Government & Politics

University College Cork

Government & Politics

Course Outline
The MSc in Government and Politics is an exciting interdisciplinary taught master’s programme that provides graduates with the expertise and work experience required for successful careers in public policy environments.

The focus of the MSc Government and Politics is on governance. Government affects our day-to-day lives. It affects the food we eat, the healthcare we receive and the taxes we pay. Modern-day governance occurs at many levels: local, regional, national, European and international.

To provide an understanding of contemporary governments we examine issues such as developments in democratic theory, regulatory reform and international relations. We also examines contemporary policy debates at a range of levels, looking at political reform in the Irish context, the changing dynamics of European governance as well as the challenges faced by democracy and the protection/advancement of human rights in the twenty-first century.

Our MSc programme is uniquely oriented toward vocational skills training, through coursework, and the option to undertake either a work-based dissertation (Work Placement) or a research-based dissertation. We have a dedicated placement officer who sources an internship tailored to each individual student's specific interests. In the majority of cases these internships are paid, although this cannot be guaranteed. The work placement offering builds on the success of this scheme at the undergraduate and postgraduate level in other programmes offered by the Department of Government and Politics, which has been a pioneer in offering internships for students of political science. These placements are located in a wide variety of policy organisations, such as the Irish parliament, the Scottish parliament, the Office of the President, the Central Bank and Ervia, in which students will be able to utilise the knowledge learned on the programme and learn invaluable vocational and practical skills.

The MSc will enable you to develop your research and analytical skills in the areas of government, political science and public policy. It will also give you a number of other skills, including data analysis; research, communication and writing skills; policy analysis, critical, systematic, and independent thinking; and presentation skills. The work placement will give you a unique opportunity to develop important professional skills and to immediately apply your learning to the professional world.

The MSc in Government is suitable for graduates of social science, arts, commerce, law or related disciplines.

Subjects taught

You can take this program in one year full-time or in two years part-time, and it is divided into two parts. In Part I, students take a combination of compulsory and elective modules. In addition, students choose 20 credits from a list of elective modules provided by the Department of Government and Politics, School of History, and Department of Philosophy.

Part I (Core Modules)
ES6014 European Democracy, Citizenship, Memory and Identity (5 credits)
GV6011 EU Political System and Policies (5 credits)*
GV6118 Political Science Research Methods (10 credits)
GV6121 Comparative Political Institutions (5 credits)
GV6127 Politics and Gender (5 credits)
GV6128 Re-imagining Democratic Politics in a Changing World (5 credits)
PH6055 Core Themes in Political Philosophy (5 credits)

Part II
GV6106 Dissertation in Government and Politics (30 credits) or
GV6123 Work-Based Dissertation in Government and Politics (30 credits).
This is a work placement in a national policy environment and a placement-based dissertation. The length of the work placement is usually four months.

*Subject to approval

Entry requirements

Applicants should have a Second Class Honours Grade II in a primary honours degree (NFQ, Level 8)or an equivalent academic or professional qualification, in one of the following areas: Social Science, Arts, Commerce, Law or a related discipline or equivalent professional experience as deemed appropriate by the Head of Department of Government Politics and the College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Science under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). Applicants may be required to attend for interview or may be short-listed for an interview.

All applicants will be required to submit a 'motivation statement' (indicating why they are interested in taking the MSc Government and Politics, and why they think they would be suited to the programme. Prospective applicants should contact the Department of Government and Politics for further information.

Application dates

Closing Date
Rolling deadline. Open until all places have been filled. Early application is advised.

Assessment Info

In part 1, the course is assessed through a variety of course work assignments, including:
• in-class presentations
• reports
• article reviews
• book reviews
• blog contributions
• posters
• portfolios and essays

In part 2 of the course, the assessment involves
• a placement-based dissertation of 10,000 words if you are undertaking the work placement, or
• researching and writing a 15,000-20,000-word dissertation (if you are completing the dissertation)


1 year full-time, 2 years part-time.

Enrolment dates

Start Date: 9 September 2024

Post Course Info

Skills and Careers Information
The programme will prepare you for positions in government, international organisations, the private, community, and voluntary sectors and PhD research.

Our graduates have found employment as public affairs consultants, legal officers, parliamentary researchers, journalists, analysts in the banking and IT industries, press officers, and teachers and some have gone on to PhD research.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Part time,Daytime

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