UCC Postgraduate courses


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

Sociology is concerned with the study of the modern world, how it came into being, and the challenges and crises that it faces at local, national, and global levels. 

Our MA in Sociology at UCC will provide you with an opportunity to study advanced sociological concepts and methods, and put your research interests into practice by enabling you to conduct your own sustained research project. 

The course is divided into two main components; elective modules and a research project. Modules often cover topics like the environment and climate change, health and technology, gender and sexuality, borders and migration amongst many other important themes of societal interest.

Programme Requirements

The MA Sociology programme comprises 90 credits in total: 20 credits of core modules, 30 credits of elective modules, and a Dissertation in Sociology (SC6615) worth 40 credits. 

Core Modules (20 credits)

  • SC6608 Social and Sociological Theory (10 credits)
  • SC6614 Sociological Methodology (10 credits)

For a list of the most up-to-date modules, including all the elective modules available this academic year, please follow this link to the Academic Programme Catalogue

Course Content

You will note that a number of themes cut across all of the modules that we teach, reflecting the interests of staff members in the Department. One is a strong focus on power, the powerful, powerlessness, and marginalization. Another is on human rights and violence, whether that violence is self-directed, directed at others, or directed at the natural world. A third strand seeks to understand the negative and often unanticipated costs that our economic and technological systems are now having on our world and societies.  A fourth is an examination of where, or in fact if, there are grounds for hope and optimism to be found in the massive Sociological shifts of the 21st century.

Finally, in addition to these advanced-level MA modules, our students are also free to audit (attend without credit) any undergraduate Sociology modules that they find interesting or relevant. MA students are furthermore eligible to attend the Economy and Society Summer School, which is a week-long Summer School that the Dept. runs for advanced Sociology students (please note the Summer school may not run every year).  

The second component of the course is a 20,000-word dissertation, or advanced research project, that students can undertake on a topic of their own choosing. One of the advantages of the MA in Sociology is that students have a wide degree of latitude to pursue their own research interests and goals in their dissertation.  All students will be assigned an academic supervisor who will work closely with them on developing their ideas and their projects. Over the past few years, students have conducted MA dissertation research on topics ranging from the computer gaming industry to sexual violence and the #metoo movement to animal-human relationships, amongst a wide variety of other projects. We encourage students who undertake strong dissertation research to publish their work in academic journals.

Part-time Option (24 months)

In Year 1 students complete two 10-credit core modules and two elective 10-credit modules.  In Year 2, students select one optional 10-credit module (not previously taken in year 1) and complete the Dissertation in Sociology (40 Credits).

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

In teaching periods 1 and 2, you will have a mandatory two-hour graduate seminar on theory/methodology. Mandatory seminars are generally timetabled on Tuesday afternoons after 4 pm. The timetabling of optional seminars changes from year to year but most are scheduled between 9 am and 5 pm Monday to Friday. Some seminars are run on a weekly basis while others are run using a one-day workshop format.


Assessment is conducted through the grading of five graduate module papers. The word limit for the Social Theory paper is 5,000. The word limit for all other papers including Methodology is 5,000. These marks are combined with the student’s grades on their final thesis (PART B) in order to determine an overall result.

Who teaches this course

This course is taught by lecturers and professors in the Department of Sociology at UCC. Our department is highly ranked for the quality of its research and teaching and staff have won national teaching awards. All staff are research active and our modules are constantly being revised and updated to incorporate the latest research in their areas. We are a small unit that places a strong emphasis on academic rigour, and also on approachability and friendliness. 

Broadly speaking, our research interests fall into the following areas:

  • Sociology of Deviance and Violence
  • Environment, Sustainability, and Climate Change
  • Gender, Sexuality, Identity, and Feminism
  • Health/Medical Sociology, Social Media and Technology
  • Human Rights, Borders, and Migration
  • Sociological Theory and Methods, Historical Sociology

See our department staff page for more information on our teaching team.

Why Choose This Course

Students who achieve a strong result (2.1) in the MA in Sociology will be eligible to continue on to pursue PhD research if they wish. 

The course will be of interest to students who wish to explore and understand societies in the 21st century, through a focus on the themes outlined above. 

Our graduates will acquire a range of subject-specific and transferrable skills. In terms of subject-specific skills, students will develop detailed knowledge of contemporary sociological theories and concepts. They will also develop knowledge of how to put research methods, particularly qualitative methods, into practice in order to generate data and evidence to inform policy and research. Students will also furthermore develop skills in public speaking in seminar presentations and seminar contributions; in time management; in being able to articulate their ideas clearly and with precision in their writing and research; and in terms of personal effectiveness and innovation, being able to design, implement and analyse a large scale research project in a defined amount of time. 

Students who have taken this MA have gone on to a wide variety of careers, including research, banking, business, social media and technology companies, the civil service, charities/advocacy, and civil society organizations such as those working on environmental or housing issues. Most careers these days involve research and data acquisition and management in some form, and the research and transferrable skills that you acquire will be of use in many employment situations.

What our students say about this MA

Our student feedback on the MA in Sociology has been very positive. Feedback generally emphasises the positive nature of the class discussions, the comprehensive and in-depth nature of the lecture content, and the friendliness and engagement of the lecturing staff: 

The discussions generated in class were highly engaging and the atmosphere created in the class by both lecturers was relaxed and open and thus encouraged people to get involved.

Excellent, both lecturers' warm and open style made the class a pleasure to attend which made the class one of the best this year as it encouraged people to get involved in discussions. The material used was really engaging and fresh. The tone set by lecturers is extremely important to the success of a class and both lecturers exemplified how it should be done.
Very effective lecturer, extremely knowledgeable, and great with bringing up an interactive discussion to get everyone involved.


Applicants must have obtained a minimum of a Second Class Honours Grade I in a primary honours degree (NFQ, Level 8) or equivalent, in sociology, law, politics, psychology, history, applied social studies, anthropology, geography, economics, the study of religions, media studies, communication, government, public policy, criminal justice, environment and planning, criminology, European studies, women studies, early childhood studies, cultural studies, political studies, international relations or another subject relevant to the study of Sociology.

Applicants who hold a Second Class Honours Grade II in a primary honours degree (NFQ, Level 8) will also be considered under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) subject to a written expression of interest and/or interview acceptable to the department selection committee.

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. 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.
  • Describe your motivation and readiness for this programme.
  • Briefly describe a research proposal that may form the basis of your thesis.
  • Submit a copy of a short analytical/critical/report writing sample or essay (1,000 words approx.)

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