The MA in Strategic Studies (Online) is a two-year, part-time degree offered in a fully online format by the School of History. It offers a uniquely well-rounded approach to strategic studies that consider pressing global challenges such as terrorism, nuclear proliferation, international peacekeeping, the changing international system, and the rise of non-state actors and new ways of warfare. It will provide students with a deep understanding of how historical developments have affected the evolution of strategy.
The course equips students with the knowledge and skills to develop a sophisticated understanding of both the history of strategy and warfare and contemporary security issues. Its flexible, online delivery will mean that it will appeal to busy professionals as well as those with a broad interest in warfare and strategy.
This programme is delivered online. It is designed to be flexible to take into account the busy schedules of professionals, and so allows you to engage with the course material when it suits you. Each module is built around a series of short lectures, assigned readings, and extensive discussions that are built around weekly cycles. Typically, each week requires around 10-15 hours of study. More time will be required to research and write the longer course essays.
As the course is delivered online, we recommend that candidates have access to a reliable internet connection of at least 2Mb/s or more download speed and 0.5Mb/s upload speed.
This 24-month course consists of two parts – a fifteen-month online taught component, which overlaps with a twelve-month research phase, culminating in a 20,000-word dissertation.
In part one, students take the following compulsory online modules:
Introduction to Strategic Studies (10 credits) (semester one, year one)
The Making of Modern War and Strategy, 1450-1945 (semester one, year one)
US Grand Strategy (semester two, year one)
And select three of the following modules:
Terrorism, Insurgency and Political Violence (10 credits, semester two, year one)
Strategic Studies Summer School (10 credits, semester three, year one)
N.B. This is an intensive one-week on-campus module that will take place in the summer of year one.
Nuclear Strategy and Diplomacy (10 credits, semester one, year two)
Small States, Peacekeeping and Peace Support Operations (10 credits, semester one, year two)
In part two, students work closely with an academic supervisor to complete a 20,000-word minor dissertation on a topic of their choosing within the broad area of strategic studies. There will be a series of online workshops to facilitate students in selecting, researching, and writing their dissertations.
Given that our students have a diverse range of experiences and backgrounds, each module makes extensive use of focused online discussion groups and other interactive learning opportunities, which will enable students to share their experiences and relate them to core course themes and concepts.
Postgraduate Diploma in Strategic Studies
Candidates who pass 60 credits of taught modules may opt to exit the programme and be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Strategic Studies.
Postgraduate Certificate in Strategic Studies
Candidates who pass 30 credits of taught modules may opt to exit the programme and be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate in Strategic Studies.
Further details on the modules listed above can be found in our Book of Modules. Any modules listed above are indicative of the current set of modules for this course but are subject to change from year to year.
You can find the full academic content for the current year of any given course in our University Calendar.
Candidates should hold a Second Class Honours Grade I in a primary honours degree (NFQ, Level 8) or equivalent in any discipline. Candidates who hold a primary degree with 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 the approval of the programme selection committee.
Graduates who do not meet this requirement and have a minimum of 3 years’ experience in a relevant field (such as the military or security services) will be considered as an honours equivalent. Such applicants may be invited for an online interview to satisfy the selection committee of their suitability for the programme. Some applicants who do not fulfil the usual entry requirements may be invited for an online interview to satisfy the selection committee of their suitability for the programme. Admission of such applicants will be subject to the approval of the College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences. Strong references and personal statements are an important part of the application, as is relevant working experience.
English Language Requirements
Applicants that are non-native speakers of the English language must meet the university-approved English language requirements. Please visit our PG English Language Requirements page for more information.
For applicants with qualifications completed outside of Ireland
Applicants must meet the required entry academic grade, equivalent to Irish requirements. For more information see our Qualification Comparison page.
For full details of the non-EU application procedure visit our how to apply pages for international students.
In UCC, we use the term programme and course interchangeably to describe what a person has registered to study in UCC and its constituent colleges, schools, and departments.
Note that not all courses are open to international/non-EU applicants, please check the fact file above. For more information contact the International Office.
The closing date for non-EU applications is 30 June 2023
How Do I Apply
1. Check Dates: Check the opening and closing dates for the application process in the fact file boxes at the top of the page.
For Irish and EU applicants we operate a rounds system and you can check the rounds closing dates here.
Note that not all our programmes are subject to the rounds system so check the opening and closing dates for your specific programme in the fact file boxes above.
2. Gather Documents: Scanned copies of supporting documents have to be uploaded to the UCC online application portal and include:
Original qualification documents listed on your application including transcripts of results from institutions other than UCC.
Any supplementary items requested for your course if required.
3. Apply Online: Apply online via the UCC online application portal. Note the majority of our courses have a non-refundable €50 application fee.
Any questions? Use our web enquiry form to contact us.
Additional Requirements (All Applicants)
Please note you will be required to provide additional information as part of the online application process for this programme. This will include the following questions:
You may enter the details of professional or voluntary positions held. We strongly encourage you to complete this section with all relevant work experiences that will support your application.
In addition to your previously declared qualifications, please outline any additional academic courses, self-learning and professional training relevant to this programme.
Please describe your motivation and readiness for this programme.
Please enter the names and email addresses of 2 referees.
2 years part-time online.
Start Date: 11 September 2023.
Post Course Info
Skills and Careers Information
The course provides students with advanced analytical, research and writing skills and encourages students to apply those skills in real-world case studies. Potential career paths include: government service, diplomatic service, defence and security consultancies, international organizations, and non-governmental organizations operating in conflicts zones. Many of our postgraduate students have progressed to successful PhD study in the area of war, strategy and security.