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MA Philosophy and Public Affairs

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.

This 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):


  • PHIL40840 Autonomy as a Philosophical Problem
  • PHIL41280 Feminist & Gender Theory
  • PHIL41320 Topics in Continental Philosophy
  • PHIL41810 Critique & Destruction
  • PHIL41840 Invention of the Modern Self


  • PHIL41330 Philosophy of Time
  • PHIL41510 Ethics in public Life

(B) two social sciences modules, chosen from the following:


  • GEOG40970 Critical Geographies
  • POL40160 Comparative Public Policy
  • POL40540 Comparative European Politics
  • POL41650 Global Political Economy of Europe


  • POL40100 Politics of Development
  • POL40370 International Political Economy

(C) one theoretical from the following list (which includes the modules of section B):


  • EQUL40310 Masculinities, Gender & Equality
  • POL40050 Theories of International Relations
  • POL40140 Global Justice
  • SLL40230 Intro to Cultural Theory


  • EQUL40070 Human Rights Law and Equality
  • PHIL41510 Ethics in Public Life
  • POL41030 Theory of Human Rights

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 12,000–15,000 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, Professor Brian O’Connor.

For eligibility criteria, please see the postgraduate admissions page.

All administrative enquiries should be sent to the School Manager.


Woman Standing by Window

Gillian Johnston

School Manager and Graduate Administrator

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

UCD School of Philosophy

Fifth Floor – Room D501, Newman Building, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
T: +353 1 716 8186 | E: philosophy@ucd.ie | Location Map(opens in a new window)