UCC Postgraduate courses

International Relations

About This Course

Fact File

  • Title

    International Relations

  • Code

    CKE45 Full-time; CKD22 Part-time

  • College

    Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences

  • Duration

    1 year Full-time; 2 years Part-time

  • Teaching Mode

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

  • Qualifications


  • EU Fees 2018

    See Fees and Costs for full details.

  • Non-EU Fees 2018


  • Entry Requirements

    Primary degree of at least 2H1 level in a suitable subject or the equivalent. See Requirements for full details.

  • Closing Date

    Applications processed in rounds: See How To Apply section for full details

  • Non-EU Closing Date

    15th June

  • Start Date

    10 September 2018

Course Outline

The MA in International Relations is a one-year comprehensive course. It draws on international relations, conflict/peace studies and international history. The course explores issues such as war and peace, the international order, international crises, counterinsurgency, terrorism and foreign policy. It combines an exploration of the contemporary world with a study of the past. This one-year master’s course has both taught and research phases.

Brochure outlining structure, modules, thesis and library resources available here international-relations brochure (3,382kB)

Programme Requirements 

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)

Plus 20 credits from:
HI6035 Foreign Policy and Diplomacy: Case Studies in Crises and Decision-making (10 credits) 
HI6045 War and Peace: the European State System from 1648 to 1990 (10 credits)
HI6060 The Politics of Terrorism (10 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.

Postgraduate Certificate in History (International Relations) 
Candidates 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).

For further details and module descriptions, see the Postgraduate College Calendar

Additional Teaching Mode Information

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

Non-EU Applications

Applicants who are interested in applying for the programme can also apply online at PAC.

For full details of the non-EU application procedure please visit our how to apply pages for international students.


**All Applicants please note: modules listed in the course outline above are indicative of the current set of modules for this course, but these are subject to change from year to year. Please check the college calendar for the full academic content of any given course for the current year. 

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. 

Course Practicalities

You will be expected to attend 144 lecture/seminar hours in 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

Dr Mike Cosgrave: military history, leadership in history and international organisations.

Dr David FitzGerald: specialist in American military and foreign policy, especially counterinsurgency warfare and ‘small wars’.

Dr Detmar Klein: nineteenth- and twentieth-century French and German history.

Dr Mervyn O’Driscoll: nuclear history, foreign policy, European integration and IR theory.

Professor Geoffrey Roberts: specialist in international history, Soviet and Russian foreign policy and IR theory.

Professor David Ryan: specialist in contemporary history, American history and US foreign policy.

Why Choose This Course

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

Laura Cashman

Master Degree

Find Out More

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.

Brochure outlining structure, modules, thesis and library resources available here international-relations brochure (3,382kB)

Skills and Careers Information

Past graduates of the course over the last decade 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.

Laura Cashman, MA International Relations Graduate

"I became interested in the UCC School of History International Relations MA when completing my Bachelor of Arts History undergrad in UCC. I had gained an insight and interest in international relations while doing my undergrad and this coupled with my positive experience within the school encouraged me to apply for the MA. My MA programme has helped me both professionally and personally in many ways. The course is broad enough to ensure you get a good feel for all the relevant topics but have the freedom to work on the areas that interest you. In hindsight, I realize that this aided my professional development and the work placement opportunities given to me opened my eyes to many possibilities after college. I was heavily involved in extracurricular activities in UCC throughout my four years. This experience pushed me to reach my full potential and aim high both inside and outside of the classroom. The support I received from the university was second to none throughout my time in UCC and having this positive experience as well as a stimulating academic life has given me the initiative needed to excel in my professional life.

During my MA I applied for the Washington Ireland Program. WIP is a six-month program of personal and professional development that brings outstanding university students from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to Washington, DC for summer work placements and leadership training. Through an intense eight-week schedule, WIP participants are formed into a team and challenged to develop their vision for the future of post-conflict Ireland. I completed my placement in a congressional office on Capitol Hill in the summer of 2014. My MA prepared me for this experience by honing my research skills and improving my research and presentation confidence. I believe my MA was a factor in my acceptance on to the programme as it had encouraged me to re-evaluate my career choices and my vision for the future. This drive and passion is something WIP encourages. My academic experience in UCC has been exceptional but it is these opportunities outside the classroom, that it has offered, enabled me to realise my potential and to succeed. I am currently finishing my thesis for my MA and working with Suas Educational Development- an NGO that uses education as a tool for international development. These experiences, accompanied my MA, have added to my UCC experience.”


To be considered for registration an applicant will normally have; (a) a primary degree of at least Second Class Honours Grade I level in a suitable subject or the equivalent (b) Applications from students with a Second Class Honours Grade II degree in a suitable subject may also be considered. These applicants may be requested to submit a proposal and/or attend an interview.

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

If you are applying with Qualifications obtained outside Ireland and you wish to verify if you meet the minimum academic and English language requirements for this programme please click here to view the grades comparison table by country and for details of recognised English language tests. 

View the grades comparison table

Non-EU Candidates

Non-EU candidates are expected to have educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to Irish university primary degree level. In addition, where such candidates are non-native speakers of the English language they must satisfy the university of their competency in the English language. To verify if you meet the minimum academic requirements for this programme please visit our qualification comparison pages.

For more detailed entry requirement information please refer to the International website .

Fees and Costs

The fee for this course is €6,000 .

Part-time students:

If your course is offered full time and part time, the fee for part time courses is half the full time fee.


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 .

The Non-EU fee for this course is €13,000.

Non-EU Fees

The 2017/2018 Postgraduate Fees Schedule is available here

How Do I Apply

1. Choose Course

Firstly choose your course. Applicants can apply for up to three 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 Postgraduate Applications Centre (PAC). Applicants will need to apply before the course closing date. There is a €50 application fee.

3. Gather Supporting Documents

Scanned copies of the following documents will need to be uploaded to PAC 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 forms requested for your course.

Please log into PAC for more details.

4. Application processing timeline

Our online application system PAC opens for applications in early November of each year.

Questions on how to apply?

EU students contact graduatestudies@ucc.ie

International students contact internationaloffice@ucc.ie

Additional Requirements (All Applicants)

In addition to applying online, applicants will also be asked to COMPLETE online Supplementary Questions which include the name of a proposed supervisor and proposed title of your research (to be returned online together with your PAC application form).  Before completing the online application and online Supplementary Question Form, intending candidates must consult with the relevant course co-ordinator or prospective supervisor to discuss/confirm their proposed research area. Following this consultation the proposed supervisor should be named on the online supplementary questions form.

Course Coordinator
Dr. Mervyn O'Driscoll
School of History
University College Cork
Email:  mervyn.odriscoll@ucc.ie
Tel: +353 (0)21 4903477

A copy of the Supplementary Questions form is available to view here: CKE45supplementaryform (57kB)‌‎

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

Irish/EU Closing Date Rounds

Irish/EU places on this programme are offered in rounds. The closing dates for each round can be found here.

The closing date for non-EU applications is 15th June

Apply Now