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MA in American Politics and Foreign Policy

Full Time (Z234) and Part Time (Z235) APPLY

“I completed a Masters in American Politics and Foreign Policy in 2018, having completed an unrelated degree over 20 years ago.  The course was invigorating, thought provoking and challenging with a wide range of topics discussed and researched on each subject area.  The lecturers are exceptional and extremely knowledgeable, and the course exceed all my exceptions.” – Kevin McSharry

The MA in American Politics and Foreign Policy encourages students to comprehend the how and why of the subject. Throughout the modules you will encounter diverse perspectives but the main emphasis will be upon scholarly and/or policy-oriented readings and discussions.

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Hear what our current students have to say about the programme:


The MA in American Politics and Foreign Policy is designed for those people planning, or already engaged in, a career in the diplomatic service, journalism, international organizations, or non-governmental organizations. This masters will also prepare you for a career in politics, political risk analysis, academia, and think tanks.

Learning Outcomes

The MA in American Politics and Foreign Policy encourages students to comprehend the how and why of the subject. Throughout the modules you will encounter different perspectives but the main emphasis will be upon scholarly and/or policy-oriented readings and discussions. At the end of the program, you will be able to examine and critically evaluate complex questions such as:

– What are the main challenges to US National Security and how are they confronted?

– How is the American political system dealing with an increasingly diverse American society?

– To what extent has the revolution in Information and Communication Technology transformed Global Politics and US foreign policy?

– What are the meanings and the implications of the debates surrounding the key concepts of US Empire, US Decline, US Grand Strategy, and US Power?


This is a provisional list of core modules and are subject to final confirmation. Each module tutor will provide students with documentation setting out the structure and content of the module. 10 credit modules normally consist of weekly two-hour seminars. These are group discussion classes where students are expected to bring up issues arising from their independent study.

The International Politics of Cyber-Space AMST40560 (10 credits)

The ubiquity and interconnectedness of computers has become a defining feature of modern societies. The revolution in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is also having a growing impact on several aspects of Global Politics including how state and non-state actors wage war, collect intelligence, negotiate, understand security, and spread disinformation. In order to maintain its predominant position, the United States is at the forefront of these developments.

This module includes the discussion of key concepts such as the meaning of Information Revolution and Cyber-Space; the analysis of the extent to which ICT has changed traditional features of both Global and US politics; and the investigation of case studies where ICT may have played a critical role as in the case of the 2016 US presidential election.

At the end of this module, you will gain a sophisticated understanding of the effects that the revolution in Information and Communication Technology is having on Global Politics and the important role that the United States plays in them.

Challenges in Contemporary US Foreign Policy AMST40310 (10 credits)

The United States plays a powerful role in contemporary Global Politics. Therefore understanding its place in the international system and how its foreign policy is made are of crucial importance for every student of Global Politics. This module mainly focuses on the challenges facing US foreign policy in the 21st century. First, we will discuss the topical debates about US relative decline and the future of US Grand Strategy. Second, we will study the complex relations existing between the United States and the other regions of the world. Third, we will conclude by analyzing US foreign policies in especially important areas such as the global economy, the environment, and international terrorism.

At the end of the module you will be able to present in detail and critically analyze key issues in international relations and the role that the United States plays in them. You will also develop the ability to offer policy recommendations to address current real-world foreign crises.

Trump’s America AMST40590 (10 credits)

This module examines the political and cultural significance of Donald Trump’s election as president of the United States. It will explore a range of issues surrounding the election and the early administration of President Trump. These include: immigration and borders; race and the cities; fake news and politics in the new media age; Brexit and transatlantic relations; white nationalism and identity politics; and narratives of decline. Each student will have an opportunity to present a commentary on a selected topic. Students will learn about key ideas and arguments attending the election and early administration of President Trump. The course will develop students’ abilities to analyse contemporary American politics, culture and media in a critically informed way. Discussions and essay preparation will aid students in developing further skills in researching, oral communication of ideas, textual/visual analysis and critical interpretation.


The U.S. and the Middle East AMST40570 (10 credits)

The United States has long been a key player in Middle Eastern politics while the Middle East remains a critical region for the protection and promotion of the US national interest. This module will thoroughly explore the relationship of the United States with the region of the Middle East. Although it will regularly look back at the history of US foreign policy toward the region, the module will especially focus on 21st century issues. You will study topics including democracy promotion, nuclear proliferation, humanitarian intervention, Islamism, and counterterrorism. You will analyze specific case studies such as military intervention in Libya, the civil war in Syria, and the rise of the Islamic State to name a few. This module requires active participation in class through discussions and small group exercises.

At the end of the module you will gain a sophisticated understanding of the key foreign policy issues concerning the United States in the strategically important region of the Middle East.


Research Skills and Methods AMST40480 (10 credits)

This course is designed to provide Masters and new PhD students with skills essential to the preparation and production of a postgraduate thesis. It will present the necessary tools for postgraduate research and develop associated skills such as the presentation of written and oral work to peers and scholars. It will also introduce students to methodology and the nature of interdisciplinary study.

Dissertation AMST40150 (30 credits)

This thesis is based upon independent study research on a topic agreed with the Institute supervisor. Supervisors monitor student’s individual progress and offer advice on the preparation and presentation of the dissertation. It should be between 12,000 and 15,000 words. On completion of the thesis students should be able to: identify source material for research; carry out independent research and analysis; present research in a persuasive format; show knowledge of debates germane to the field of study; develop skills of critical analysis and argument.


Applicants for the MA should hold one of the following qualifications:

  • A first class or second class, grade 1 degree
  • A US or Canadian degree with a GPA of 3.5
  • If an applicant doesn’t meet the normal entry requirement of a Level 8 degree, in exceptional circumstances they would normally present another qualification or award along with extensive work experience in order to be considered.


The fees quoted exclude the student centre levy

                                                                                      EU Students  Non-EU Students

MA American Politics and Foreign Policy Full-Time          €7,455            €18,700

MA American Politics and Foreign Policy Part-Time         €4,480             €9350

The Institute offers a limited number of Scholarships (reduction on fees) to non EU students.

UCD Fees 


Students apply online at www.ucd.ie/apply and decisions are made on a rolling basis. A conditional offer can be made if you are still waiting in your final exam results .

The following documents should be uploaded with your application. In addition to completing the application form you will need the following:

  • Two academic references.
  • A person statement (700 – 1000 words) of interest and or experience relevant to the programme
  • A 300 word dissertation proposal.  You should outline the subject or topic that you are currently interested in researching and writing on.  You can change your mind once you have started the programme.
  • Academic transcripts (UCD students do not need to upload these)
  • Copy of id (eg. passport or driving licence)
  • Applicants whose native language is not English must provide a IELTS, TOEFL or Cambridge certificate of proficiency in English. It is expected that should will normally have reached an overall 6.5 (IELTS) with no section less than 6.

Once a student has accepted a place on the programme they will have to submit all the original documents (hard copies) to:

On-Line Application Office, Tierney Building, UCD, Belfield, Dublin 4

If you have any questions on the process please contact – Catherine.Carey@ucd.ie or

Tel. +353 1 7161560