MA in Philosophy and Public Affairs

The Masters of Arts in Philosophy and Public Affairs is is a one-year interdisciplinary programme (or two years part-time), designed to offer graduates of either philosophy or the social sciences (politics, economics, history) the opportunity to study some of the many areas of overlap between the disciplines, and especially to explore foundational questions in public policy formulation. The innovative programme mixes the abstract and the applied, with half the modules from the School of Philosophy, and half from existing MA modules offered by the School of Politics and International Relations, the School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice.

The student must take six modules. These comprise:

(A) three philosophy modules chosen from the following (descriptions of the philosophy MA modules are available here):


  • PHIL41320 Topics in Continental Philosophy
  • PHIL41280 Feminist & Gender Theory
  • PHIL41660 Moral Agency


  • PHIL40420 The Good Society
  • PHIL41510 Ethics: Theory and Practice
  • PHIL41620 Readings in Trust and Expertise
  • PHIL41800 Social & Political Theory: Methods (Katherine O'Donnell)

(B) one theoretical social science module, chosen from the following:


  • POL40140 International Political Theory
  • POL40050 Theories of International Relations


  • EQUL40070 Human Rights Law and Equality
  • POL41030 Theory of Human Rights

(C) two social science modules from the following list (which includes the modules of section B):


  • POL40050 Theories of Int'l Relations
  • POL40820 Governing the Global Economy
  • EQUL40310 Masculinities, Gender & Equality
  • POL41650 Global Political Economy of Europe
  • POL40140 International Political Theory


  • EQUL40070 Human Rights Law and Equality
  • POL40370 International Political Economy
  • POL40160 Comparative Public Policy
  • POL40540 Comparative European Politics
  • POL41030 Theory of Human Rights
  • POL40100 Politics of Development

Please note: the School of Philosophy is not responsible for modules in other schools. Some of these modules may not be accessible to students on this MA programme because of (i) cancellation, (ii) oversubscription, or (iii) a timetable clash. Some timetable changes might be made as late as August. If you have any questions about the content of these modules, please contact the School in question:

In addition to the six modules, students must write a dissertation of 12-15,000 words, due in mid-August. The dissertation must be supervised by a staff member of the School of Philosophy, although students may consult staff in other schools for informal advice.

Any further questions should be directed to the programme co-ordinator, Prof. Brian O'Connor (

For eligibility criteria, please see the postgraduate admissions page.

All administrative enquiries should be sent to the School Manager:

UCD School of Philosophy
Newman Building
University College Dublin
Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland

Tel: +353 1 716 8186