UCC Postgraduate courses

International Relations

About This Course

Fact File

  • Title

    International Relations

  • Code


  • 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 2021

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

  • Non-EU Fees 2021


  • Entry Requirements

    To be considered for admission to the MA in International Relations programme, an applicant will normally possess a Second Class Honours Grade I in a primary honours degree (NFQ, Level 8) or equivalent in a suitable subject. Second Class Honours Grade II may also be considered. See Requirements for full details.

  • Closing Date

    Currently open for late EU applications

  • Non-EU Closing Date

    Extended until 31 July 2021

  • Start Date

    13 September 2021

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.

A brochure outlining structure, modules, thesis and library resources available here CKE45 brochure

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)
  • HI6035 Foreign Policy and 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 LW6656 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.

Note:  All electives are chosen in consultation with the Programme Director and are subject to availability and timetable requirements

*The two 5 credit LW modules must be studied as a 10 credit package

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.


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

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

Dr. Jérôme aan de Wiel:  specialist in 20th-century Irish history and European history with an emphasis on political, military, WW1, Cold War, Espionage and European Integration History.

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 CKE45 brochure

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 under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). 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.

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 €6,130; €3,130 (Year 1 Part-time); €3,130 (Year 2 Part-time).

The Non-EU fee for this course is €16,080.


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 (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 which 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.)

  • Please add the name and email address of 2 referees.

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

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

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 Extended until 31 July 2021

Apply Now

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact