Course Content

Course Content

The MSc International Public Policy and Diplomacy (previously MBS International Public Policy and Diplomacy) is divided in two parts.

In Part 1, students take a combination of compulsory and elective modules. In Part 2, students choose between a work placement of 3-5 months in an international policy oriented organisation or a research dissertation.

The core modules of Part 1 of the programme invite students to engage with the contemporary global challenges facing policymakers, processes of government decision making in relation to international affairs, international economic policies and institutions, international law and the institutions and policies of the European Union (EU).

In addition, students develop practical and analytical skills relevant to working in international affairs and gain an insight into personal and group dynamics associated with leadership and diplomacy.

Students also choose from a range of electives offered by the Departments of Government, Law and History.

Part 2 of the programme challenges students to apply the skills acquired in Part 1 either by undertaking an independent piece of policy oriented research or by undertaking a in an international policy environment. Specialist career advice is available to students through the Work Placement Officer and support is given in the planning for and application to work placement organisations.

Our graduates have found the work placement to be an extremely valuable first step in their professional careers giving them unrivalled opportunities to make professional contacts and gain first-hand experience of the international policy world.

On completion of the programme, graduates will be able to identify and assess global policy challenges and global policy making processes and will have gained expertise in analysis and evaluation, report writing, oral presentation skills and leadership.

For more details on the programme content see the UCC Calendar  (click on the links for each module to get more detail on individual modules).

Course Practicalities

The taught part of the programme runs from mid-September to the end of the following March.

Students take the work placement or research dissertation between beginning of April and end-September (the length of the work placement may vary from 3 to 5 months).

During the taught part of the programme, students have approximately 8-10 hours per week of lectures/seminars.

This is supplemented by recommended reading, preparation of presentations and other group work and time spent completing assignments (essays, policy reports, research projects, etc).

During the taught part of the programme students also take classes in preparation for the work placement and attend the Visiting Speaker Series.


The programme is assessed through a variety of course work assignments in Part 1 including:

  • research projects
  • policy reports
  • presentations
  • group work.

The assessment is designed to help students to develop both the understanding of issues and the practical skills necessary to work in international affairs.

In Part 2 the assessment involves:

  • a detailed work placement portfolio for those undertaking the Work Placement or
  • researching and writing a 15,000/20,000 word dissertation for those completing the dissertation.

Core modules

Semester 1

  • GV6010 Contemporary Global Policy Challenges (5 credits)
  • GV6011 EU Political System and Policies (5 credits)
  • LW6567 Introduction to European Law (5 credits)

Semester 2

  • GV6012 Global Economic Policies and Institutions (5 credits)
  • HI6035 Foreign Policy and Diplomacy: Case Studies in Crises and Decision-making (10 credits)
  • LW6566 Contemporary Issues in International Law (5 credits)
  • MG6329 Leadership Dynamics (5 credits)

Elective modules

Elective modules may change from year to year. (Students choose 20 credits)

MSc International Public Policy and Diplomacy

University College Cork