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The aim of the MA in Politics is to deepen students' understanding of important contemporary issues in political studies through the enhancement of students' analytical skills, research and writing talent, and capacity for utilising theoretical approaches. These are all important transferrable skills, highly valued in the job market. The programme is of particular interest to those wishing to know more about Irish politics (North and South), European politics, political conflict, and political theory.

Course Details

Students take six taught modules, which introduce them to the core of the discipline and teach the skills necessary to conduct research. MA students must also complete the Dissertation module. Each taught module is worth 20 credits. The Dissertation is worth 60 credits.

The programme has three different components: Core modules, Elective modules, and an MA dissertation.

Semester 1

To acquire foundational knowledge and understanding in Politics, students will take core modules introducing research methods for the study of politics, as well as core issues in the comparative study of the UK and Europe.

Core Modules

  • HAP7001 - Approaches to Research Design
  • PAI7099 – The UK and Europe

Elective Modules

Students must also choose ONE optional module in Semester 1 from:

  • PAI7021 - Politics of Northern Ireland
  • PAI7036 - The Politics and Political Economy of Energy and Low Carbon Energy Transitions 
  • PHL7056 – Global Ethics

PAI9099 - Dissertation research commences.

Semester 2

Students must take at least two of the following modules listed below:

  • PAI7052 - Institutions and Policies of the EU 
  • PAI7022 - The Politics of the Republic of Ireland 
  • PAI7032 - Gender, Politics and Democracy 
  • PAI7100 – Engaging citizens in democratic institutions 
  • PHL7038 – Philosophy of Conflict and War 

Students may choose ONE module from the following list:

  • PAI7030 – International Political Economy
  • PAI7050 - Ethnic Conflict and Consensus:

PAI9099 - Dissertation research continues.

Semester 3

  • PAI9099 - Dissertation (15,000 words maximum)

Visit the website for further details on modules.

Learning and Teaching

A mix of essays, learning journals, presentations, examination and portfolio projects, including policy briefs.

At the end of the programme learners will have the capacity to be self-reflective and practice sound judgement and will possess the necessary skills to enhance their ability, think critically and pursue independent research.

The learner will develop their basic knowledge of the general methodological and theoretical approaches of Politics as well as enhance their basic history of the discipline and knowledge of its specific concepts, issues and vocabulary.

At the end of the programme learners will have the capacity to be self-reflexive and practice sound judgement, and will possess the necessary skills to enhance their ability to think critically and pursue independent research

Able to evaluate different interpretations of political issues and events.

Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of different political systems, the nature and distribution of power in them; the social, economic, historical and cultural contexts within which they operate, and the relationships between them.

Apply concepts, theories and methods used in the study of politics to the analysis of political ideas, institutions and practices.

Understand the nature and significance of politics as a human activity.


Assessment and Feedback are continuous throughout the course of study.

Assessments associated with the course are outlined below:

  • A mix of essays including policy briefs.
  • Learning journals 
  • Presentations 
  • Examination 
  • Portfolio projects

Politics Highlights

In this programme students will have the opportunity to study key issues in contemporary politics and normative theory, British Politics, Irish Politics, European Politics, International Relations, Policy, and Comparative Ethnic Conflict.

Career Development

The MA in Politics provides students with the opportunity to engage in a wide range of active research networks and groups on diverse themes, including gender studies, political theory/philosophy, political economy, environmental policies and postcolonial politics. On successful completion of their taught module coursework, PGDip students can complete the dissertation for an award of MA Graduates are now working in careers with local and national government, policy analysis and advocacy for NGOs and charities. Many are also in the private sector working as lawyers, in the media and in management consultancy.

Internationally Renowned Experts

Students benefit from intensive teaching by a wide and varied range of political scientists and theorists with strong publishing profiles and international reputations in their areas of expertise.

Student Experience

Politics is about conflict, debate and the contest of ideas, making Belfast, where such things are part of everyday reality, an ideal place to study the subject. The modules offered are tailored to the University’s location and its expertise in Irish, Northern Irish and EU politics. They provide a unique opportunity for students to engage and reflect on political crises – from the stalemate in Stormont to the delivery of Brexit – as they unfold. The programme offers students the flexibility and opportunity to engage in a wide range of active research networks and groups on diverse themes, including gender studies, political theory, environmental policy, political philosophy, political economy, and postcolonial politics.

How to Apply

Apply using the online Postgraduate Applications Portal go.qub.ac.uk/pgapply and follow the step-by-step instructions on how to apply.

Visit the Politics (MA/PgDip) page on the Queen’s University Belfast website for more details!





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