Prospective Undergraduate Students

Why Study Politics & International Relations at UCD? 

Politics and international relations deal with the conflicts, potential for cooperation, and exercise of power that arise when people have to live together both within and across societies. Politics is inescapable, since we all have to live with other people to some extent, which is why Aristotle claimed over two thousand years ago that politics was the most valuable science and pursued the most important goals. For Ireland in the 21st century – by some measurements the most globalised country on earth – political questions on both national and international levels are more pressing than ever before.

In studying politics and international relations, we try to understand what happens, to figure out what should happen, and to determine how this might be realised. Much of political study involves seeking to understand national and international political institutions, systems and forces – parliaments, presidents and power, votes, vetoes and violence – but it also seeks to explain the changes that occur in these and to articulate what further possibilities for change exist. But politics equally involves what is called political theory, examining what institutions, options and lives we ought to have: what justice demands, what freedom requires, what democracy could be. This is equally true on the international scale – we can explain war, trade and global poverty, discuss the existing mechanisms for coping with these issues and examine what moral demands these facts place on individual nations and individual human beings.

Why study with us?

University College Dublin’s School of Politics and International Relations is the largest and most diverse in the state and combines a variety of approaches to all political matters with special expertise in particular areas. Such areas of particular expertise include: European studies, development studies, comparative politics, Irish politics, political theory, international relations and British-Irish studies. It was ranked in the Top 100 Universities in the world for Politics and International Studies by Subject in 2017.

Our school has a strongly international group of students and staff, and our graduates are found all over the world, in governments, universities and other organizations. In Ireland and the EU, our graduates are found at the highest levels of government and are equally prominent in the media, civil service and business sectors.

The study of politics informs you about the world around you, teaches you to analyse and evaluate that information and trains you to present that information in a compelling and useful way. These skills have meant that our graduates are always in high demand.

Career Opportunities

A wide range of employment opportunities in the public and private sector is open to graduates of the various Politics programmes both in Ireland and abroad. Areas include:

  • The Irish Civil Service
  • The European Commisson
  • International Agencies such as UN, IMF and World Bank
  • NGOs
  • Print and Broadcasting Media
  • The Diplomatic Service
  • Business Administration and Research
  • Public Representatives
  • Academic Life

Graduates are also extremely well qualified to pursue further study at Masters and PhD level. 


Politics & International Relations can be taken as part of a BSc Social Sciences (DN700)BA Humanities (DN530), or a Law with Politics degree (DN600)This page explains the details of each degree. 

For further information in relation to admissions to these courses, please contact the admissions office directly. 


For queries related to Politics & International Relations course contents, please contact Yuko Conlon

Tel: +353-1-716 8397 Email:

SPIRe Undergraduate BrochurePDF|800KB