Q1  Do I have to pay the application fee?

A1  Yes. Until you pay it, we will not review your application because the system won't allow us to offer a place.

Q2  What is an academic reference?

A2  Your referee should be one of the lecturers from the university where you are doing/did your undergraduate degree. It should include a history of academic grades, and why you should be recommended to the programme.

Q3  Do I need two references?

A3  No. We only require one.

Q4  My referee doesn’t want me to see my reference, but the UCD online application system asks me to upload a scan. What can I do?

A4  You may ask him/her to send the hardcopy to:

Postgraduate Administrator,

Room G314, School of Politics & International Relations,

Newman building, University College Dublin,

Belfield, Dublin 4,


You may also ask him/her to send your reference by email to graduatespire@ucd.ie.. The email must be sent from a professional email account (e.g. XYZ@harvard.edu, XYZ@politics.ox.ac.uk, XYZ@tcd.ie) not from a personal one such as Gmail or Hotmail.

I finished my undergraduate degree a long time ago, and it is difficult to contact my lecturer. What can I do?

A5  We primarily require an academic reference. However, we would accept a reference from your current/recent employer as an exception.

Q6  Can I upload a personal statement, a letter of motivation or my CV (resume) as an additional document?

A6  Yes, you can. In the admission process, the most emphasis is placed on applicants’ academic transcripts and references. Relevant work/life experiences will also be taken into account.

Q7  As a full time student, how many lectures I am supposed to attend per week?

A7 The structure of full time and part time programmes is the same, the timetable as well.Both FT and PT programmes are 90 credits.We are running modules from Monday to Friday (9:00 – 18:00).

Your timetable would depend on your module choices.

Full time programmes:

 I semester – 3 full 10 credit modules (12 weeks) + 1 half 5 credit module (6 weeks) = 6 hours per week for the first 6 weeks of the I semester and 8 hours per week for the remaining 6 weeks of the term.

II semester – 3 full 10 credit modules = 6 hours per week for duration of 12 weeks.

III semester - Thesis or Internship 25 credit module -  for details please check your chosen programme's structure

Part time programmes:Part time students take a total of 90 credits over the two year duration of the part time course.It is advisable for part time students to take core modules in their first year.Module choice is more flexible for part time students.

Part time students taking Thesis or Internship 25 credit module in their 2nd year of study -  for details please check your chosen programme's structure

Q8  How is a module run?

A8  Our modules are delivered in two hour lecture sessions every week for 12 weeks. All lectures take place between 9:00am and 6:00pm, Monday-Friday.

One or two modules (semester I and II) may be run from 18:00 - 20:00 depending on the current academic year timetable.

Q9  How is the part time course run?

A9  A part time student will spread the workload over two years. Please see the question and answer no. 7.

Q10  Are there any modules offered in the weekday evenings and weekends?

A10  We have no plan to offer modules at weekends, however we may offer a few modules from 18:00 - 20:00 every semester.

Q11  What are the differences between MA and MSc degree?

A11 You may choose to study for an MA or MSc qualification in SPIRe.

Students opting for the MSc variation of the programme will, in addition, take core modules in research design and statistics. This will provide a solid understanding of doing research and critically evaluating claims made by academics and other researchers. Those considering further study at PhD level or a career in research, policy analysis or journalism should certainly consider the MSc variant.

The MA track is broader and allows you to choose to complete a dissertation or apply for an internship to develop your professional skills in the field.

Q12  Is the timetable available?

A12  Yes, please see here for the current timetables for all MA/MSc and Grad Dip programmes