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
  • EU in the World
  • Middle East Politics
  • New 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 & International Relations at UCD because of the opportunities this course offers. Next year, I plan to study abroad in Beijing as part of the degree. My favourite modules to date have been studying “Contemporary Politics” in first year and “EU Politics” in second year. These modules are very up-to-date with everything going on in the world and equip students with the knowledge they need to succeed in future careers. After graduating from UCD, I’m planning to do a Master’s degree and apply to work in European Union institutions.”

Axel Fjellman, Student

Contact Information

UCD School of Politics & International Relations
Dublin 4

Email: spire@ucd.ie

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