Politics & International Relations

BSc (Hons) (NFQ Level 8) or BA (Hons) (NFQ Level 8)

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Curricular information is subject to change.

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Why is this course for me?

Do you want to understand how governments, parliaments, parties and international organisations work? Do you wish to develop a knowledge base in the causes, consequences and solutions to war, political violence and poverty? Do you want to develop skills in social science research methods and how to formulate a coherent and persuasive argument? With a degree in Politics and International Relations, you will develop the knowledge and skills required to analyse the complex interplay between national and international political institutions, systems and forces.

Course Pathways
What Will I Study

In first year, you will be introduced to the core areas of politics, giving you a solid foundation for future study. In subsequent years, you will pursue the areas of politics and international relations that interest you most. Examples of modules include:

First Year

  • Foundations of Political Theory and International Relations
  • Foundations of Contemporary Politics
  • Foundations in Political Research
  • Foundations in Global Development
  • All first year social sciences students also study the core module, Societal Challenges in the Twenty First Century
  • Plus another subject
  • Plus an Elective module.

Second Year

  • Individuals and the State
  • Law, Politics & Human Rights
  • Comparative Politics
  • International Relations
  • Research Methods in Political Science
  • Irish Politics
  • European Union
  • Sustainable Development Goals
  • Plus another subject
  • Plus Elective modules.

Third Year & Fourth Year

  • International Political Economy
  • International Justice
  • Politics of Organised Crime
  • Terrorism & Political Violence
  • Capitalism and Democracy
  • Data Analytics for the Social Sciences
  • Media & Politics
  • Introduction to Asian Politics
  • Deliberative Mini-Publics
  • Gender & Politics
  • Plus another subject
  • Plus Elective modules.

Students can apply to study a single subject Politics & International Relations degree at the end of second year.


Students attend lectures and tutorials as well as undertaking independent study. Assessment is in the form of a combination of continuous assessment and end-of trimester written exams.

For detailed information on subject content click here.

How Will I Study
Study Politics & International Relations (BSc Social Sciences)

Click To View The BSc Social Sciences Course Combination Grid


Study Politics (BA Humanities)

Click To View The BA Arts Course Combination Grid

International Study Opportunities

Study abroad opportunities include:

  • Sciences Po, France
  • University of Bergen, Norway
  • Universite Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
  • University of Lund, Sweden
  • Universitat zu Koln, Germany
  • Utrecht University, Netherlands
  • Universita` degli Studi di Milano, Italy
  • George Washington University, the United States
  • University of Tokyo
  • University of Hong Kong

Students studying Politics with Chinese, French, German, Italian or Spanish will study abroad for their third year.

Career & Graduate Study Opportunities

There is a wide range of national and international employment opportunities in the public and private sector, including: The Irish civil service, The European Commission, International agencies such as the UN, IMF and World Bank, NGOs, Print and broadcast media, The diplomatic service, Business, Administration and research.

MA and MSc degrees in UCD open to graduates include: Politics, Political Theory, International Relations, International Development, Peace & Conflict, Human Rights, European Public Affairs & Law, International Political Economy, Public Policy, Gender & Politics.

Other Entry Routes

“I chose to study Politics and International Relations in UCD as it provided a structured degree that aligns with my interests. I enjoy the variety of the programme which allows me to study a wide range of aspects such as domestic policy, international politics, climate change and even quantitative data analysis. As part of my degree, I had the opportunity in third year to secure an internship at a political research institute which has been very rewarding. This course has opened up my career prospects as it has given me an understanding of what goes on behind the scenes in the civil service, European Union, Think Tanks, NGO’s and private corporations who are all looking to recruit individuals with the skills I have developed throughout my degree.”

Joey Donald , Student

Contact Information

UCD School of Politics & International Relations
Dublin 4

Email: spire@ucd.ie

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