Politics & International Relations

Course Information

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

Undergraduate Full Time

CAO Code: DN700 BSc Social Sciences
CAO Points Range 2019: 389
Length of Course: 4 Years
Average Intake: 500

CAO Code: DN530 BA Humanities
CAO Points Range 2019: 336
Length of Course: 4 Years
Average Intake: 220

Leaving Certificate:

DN700 – O6/H7 in English, Irish, Mathematics and three other recognised subjects

DN530 – English, Irish, a third Language, Three other recognised subjects

Click below for equivalent entry requirements information for:

Why is this course for me?

Do you want to understand how governments, parliaments, parties and elections work? Are you concerned about conflicts, human rights, global poverty, war and political violence? Do you want to learn how to formulate a coherent and persuasive argument? With a degree in Politics, you will develop the ability to analyse the complex interplay between national and international political institutions, systems and forces.

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.

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.

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
  • European Union
  • Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals
  • Plus another subject
  • Plus Elective modules.

Third Year & Fourth Year

  • International Political Economy
  • International Justice
  • EU in the World
  • Middle East Politics
  • Integration, Fragmentation & the Global System
  • Data Analytics for the Social Sciences
  • Political Activism in the Middle East
  • Introduction to Asian Politics
  • Justice in Education
  • Gender in War and Peace
  • Plus another subject
  • Plus Elective modules.
  • Students may opt to take a single major in Politics from third 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 semester written exams.

For detailed information on subject content click here.

How Will I Study

Studying Politics & International Relations (BSc Social Sciences)

Click To View The BSc Social Sciences Course Combination Grid

Studying Politics (BA Humanities)

Click To View The BA Arts Course Combination Grid

International Study Opportunities

Erasmus 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 Delhi, India
  • University of Hong Kong

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


“Having had an interest in politics before college, the variety of available options from the School of Politics and International Relations really appealed to me as a prospective student. Once I started the course, I understood why SPIRe is ranked as the top political science department in Ireland. The first year of the course really gives you a solid foundation upon which to build. As you develop interests in particular areas of politics and international relations you can easily branch out into specific topics such as EU politics, development, conflict resolution and international political economy. For anyone who finds themselves really invested in the programme initially, SPIRe also offer a fantastic ‘Single Subject Major’ programme which gives you the opportunity to truly engage with every facet of political science.”

Stephen Crosby – Politics Student

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