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UCC Postgraduate courses


Course Fact File
Duration1 Year Full-time; 2 Years Part-time
Teaching ModeFull-time, Part-Time
NFQ LevelLevel 9
Closing DateRolling deadline. Open until all places have been filled. Early application is advised.
Non-EU Closing DateOpen until all places have been filled or no later than 30 June. Early application is advised.
Start Date9 September 2024

Course Outline

Our MA History is a comprehensive programme that is exceptionally flexible and customisable. It offers a work placement, explores public history, and grants the freedom to choose between four specialist streams:

  • Medieval and Renaissance History
  • Media and History
  • Modern Ireland
  • European and International History

In addition, our integrated skills training cultivates the contribution of historical perspectives and methods for contemporary life and work, and you will gain practical experience and skills by opting for a placement where historical and transferable skills are utilised.

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 who will facilitate your ambitions for historical research and academia. We consciously build on links with the media, voluntary organisations, the heritage industry, government, and business highlighting the paths available to our History graduates.

See our School of History page for more information.

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 is taught during weekday working hours over two years.


Part I (45 credits total)

  • HI6075 Making History Public (10 credits)
  • HI6076 Changing Directions in History: Transformative Historians and their Work (5 credits)

Specialist Stream (20 credits)

Medieval and Renaissance History

  • HI6090 The Insular World in Text and Image (10 credits)
  • HI6077 The Classical Revival 1250-1500 (5 credits)
  • HI6078 New World, Ancient Texts (5 credits) 
  • HI6094 Imagining the Medieval City: Historical Contexts for Medievalists (10 credits)              

Modern Ireland

  • HI6074 Debates in the Irish Revolution (10 credits)
  • HI6087 Healthcare in Ireland, 1750-present (10 credits)

Media and History

  • 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)

Plus 10 credits from any stream or choose one of:

  • HI6063 Work Placement and Portfolio (10 credits)
  • LT6001 Beginners' Latin (10 credits)

Part II

  • HI6100 Dissertation (45 credits)

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.

Academic Programme Catalogue

See the Academic Programme Catalogue where you can search for the complete and up-to-date content for this course. Note that the modules for all courses are subject to change from year to year. For complete descriptions of individual modules, see the Book of Modules.

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.

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

View our School of History page for a list of current staff.

Why Choose This Course

We are proud to offer you this MA programme which embraces history in all its facets. Our MA will offer you extraordinary insights 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.

For more information see our School of History page.

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 consultations, 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?

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.).

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 including:

  • 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 studies 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 MA graduates 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.

Applicants 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 their 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.

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.
English Language Requirements

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

Fees and Costs

Postgraduate EU and International Fees 2024/2025

See our Postgraduate EU and Non-EU (International) Fee Schedule for the latest information.


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

Fee payment 

Fees are payable in two equal instalments. First payment is at registration and the balance usually by the end of January.

How can I pay? 

See different options on our How Do I Pay My Fees? page.

Any questions? See the 'Contact Us' section on the Fees Office page.

How To 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.

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 
  • 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 Open until all places have been filled or no later than 30 June. Early application is advised.

Apply Now

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact