The MA in Strategic Studies 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 of 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 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.
Why Choose This Course
One of the few online Strategic Studies masters programmes in the world, this MA offers the flexibility that you would expect from an online programme, while a deliberately small class size offers the opportunity for close engagement with expert mentors. The course is competitively priced while offering top quality instruction from leading scholars. It includes a unique module on peace support operations that draws on extensive Irish experience in this area.
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 primary degree with a Second Class Honours Grade 1 (or equivalent) in any discipline. Candidates who hold a primary degree with a Second Class Honours Grade 2 will also be considered 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 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 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.
For applicants with qualifications completed outside of Ireland:
Applicants must meet the required entry academic grade, equivalent to Irish requirements.
For full details of the non-EU application procedure please 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.
For more information please contact the International Office.
How Do I Apply
1. Choose Course
Firstly choose your course. Applicants can apply for up to two courses under one application. Details of taught courses are available on our online prospectus.
2. Apply Online
Once you have chosen your course you can apply online at the online application portal. Applicants will need to apply before the course closing date. There is a non-refundable €50 application fee for all courses apart from the Education - Professional Master of Education - (Secondary School/Post-Primary Teacher Training) which has a €100 application fee.
Note: Applicants for the Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health Nursing must apply on the PAC website when the programme opens for applications.
3. Gather Supporting Documents
Scanned copies of the following documents will need to be uploaded to the online application portal in support of your application. Applicants may need to produce the original documents if you are accepted onto a course and register at UCC.
- Original qualification documents listed on your application including transcripts of results from institutions other than UCC
- Any supplementary items requested for your course.
Please log into the online application portal for more details.
4. Application processing timeline
Our online application portal opens for applications for most courses in early November of each year. Check specific course details.
For courses that are in the rounds system (Irish and EU applicants), please check the rounds closing dates.
Questions on how to apply?
Please 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.
The closing date for non-EU applications is 15 June.
2 years part-time online.
Additional Teaching Mode Information
This programme will be taught online.
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.