of the European Union (EU).

In addition, you will develop practical and analytical skills relevant to working in international affairs and gain an insight into personal and group dynamics associated with leadership.

You will also choose from a range of electives offered by a wide range of subjects including Government and Politics, Law, History, Philosophy, Sociology, Languages and many more.

Part 2:

Part 2 of the course challenges you to apply the skills acquired in Part 1 either by undertaking:

· an independent research dissertation, or

· a work-based research dissertation.

On completion of the course, you will be able to identify and assess global policy challenges and global policymaking processes and will have gained expertise in analysis and evaluation, report writing, oral presentation skills and leadership.

Further details of the programme content is outlined in the College Academic Calendar here

Additional Teaching Mode Information

The part-time option will be taught during weekday working hours over 2 years.


Further details on the modules listed above can be found in our book of modules. Any modules listed above are indicative of the current set of modules for this course but are subject to change from year to year.

University Calendar

You can find the full academic content for the current year of any given course in our University Calendar.

Course Practicalities

The taught part of the course runs from September to the end of the following March. You will complete the research dissertation between April and the end of September.

During the taught part of the course, students have approximately 8-10 hours per week of lectures/seminars. This is supplemented by recommended reading, preparation of presentations and other group work and time spent completing assignments (essays, policy reports, research projects, etc).

In part 1, the course is assessed through a variety of course work assignments, including

· research essays
· policy reports
· presentations
· group work
· seminar discussions.

The assessment is designed to help you to develop both an understanding of issues and the practical skills necessary to work in international affairs.

In part 2 of the course, students complete a research dissertation which takes the format of either:

· a 15,000-word independent research dissertation, or
· an 8,000-10,000-word work-based research dissertation & a 1000-word placement practice report.

The course is taught by staff of the Departments of Government and Politics, Law and History. Our staff have expertise in areas such as global governance/international organisations, foreign policies and foreign policy decision-making, the European Union, international law and human rights, gender politics as well as in more specialised areas such as US foreign policy, European security and migration.

You can search UCC's Institutional Research Information System for staff profiles.

Why Choose This Course

Student Testimonials

UCC is the best place to study and MSc IPPD is unique in many ways

Mekbib Mengesha Kassahun - Ethiopian Representative in IGAD, a Regional Organization Djibouti

Find Out More
I’d highly recommend anyone to study this course.

Michael Forde - R&D Liaison | National Space Centre, Ireland

Find Out More

Key features of the MSc in International Public Policy and Diplomacy are its focus on policy issues and the way in which it gives you the practical skills necessary to work in international policy environments. In this course you will engage with the most contemporary debates and issues facing the global policymaking community and have direct interaction with current and retired policy-makers through classes, guest lectures and department seminars.

These features of the MSc International Public Policy and Diplomacy give our graduates a competitive edge. Past students repeatedly comment on the value of the skills component of the course in exposing them to international environments and in engendering a deep understanding of this exciting and evolving field.


Placement or Study Abroad Information

Work-based research dissertation

As part of the MSc International Public Policy and Diplomacy, students must complete a research dissertation. Some students will have the opportunity to complete their research dissertation in a work placement setting. Work placement range in duration of between three and five months

Students who undertake a work-based research dissertation, do so with a variety of organisations/institutions working in areas related to international affairs, such as government ministries, international organisations, the offices of elected representatives, think-tanks and non-governmental organisations. We have relationships with a variety of organisations. For more details, please click here

Students have been assigned placement opportunities in major international cities, such as Brussels, London and Washington DC, as well as in Cork and Dublin

Please note that the programme is working within national public health guidelines as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Due to Covid-19, work-from-home advisories apply in many sectors and international travel restrictions apply across many countries.   These parameters shape the extend and the format of placement offerings

Specialist career advice is available to students through a Work Placement Manager and support is provided in the planning for and application to work placement organisations. Classes offering career talks, advice, and skills also form part of the course delivery

Skills and Careers Information

We recognise the importance of equipping our students with the skills they need to progress following graduation. You will be given expert advice on career development by a dedicated work placement manager and also have access to UCC’s Careers Service.

The course has established links with important international policy institutions from which you will benefit. Having completed the course, you will be a skilled analyst of international affairs and have the confidence and experience to apply that expertise in the real world.


  • The minimum requirement for applicants is a Second Class Honours Grade I in a primary honours degree (NFQ, Level 8) in any subject;
  • Candidates who hold a Second Class Honours Grade II in a primary honours degree (NFQ, Level 8) will also be considered under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) subject to their 'motivation statement' and references;
  • In Exceptional circumstances, substantial professional experience in a relevant field may be accepted as compensating for the absence of an undergraduate degree, subject to approval by the programme director and the College of Arts Celtic Studies and Social Science.
  • All applicants will be required to submit a 'personal statement' (indicating why they are interested in taking the MSc (International Public Policy and Diplomacy) and why they think they would be suited to the programme.

English Language Requirements

Applicants that are non-native speakers of the English language must meet the university approved English language requirements available here.

For applicants with qualifications completed outside of Ireland

Applicants must meet the required entry academic grade, equivalent to Irish requirements, please find our grades comparison by country here

International/non-EU applicants

For full details of the non-EU application procedure please visit our how to apply pages for international students. In UCC, we use the term programme and course interchangeably to describe what a person has registered to study in UCC and its constituent colleges, schools, and departments.

Not all courses are open to international/non-EU applicants, please check the fact file above.

For more information please contact the International Office.

Fees and Costs

The EU fee for this course is €7,630; €3,880 (Year 1 Part-time); €3,880 (Year 2 Part-time).

The Non-EU fee for this course is €18,080.


If your course required a deposit, that figure will be deducted from your second semester fee payment in January.

EU student fee payment:

Fees for EU students are payable in two equal instalments. First payment at registration in August and the second in January.

International student fee payment:

Fees for Non-EU Students are payable in one instalment in August.

How can I pay?

By Credit/Debit card online or by credit transfer.


If you have any questions on fee payment please email our Fees Office at fees@ucc.ie .

Non-EU Fees

The fee schedule for 2019/2020 is available here.

How Do I Apply

1. Choose Course

Firstly choose your course. Applicants can apply for up to two courses under one application. Details of taught courses are available on our online prospectus.

2. Apply Online

Once you have chosen your course you can apply online at the online application portal. Applicants will need to apply before the course closing date. There is a non-refundable €50 application fee for all courses apart from the Education - Professional Master of Education - (Secondary School/Post-Primary Teacher Training) which has a €100 application fee.

Applicants for the Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health Nursing must apply on the PAC website when the programme opens for applications.

3. Gather Supporting Documents

Scanned copies of the following documents will need to be uploaded to the online application portal in support of your application. Applicants may need to produce the original documents if you are accepted onto a course and register at UCC.

  • Original qualification documents listed on your application including transcripts of results from institutions other than UCC
  • Any supplementary items requested for your course.

Please log into the online application portal for more details.

4. Application processing timeline

Our online application portal opens for applications for most courses in early November of each year. Check specific course details. 

5. Rounds

For courses that are in the rounds system (Irish and EU applicants), please check the rounds closing dates here.

Questions on how to apply?

Please use our web enquiry form to contact us.

Additional Requirements

Please note you will be required to provide additional information as part of the online application process for this programme. This will include the following questions:

  • You may enter the details of professional or voluntary positions held. We strongly encourage you to complete this section with all relevant work experiences that will support your application.

  • Please describe your motivation and readiness for this programme.

  • Please enter the names and email addresses of 2 referees. 

The closing date for non-EU applications is 1 July 2021

Apply Now

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact