International Public Policy & Diplomacy

University College Cork

International Public Policy & Diplomacy

Course Outline
The MSc in International Public Policy & Diplomacy (MSc IPPD) at University College Cork is an innovative, interdisciplinary, taught master’s course that provides our graduates with the expertise required for successful careers in international policy environments.

Offering core modules from Government and Politics, History, Law and Food Business and Development, we give you access to expertise across a diverse range of subjects. The MSc International Public Policy & Diplomacy programme is strongly orientated toward vocational skills training, through coursework and an opportunity to undertake a work placement.

The MSc will be of interest to you if you aspire to a career in, or are already working in, departments of foreign affairs and other government ministries, international political and financial organisations, the armed forces, aid agencies, non-governmental organisations, think-tanks, and international businesses.

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

Placement or Study Abroad Information
Work-based research dissertation
As part of this programme students must complete a research dissertation. Some students will have the opportunity to complete their research dissertation in a work placement setting that can range in duration from three to five months.

Students who undertake a work-based research dissertation, do so with a variety of organisations/institutions working in areas related to international affairs, such as government ministries, international organisations, the offices of elected representatives, think tanks and non-governmental organisations. Students have been assigned placement opportunities in major international cities, such as Brussels, London, and Washington DC, as well as in Cork and Dublin.
• The programme continues to work within national and international public health guidelines as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. International travel restrictions may apply across come countries. Since the pandemic, work-from-home advisories and/or a blended and hybrid approach of remote and on-site working apply in many sectors. These parameters shape the format and extent of placement offerings.

Specialist career advice is available to students through a Work Placement Manager and support is provided in the planning for and application to work placement organisations. Classes offering career talks, advice, and skills also form part of the course delivery.

Subjects taught

The MSc in International Public Policy & Diplomacy programme is divided into two parts totalling 90 credits.

Part 1 (60 credits)
In Part 1, students take a combination of compulsory and elective modules from selected disciplines. The core modules (40 Credits) invite you 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
• the institutions and policies of the European Union (EU)
In addition, you will develop practical and analytical skills relevant to working in international affairs and gain an insight into personal and group dynamics associated with leadership.
You will also choose from 20 credits of elective modules offered by a wide range of disciplines including Food Business and Development, Government and Politics, History, Languages, Law, Management and Marketing, Philosophy, Sociology and Women's Studies. Students' choice of elective modules must be considerate of the programme's academic calendar, and in light of this, may be shaped by the programme's timetable.

Part 2 (30 credits)
Part 2 of the course challenges you to apply the skills acquired in Part 1 either by undertaking an independent research dissertation, or a work-based research dissertation as follows:
• GV6013 Work-based Dissertation in International Public Policy & Diplomacy (30 credits) or
• GV6014 Dissertation in International Public Policy & Diplomacy (30 credits).

Entry requirements

• The minimum requirement for applicants is a Second Class Honours Grade I in a primary honours degree (NFQ, Level 8) in any subject;
• Applicants who hold a Second Class Honours Grade II in a primary honours degree (NFQ, Level 8) will also be considered under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) subject to their 'motivation statement' and references;
• In exceptional circumstances, substantial professional experience in a relevant field may be accepted as compensating for the absence of an undergraduate degree, subject to approval by the programme director and the College of Arts Celtic Studies and Social Science.
• All applicants will be required to submit a 'personal statement' (indicating why they are interested in taking the MSc (International Public Policy and Diplomacy) and why they think they would be suited to the programme.

Application dates

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

Assessment Info

During the taught part of the course, 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 course you will also take classes in preparation for the work placement.

In part 1, the course is assessed through a variety of course work assignments, including
research projects
policy reports
group work.

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

In part 2 of the course, the assessment involves
-a detailed work placement portfolio if you are undertaking the work placement, or
-researching and writing a 15,000-20,000-word dissertation (if you are completing the dissertation).

The course is taught by staff of the Departments of Government and Politics, Law and History. Our staff have expertise in areas such as global governance/international organisations, foreign policies and foreign policy decision-making, the European Union, international law and human rights, as well as in more specialised areas such as US foreign policy, European security and migration.


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

Enrolment dates

Start Date: 9 September 2024

Post Course Info

Skills and Careers Information
We recognise the importance of equipping our students with the skills they need to progress following graduation. You will be given expert advice on career development by a dedicated work placement manager and also have access to UCC’s Career Services.

The course has established links with important international policy institutions from which you will benefit. Having completed the course, you will be a skilled analyst of international affairs and have the confidence and experience to apply that expertise in the real world.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Part time,Daytime

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