UCC Postgraduate courses


About This Course

Fact File

  • Title


  • Code


  • College

    Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences

  • Duration

    1 Year Full-time; 2 Years Part-time

  • Teaching Mode

    Full-time, Part-Time

  • Qualifications


  • EU Fees

    Full-time €6,130; Part-time €3,130 (Year 1), €3,130 (Year 2)
    See Fees and Costs for full details.

  • Non-EU Fees


  • Entry Requirements

    See Requirements for full details.

  • Closing Date

    Open for EU applications, check rounds closing under How to Apply

  • Non-EU Closing Date

    30 June 2023

  • Start Date

    11 September 2023

Course Outline

This comprehensive programme is exceptionally flexible and customisable. It offers a work placement, explores Public History and grants the freedom to choose between four pillars (Medieval and Renaissance, Media, Irish and International/European History).

One of the programme’s qualities is its integrated skills training, in particular the value it places on cultivating the contribution of historical perspectives and methods for contemporary life and work. Students gain practical experience and skills by opting for a placement where historical and transferable skills are utilised.

The MA consciously builds on links with the media, voluntary organisations, the heritage industry, government and business highlighting the paths available to graduates.

The programme will allow you to develop your research ability by working on a dissertation reflecting your interests and you will be expertly supervised by leading scholars. The path to a career in historical research and academia is assisted.

Find out more about our School of History here.

This 12-month course consists of two parts – a six-month taught component, which overlaps with an ongoing research phase, culminating in a 20,000-word dissertation. The part-time option will be taught during weekday working hours over 2 years.

Course content

Part I

In Part I, students take the following compulsory modules:

  • HI6075 Making History Public
  • HI6076 Changing Directions in History: Transformative Historians and their Work

Students also take 20 credits of their choice from one of the following streams:

Medieval and Renaissance History

  • HI6090 The Insular World in Text and Image (10 credits)
  • HI6077 The Classical Revival  1250-1500 (5 credits)
  • HI6078 New Worlds, Ancient Texts (5 credits)                 

Modern Ireland

  • HI6074 Debates in the Irish Revolution (10 credits)
  • HI6087 Healthcare in Ireland, 1750-present (10 credits)
  • HI6082 Female Activism and Feminism in Ireland, c. 1860-1985 (10 credits) 

Media and History

  • HI6081 History on Screen: Film, Television and History (10 credits)
  • HI6084 From Wireless to the World Wide Web: Radio as Historical Source (10 credits)
  • HI6083 Radicalism, Dissent and the Print Media in Modern Ireland (10 credits)

European and International History

  • HI6026 US Foreign Policy and Contemporary History (10 credits)
  • HI6045 War and Peace: the European State System from 1648 to 1990 (10 credits)
  • HI6086 Booms and Busts: Key Issues in International Finance since 1700 (10 credits)

Students take an additional 10 credits from any stream or they may choose:

  • HI6063 Work Placement and Portfolio (10 credits)

Part II

In Part II, students work closely with an academic supervisor to complete a 20,000-word dissertation on a topic of their choosing that normally reflects their specialist interests.

Given that this MA is delivered by a large and dynamic School, there are ample opportunities for discretionary engagement in field trips, conferences, seminars and other related activities.

Please see the Academic Calendar for more information on course and module content.

Postgraduate Diploma in History

MA candidates who pass Part I and opt not to proceed to Part II of the Master’s programme may register for HI6085 Research Project (15 credits) and, on successful completion of HI6085, are awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in History. Students must submit HI6085 to the School by the second Friday in September in the same academic year or may register for HI6085 in the following academic year (part-time), following completion of Part I.

Candidates who pass Part I and opt to proceed to Part II of the Master’s programme and who fail, or fail to submit, Part II may register for HI6085 in the following academic year (part-time), and upon successful completion, will be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in History.

Postgraduate Certificate in History

MA Candidates who pass these 30 credits of taught modules may opt to exit the programme and be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate in History.


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 programme takes place from September to March approximately. The programme comprises a judicious blend of seminars, lectures, directed study, consultations and self-directed study.  There is an inherent flexibility around inquiry-led components and ample time and space is timetabled to allow research and critical reflection. Most weeks, students will have 15 -18 hours of reading in addition to assignments. Class contact hours vary depending on module choice but usually range from five to six hours per week.

Preparation for the research part of the programme happens throughout the year (identifying a suitable research topic, liaising with an appropriate supervisor etc.) and the dissertation completion phase occurs between April and August approximately. 


In the main, the MA is continuously assessed. A variety of assessment modes (e.g. long and short essays, literature reviews, proposals, blogs, web displays, radio archive analyses, treaty/document critiques, exhibitions, work placement portfolios, in-class assignments,  oral presentations, producing a radio documentary, group project, etc.) cultivate a wide range of skills. The precise assessment mix is governed by module choice. One elective includes a formal written examination.

You undertake independent research for your dissertation in close consultation with your supervisor. The 50% weighting for the dissertation reflects the importance attached to independent research.

Who teaches this course

Why Choose This Course

Find out more about our School of History here.

We are proud to offer you this programme which embraces history in all its facets. This programme will offer you extraordinary insight including:

  • An exceptional diversity of modules by national and international standards
  • Enormous flexibility to craft the degree you want
  • Empowers students to contribute positively to the world of work and wider society
  • Enhances the applied skills of a historian (Public and Applied History)
  • Promotes employability with a work placement (optional)
  • Backed by a department with a strong tradition of public engagement and an international reputation

Placement or Study Abroad Information

Placement is an optional part of the programme. Graduates taking up this route will be offered access to one-to-one consultation, workshops and advice regarding job placement and internship options. 

Skills and Careers Information

What can I do after I graduate with an MA in History?

Our graduates of History can be assured that the past record of their predecessors in gaining employment is second to none. UCC’s School of History is committed to delivering degrees designed to develop students’ skills to respond effectively to the demands of the world of work. 

The careers and workplace prospects for History graduates are excellent, which reflects the wide applicability of the discipline’s skills and its high standards.  Contrary to popular perceptions, an MA in History does not necessarily lead to employment in the teaching profession, academia, libraries, research, archives, and so forth. It could do so, but the versatility of History graduates is well-known.

Past MA graduates work in all walks of life nationally and across the globe, not least in government, multinational firms and international organisations. Many have risen to positions of national and international responsibility and influence (entrepreneurs, top-level management,  marketing managers, advertising, ambassadors, writers, politicians, museum directors, professors, technologists, think tanks etc.).

Why? The innovative teaching and assessment regime offered by the School instills practical transferable skills (e.g. web displays, blogging, report writing, presentations, portfolios) supplementing the core strengths of the discipline (e.g. analysis, source criticism, inquiry-driven, meticulousness, information management, synthesis, clarity, breadth, and depth of perspectives).

Depending on individual choice, other skills may be cultivated such as conference planning and delivery, event planning, financial management, team building, leadership, negotiation, representation of collective interests etc. Optional engagement with the History Postgraduate Association, the Historical Society and School events (seminars, conferences, symposia) add additional competencies.

 Occupations associated with an MA in History?

Our graduates have a strong record of success in the following fields:

  • Broadcasting and the media
  • Central and local government (Ireland, the UK, and Europe)
  • Civil Service (Ireland, the UK, and Europe) and Public Service
  • Diplomacy and statecraft (Department of Foreign Affairs)
  • Heritage and museums
  • International and regional organisations (UN, EU etc.)
  • Journalism
  • Librarianship, archives, and information management
  • Non-governmental organisations
  • Politics (local, national and European)
  • Policy research and formulation
  • Public relations
  • Publishing
  • Teaching and universities (Ireland and the world)

Many of our graduates succeed in other fields too:

  • Conference and exhibition managers and organisers
  • Business and entrepreneurship
  • Customer service occupations
  • Event planning and delivery
  • Law
  • Management
  • Marketing and sales professionals
  • University management and administration (in Ireland, UK, USA etc.)

Students often progress to successful PhD study in all areas of History becoming tenured university lecturers and researchers in Ireland, the UK, US, Canada, Australia, Europe and elsewhere.

What are our graduates doing?

  • Janine Hildebrandt specialised in Medieval History and is now permanently employed in project management in Germany.
  • Katriona Burke specialised in Medieval History and now works with the Office of Public Works in Ireland.
  • Fiona McCarthy who worked in Medieval History is now a second-level teacher. There are many examples of this career path.
  • Paul Flynn, who studied International Relations, now works in the British Cabinet Office in London.

Several MAs work in various government departments including the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Finance, and Department of Agriculture.

Many who studied media history at MA level are involved in the broadcasting and media professions in various capacities (editing of RTÉ Radio 1 programme ‘The Media Show’, programme director of Cork Film Festival, sub-editor of The Cork Independent, journalism, TV researcher, book editor).

Numerous MA holders have won Irish Research Council Government of Ireland PhD Scholarships and have gone on to complete PhDs at UCC, or elsewhere in Ireland, the UK and the US. Several have proceeded to academic careers. For instance, Tomás O’Sullivan worked on Early Christian Ireland, and following a PhD, is now a professor at the University of St. Louis. Another, Dr. Caroline Connolly, was a lecturer at the University of Kent but has now moved to lecture in the Communications Department of Dublin City University. 


To be considered for admission to the MA in History programme, an applicant will normally possess a Second Class Honours Grade I in a primary honours degree (NFQ, Level 8) or equivalent in History, or a cognate/suitable subject (normally in the Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences or Law). For North American students a cumulative GPA of 3.3 is normal.

Candidates who hold a primary degree in History or a cognate/suitable subject with a Second Class Honours Grade II will also be considered (normally in the Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences or Law), as will those with a GPA between 2.7 and 3.2. These applicants will be requested to provide additional information, documentation, samples of work and/or be interviewed by a Selection Committee.

In exceptional circumstances, under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), professional experience in a relevant and related field (e.g. working in publishing, journalism, the heritage industry, archives etc.) may be accepted as compensating for the absence of an undergraduate degree awarded at a grade lower than Second Class Honours Grade II. Admission of such applicants will be subject to the approval of the College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences.

English Language Requirements

Applicants that are non-native speakers of the English language must meet the university-approved English language requirements. Please visit our PG English Language Requirements page for more information.

For applicants with qualifications completed outside of Ireland

Applicants must meet the required entry academic grade, equivalent to Irish requirements. For more information see our Qualification Comparison page.

International/Non-EU Applicants

For full details of the non-EU application procedure 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.
  • Note that not all courses are open to international/non-EU applicants, please check the fact file above. For more information contact the International Office.

Fees and Costs

The EU fee for this course is Full-time €6,130; Part-time €3,130 (Year 1), €3,130 (Year 2).

The Non-EU fee for this course is €16,700.


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

International Students can pay in two equal instalments once they have paid the appropriate deposit. The initial payment is due on registration and the balance usually by the end of January.

How can I pay?

You can 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.

How Do I Apply

1. Check Dates: Check the opening and closing dates for the application process in the fact file boxes at the top of the page.

  • For Irish and EU applicants we operate a rounds system and you can check the rounds closing dates here.
  • Note that not all our programmes are subject to the rounds system so check the opening and closing dates for your specific programme in the fact file boxes above.

2. Gather Documents: Scanned copies of supporting documents have to be uploaded to the UCC online application portal and include:

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

3. Apply Online: Apply online via the UCC online application portal. Note the majority of our courses have a non-refundable €50 application fee.

Any questions? Use our web enquiry form to contact us.

Additional Requirements (All Applicants)

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.

  • Briefly describe a research proposal that may form the basis of your thesis.
  • Please submit a copy of a short analytical/critical/report writing sample or essay (1,000 words approx.)

Before completing the online application, intending candidates must consult with the relevant course coordinator or prospective supervisor to discuss/confirm their proposed research area.

Dr. Hiram Morgan (Course Coordinator)
School of History, University College Cork
Email: h.morgan@ucc.ie


Deirdre O'Sullivan/Geraldine McAllister,
School of History, University College Cork

The School of History may ask applicants to provide letters of reference if necessary when considering applications. 

The closing date for non-EU applications is 30 June 2023

Apply Now

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact