Irish Studies Options

The MA in Irish Studies is made up of 6 courses ('modules') and a Dissertation

Full time students take 3 modules in Semester 1 (S1: September to December); 3 modules in Semester 2 (S2: February to May) and complete the Irish Studies Dissertation (IRS7010) over the Summer (for submission by mid September).

In 2018-19 all full-time students will take IRS7011 'Belfast: Place, Identity and Memory in a Contested City' in Semester 1, and choose 2 additional options in Semester 1 and three in Semester 2.

Part-time students take either 1 or 2 modules each semester (3 per academic year) as advised by the programme director.


Follow your own interests through selecting your Option Modules from our Irish Studies related course list, including for 2017-18:

  • Debates in History (History - MHY7035 - Sem1)
  • The Politics of Northern Ireland (Politics - PAI7021 -Sem1)
  • Government and Institutions of Northern Ireland (Politics - PAI7002 - Sem1)
  • Individually Negotiated Topic in History (History - MHY7011 - Sem1)
  • Political Cinema: Conflict and Form (Film Studies - FLM7012 - Sem1)
  • Irish Poetry (English - ENG7305 - Sem2)
  • Topics in Irish History (History - MHY7081 - Sem2)
  • Politics of the Republic of Ireland (Politics - PAI7022 - Sem2)
  • MA Specialisation - Anthropology of Ireland (Anthropology - ANT7053 - Sem2)
  • Conflict & Change in Northern Ireland (Sociology - SOC9062 - Sem2) [Must be taken with SOC6096 University Research and Civil Society - Sem2]


And modules from our Research Skills and Work Placements course list. You should take at least one of these modules.

  • Literary Research Methods (English - ENG7163 - Sem1)
  • Approaches to Research Design (Politics - PAI7001 - Sem1)
  • Approaches to Social Research (Sociology - SOC9012 - Sem1)
  • Internship in Public History and Heritage (with placement in a museum/heritage centre in Northern Ireland) (History - MHY7077 - Sem2)
  • Working with Archives (History - MHY7025 - Sem2)
  • Becoming an Historian (History - MHY7020 - Sem2)
  • Advanced Anthropological Methods (Anthropology - ANT7007 - Sem2)
  • Research Methods in Critical and Creative Practice (Creative Arts - Sem 2)
New options will be added for 2018-19 in Irish Language/Literature and in Geography
Other modules offered as part of additional MA programmes, including Individually Negotiated Topics, may be available with the approval of the MA Convenor.

Non-credit bearing courses in Irish Language and Ulster Scots are also available from the Language Centre.


Duration and Mode of Study
This degree can be taken on either a one year (12 months) full-time or two year (31 months) part-time basis. The course consists of six taught courses (modules), and a 15,000 word research dissertation. International (non-EU) students may only take the full-time study option. The first semester runs from September until end December and the second semester from late January until end May. For details of the University calendar click here.

Full-time students take three modules in each semester, with the dissertation due in mid-September at the end of the academic year. 'Belfast' is a core module in Semester 1; the other 4 modules may be chosen from the available Irish-Studies related and research skills modules on the guidance of the MA Irish Studies convenor.

Part-time students take one or two modules per semester over two academic years, with the dissertation due for submission by 1 May of third year. 

Some options may require that a relevant research methods module be taken or that the student have a particular academic background. The dissertation may be supervised by Institute staff or, subject to the agreement of the Director of Irish Studies, by Research Associates in our partner Schools.

Aims of the programme
1) To provide students with the methods and knowledge to undertake research.
2) To offer students a range of modules that will allow them to pursue challenging cross–disciplinary themes.
3) To explore the possibilities and opportunities in inter-disciplinary work.
4) To introduce the students to conceptual tools which allow them to explore, critically, aspects of Irish Studies.
5) To assist the students in developing focused research and providing them with the skills necessary to write academic papers.

Six taught modules usually assessed by written assignment(s), and a research dissertation of up to 15,000 words, supervised by an Irish Studies specialist.

Students of the Institute of the Irish Studies go on to make careers, not only as scholars, but in the media, in the heritage sector and in business.

Entrance Requirements

The normal entry requirement is a primary degree with high honours (usually a 2.1 or equivalent) in a relevant subject; applicants with lower degree grades with appropriate research experience may also be considered. For overseas students, a cumulative grade point average of 3.3, or better, from an accredited institution is normally expected.