The aim of the Postgraduate Diploma in Politics is to deepen students' understanding of important contemporary issues in political studies through the enhancement of students' analytical skills, research and writing talent, and capacity for utilising theoretical approaches. These are all important transferrable skills, highly valued in the job market. The programme is of particular interest to those wishing to know more about Irish politics (North and South), European politics, political conflict, and political theory.

Entry requirements

Entrance requirements
Normally a 2.2 Honours degree (minimum 57%) or above, or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in a Social Sciences, Humanities or Arts subject or a 2.2 Honours degree (minimum 57%) or above, or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in any subject with relevant professional experience.

Applicants who do not meet these entry requirements may, at the discretion of the relevant programme convener, be considered for admission on the basis of relevant work experience and/or an assessed piece of work.

The University's Recognition of Prior Learning Policy provides guidance on the assessment of experiential learning (RPEL).

Please visit http://go.qub.ac.uk/RPLpolicy for more information.

International Students
For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.

English Language Requirements

Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.5, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required. *Taken within the last 2 years.

International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.

For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see: www.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs.

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.
•Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
•Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.


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

Learning and Teaching
A mix of essays, learning journals, presentations, examination and portfolio projects, including policy briefs.

Careers or further progression

Career Prospects
All of the postgraduate diplomas programmes offered in the School provide our graduates with the skills to pursue a wide range of careers in the private, public and voluntary sectors.

Queen's postgraduates reap exceptional benefits. Unique initiatives, such as Degree Plus and Researcher Plus bolster our commitment to employability, while innovative leadership and executive programmes alongside sterling integration with business experts helps our students gain key leadership positions both nationally and internationally.


Further enquiries

Dr Viviane Gravey, Lecturer
School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics - Lecturer
email: v.gravey@qub.ac.uk
Phone: +44 (0)28 9097 1316

Subjects taught

Course Structure
Course Details
Students take six taught modules (MA and PGDip) and the Dissertation module (MA) over the course of the academic year. Each taught module is worth 20 credits. The Dissertation is worth 60 credits.

Semester 1
Approaches to Research Design - (compulsory)

This module has two key purposes. First it introduces students to some important themes in the philosophy of the social sciences. Second, it develops students' skills in research design through an examination of selected qualitative and quantitative research methodologies. In doing so it addresses key issues in the design and preparation of the dissertation.

Government and Institutions of Northern Ireland
This module explores the roles of the devolved institutions, particularly the NI Assembly. The NI Assembly is set in a comparative parliamentary context, with relevant comparisons being drawn over the course of the module. NI, which alone in the UK experienced a prior period of devolution (from partition until the early 1970s), was subject to direct rule for much of the period between 1972 and 1999. Since 1972, a constant in British policy-making was the goal of restoring devolution on a power-sharing basis. Underpinning that policy was the theory of consociationalism, and the devolved institutions are explored in terms of that theoretical context. Their outworkings are also a focus, especially as regards the operation of the NI Assembly. Exploring the effectiveness of the NI Assembly leads to a consideration of potential reforms of its procedures and practices.


Politics of Northern Ireland
This module examines the principal debates and issues in Northern Irish politics, and includes both an analytical survey of the history of the entity, and a treatment of key political themes. The aim of the module is to place Northern Irish politics in appropriate historical and ideological context. Political conflict in Northern Ireland has generated an extensive scholarly literature. This module requires students to engage with such work, and through such engagement to develop their own interpretations of Northern Irish politics from the foundation of Northern Ireland as a political unit to the present.

Plus one from:
Deomcratic challenges
Ethics of Recognition
Government & Institutions of Northern Ireland*
Politics of Northern Ireland*
Theories & Issues of International Relations
Violence, Terrorism & Security:

The central goal of this module is to provide grounding for the MA Violence, Terrorism and Security. Specifically, this module will firstly familiarize students with different concepts and approaches to violence, terrorism and security. It will secondly provide opportunities for discussing varieties of violence and terrorism, which can be empirically observed, before analysing a set of responses to the changes in threat perception. The module features a Simulation exercise.

*If not chosen from above Dissertation research begins

Semester 2
Institutions and Politics of the EU - (compulsory)

The module explores the structure and institutions of the European Union (EU) as well as selected theoretical approaches to the study of European integration. It examines the nature and roles of the EU's main institutions, and provides a critical assessment of selected EU policies and political challenges facing the EU. In doing so the module explores the decision- and policy-making dynamics within the EU as well as some of the most pressing themes in European governance, including the on-going Brexit negotiations.

Plus two from:
Carbon Literacy for a Low Carbon Society and Economy
Conflict Intervention
Ethnic Conflict and Consensus: The power of institutions

This module examines concepts of ethnicity, national identity and multiculturalism as they relate to contemporary conflict. Students will be provided with a detailed and critical analysis of the political and constitutional options in societies beset by ethnic conflict, with particular emphasis being given to mechanisms directed at and institutions involved in management of and accommodation after the conflict. By examining theories of ethnic conflict, the module introduces students to issues underlying conflicts across the globe including nation building and rights of minorities, territorialisation of ethnicity, partition and secession management, and kin-state involvement as well as socio-political integration as mechanisms to avert and/or resolve ethnic conflicts.

Gender, Politics and Democracy
International Political Economy
The Politics of the Republic of Ireland

This module explores and analyses the political development of independent Ireland in historical context. It combines an historical and thematic approach to provide students with a sophisticated understanding of the politics of independent Ireland. It introduces students to key debates on the Irish revolution, Irish historical revisionism, and the foundations of the new state. Particular themes include partition and its impact, the achievement of stability and order, negotiations of identity, problems of modernisation, party politics and their dynamics, Ireland's shifting place in European and world politics, and the changing nature of Irish politics and society.

Dissertation research continues

Semester 3
Dissertation (15,000 words maximum)


Politics highlights
In this programme students will have the opportunity to study key issues in contemporary politics and normative theory, British Politics, Irish Politics, European Politics, International Relations, Policy, and Comparative Ethnic Conflict.

Career Development
•Politics is about conflict, debate and the contest of ideas, making Belfast, where such things are part of everyday reality, an ideal place to study the subject. The modules offered are tailored to the University's location and its expertise in Irish, Northern Irish and EU politics. Students unsure of which precise direction they wish their career to take will benefit from the fact that the Postgraduate Diploma in Politics allows for a generalist course of study alongside excellent careers support both within the School and the University at large. The Diploma in Politics provides students with the opportunity to engage in a wide range of active research networks and groups on diverse themes, including gender studies, political theory/philosophy, political economy, environmental policies and postcolonial politics. On successful completion of their taught module coursework, PGDip students can complete the dissertation for an award of MA Graduates are now working in careers with local and national government, policy analysis and advocacy for NGOs and charities. Many are also in the private sector working as lawyers, in the media and in management consultancy

Internationally Renowned Experts
•Students benefit from intensive teaching by a wide and varied range of political scientists and theorists with strong publishing profiles and international reputations in their areas of expertise.

Student Experience
•Politics is about conflict, debate and the contest of ideas, making Belfast, where such things are part of everyday reality, an ideal place to study the subject. The modules offered are tailored to the University's location and its expertise in Irish, Northern Irish and EU politics. They provide a unique opportunity for students to engage and reflect on political crises – from the stalemate in Stormont to the delivery of Brexit – as they unfold. The programme offers students the flexibility and opportunity to engage in a wide range of active research networks and groups on diverse themes, including gender studies, political theory, environmental policy, political philosophy, political economy, and postcolonial politics.

Assessment method

Assessment and Feedback are continuous throughout the course of study.
Assessments associated with the course are outlined below:

Learning journals



Portfolio projects

Continuous assessment

A mix of essays including policy briefs.

Application date

How to Apply
Apply using our online Postgraduate Applications Portal go.qub.ac.uk/pgapply and follow the step-by-step instructions on how to apply.

Enrolment and start dates

Entry year 2020

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