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Course Fact File
Duration1 Year Full-time; 2 Years Part-time
Teaching ModeFull-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

The MA in International Relations is a one-year comprehensive programme based at the School of History in UCC. The programme draws on international relations, conflict/peace studies and international history; it explores issues such as war and peace, the international order, international crises, counter-insurgency, terrorism and foreign policy.

Our MA course combines an exploration of the contemporary world with a study of the past. It is a field of study that considers the subtleties of diplomacy together with the stark realities of state interactions and looks at how these interactions impact our world. This field of study is of immense importance in today’s richly connected complex world and consequently, individuals skilled in navigating these international relations are prized by potential employers.


Students take modules to the value of 90 credits comprising taught modules to the value of 45 credits (Part I) and a dissertation to the value of 45 credits (Part II). 

Part I 

  • HI6026 US Foreign Policy and Contemporary History (10 credits)
  • HI6056 Issues in World Politics (5 credits)
  • HI6092 International Relations Theories and Approaches (10 credits)
  • HI6035 Foreign Policy & Diplomacy: Case Studies in Crises and Decision-making (10 credits) 

Plus 10 credits from:

  • HI6045 War and Peace: the European State System from 1648 to 1990 (10 credits)
  • HI6060 The Politics of Terrorism (10 credits)
  • GV6115 European Security (10 Credits)
  • LW6633 Public International (5 Credits)* and
  • LW6566 Contemporary Issues in Public International Law (5 credits)*
  • HI6063 Work Placement and Portfolio (10 Credits)

Part II 

  • HI6100 History Dissertation (45 credits): A dissertation of a maximum of 20,000 words must be submitted by a specified date in September. Your thesis will be on a relevant topic within the broad areas of international relations, including international history and conflict/peace studies.

*The two 5-credit LW modules (LW6633 & LW6566) must be studied as a 10-credit package.

Note: All electives are chosen in consultation with the programme director and are subject to availability and timetable requirements.

Postgraduate Certificate in History (International Relations): Students who pass at least 30 credits of taught modules may opt to exit the programme and be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate in History (International Relations). 

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 Masters in International Relations is a full-time, taught programme running for 12 months or part-time over 24 months from the date of first registration for the programmes. The part-time option will be taught during weekday working hours over 2 years. In total, you will attend 144 lecture/seminar hours at UCC.

The taught half of the course is centred on continuous assessment such as long and short essays, the compilation of portfolios, policy papers, in-class exercises, analysis of international texts, class participation, and oral presentations. There is one formal written examination. The 50% weighting for the thesis reflects the importance of independent research.

Who teaches on the programme

Why Choose This Course

The MA was the launchpad for a career that has taken me to Brussels and then onwards to London, working for a variety of global organisations in the public and private sectors...

Fintan Hastings, MA Graduate

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The course gave me a broad introduction to the international system and its various aspects, both at EU level and globally...

John Mortell, MA Graduate

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It challenged my personal perspectives and inspired me to try and make a positive difference in the world...

Laura Cashman, MA Graduate

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Support at UCC seems to be endless!...

Abimael Barbosa dos Santos, MA Graduate

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This is one of the first MA courses in Ireland to offer you the opportunity to expand your knowledge of international relations. The course has a very successful track record and has produced many high-calibre graduates who have gone on to enter the worlds of international diplomacy, academia, government, and business. It offers a unique combination of contemporary and historical approaches to analysing international relations.

Connected Curriculum

Our learning approach reflects our commitment to the Connected Curriculum where we emphasise the connection between students, learning, research and leadership through our vision for a Connected University. Our staff are at the forefront of this integrative approach to learning and will support you in making meaningful connections within and between topics such as history, politics, law, conflict, society, and policy.

Available Scholarships

At UCC we support our student community by offering scholarships and prizes to prospective and current students. Please see the Scholarships & Prizes page for more information. See also the College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences postgraduate study page.

Skills and Careers Information

Past graduates of our course have gone on to further study, academia, diplomatic service, international organisations, the EU, international think tanks, non-governmental organisations and public service. Others have embarked on careers in multinational companies, as well as in traditional sectors such as teaching, journalism, and the civil service.

Postgraduate research

The School of History at UCC is a leading international centre for postgraduate research in history, international relations, and European studies. Consult our PhD page for areas of potential PhD supervision in the field of international relations.


To be considered for registration an applicant will normally have a primary degree of at least Second Class Honours Grade I level in a suitable subject or the equivalent.

Applications from students with a Second Class Honours Grade II degree in a suitable subject may also be considered under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). These applicants may be requested to submit a proposal and/or attend an interview.

All applicants must satisfy a Selection Committee which may request applicants to provide letters of reference.

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 for 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:

  • 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/creative writing sample or essay (1,000 words approx.).

Before completing the online application, intending applicants must consult with the relevant course coordinator or prospective supervisor to discuss/confirm their proposed research area. The School of History may ask applicants to provide letters of reference if necessary when considering applications. 

Course Coordinator

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.

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For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact