Q1  Do I have to pay the application fee?

A1  Yes. The application fee must be paid before the UCD Application System will allow us to review it.

Q2  What is an academic reference?

A2  Your reference should come from a lecturer of your undergraduate degree at your previous/current university. It should include a history of academic grades and why you should be recommended to the programme. It should be signed and on headed paper.

Q3  Do I need two references?

A3  No. We only require one reference. 

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

A4  You may ask the referee to send a hardcopy to:

Postgraduate Administrator,

Room G314, School of Politics & International Relations,

Newman building, University College Dublin,

Belfield, Dublin 4,


You may also ask them to send the 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) and not from a personal email account.

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 may accept a reference from your current/recent employer as an exception provided the programme coordinator is willing to accept this.

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

A6  Yes, you can. As part of the admission process, 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 am I supposed to attend each week?

A7 The structure of full time and part time programmes is the same, the timetable also. Both FT and PT programmes are 90 credits. Modules normally run from Monday to Friday between(09:00 – 18:00).

Your timetable would depend on your module choices.

Full time programmes:

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

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

Summer Trimester - Thesis or Internship 30 credit module -  for details please check your chosen programme structure.

Part time programmes:

Part time students take a total of 90 credits also but 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 take the Thesis or Internship 30 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. The majority of lectures take place between 09:00 and 18:00, 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. See Q7.

Q10  Are there any modules offered in the evenings or at 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. We do not currently run any weekend or evening masters programmes.

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/MEconSc and Grad Dip programmes.