Skip to Content
MA|Postgraduate Taught


Entry year
Entry requirements
2.2 (minimum 55%)
1 year (Full-time)
3 years (Part-time)
Places available
30 (Full Time)
30 (Part Time)

The MA Politics is a broad-based programme, offering students a good grounding in the discipline of political science. This MA gives students the opportunity to engage with core theories, concepts, issues and debates in politics. Students may tailor their programme to their own interests by their choice of optional modules and dissertation, from Irish politics and European politics to political theory and comparative politics, which build on the strengths of the school's research. The masters offers a unique perspective on multi-level politics in Europe, at the regional, national, and European levels and on the policy issues of the time, including energy transitions and climate change, ethnic conflict, gender, and democratic legitimacy.

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 transferable 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, territorial politics, political conflict, and political theory.

Belfast is a globally significant location and 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. Northern Ireland is viewed as a model of conflict resolution and peace building across the world.

Students can directly benefit from the School and University’s wider expertise in political theory, comparative politics, Irish and Northern Irish politics, gender and environmental politics, security studies, border studies, terrorism and political violence.

Students have the opportunity to visit Brussels (part-funded by the School) including the European Parliament, European Commission, Human Rights NGOs, NATO, etc.

Politics highlights

Career Development

The MA Politics combines a grounding in key contemporary issues and in-depth methods training, with a lot of flexibility for students. Students unsure of which precise direction they wish their career to take will benefit from the fact that the MA in Politics allows for a generalist course of study alongside excellent careers support both within the School and the University at large. 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, Irish politics, political theory/philosophy, political economy, and environmental policies. Students can also choose to specialise through their choice of options and dissertation topic in Irish politics, political theory, European politics, or comparative politics.

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.

Many academics on the programme are engaged in QPOL (Queen’s Policy Engagement) – this is the ‘front door’ for public policy engagement at Queen’s University, supporting academics and policymakers in sharing evidence-based research and ideas on the major social, cultural and economic challenges facing society regionally, nationally and beyond.

This includes a Brexit Clinic, which involves Queen’s experts providing insight and analysis into the various facets of Brexit. Many of our experts in this area act as advisors to the UK and NI governments, particularly in relation to the Irish border and the backstop, as the only land border between the UK and EU.

Student Experience

Students unsure of which precise direction they wish their career to take will benefit from the fact that the MA in Politics allows for a generalist course of study with the ability to specialise through their choice of optional modules, alongside excellent careers support both within the School and the University at large.

There are many practical elements embedded in the programme. Examples include the practical modules such as Engaging Citizens in Democratic Institutions. This module includes a thematic visit to the NI Assembly (as does the Politics core module).

There is also a trip to Brussels (part-funded by the School) in which students visit the European Parliament, European Commission, Human Rights NGOs, NATO, etc.

We also use a range of assessment techniques, such as writing essays, blogs and policy briefs, where students are presented with a problem and are tasked to come up with practical solutions.

Queen’s ranked 18 in the world for international outlook (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2023).

16% of the Queen’s student population are international students (Queen’s Planning Office, 2023).

Queen’s is ranked in the top 75 universities in Europe for Teaching Excellence (Times Higher Education, 2019).

Queen’s is ranked in the top 170 in the world for graduate prospects (QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2022).

Student Testimonials

Course Structure

Students take six taught modules, including two compulsory modules in the first semester, which introduce them to the core of the discipline and teach the skills necessary to conduct research. They must also complete the Dissertation module. Each taught module is worth 20 credits. The Dissertation is worth 60 credits.

Course Details

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

The MA offers students with the possibility to study a wide range of topics or specialise in Irish politics, political theory, European politics, or comparative politics:
• Irish Politics modules: PAI7022 The Politics of the Republic of Ireland, PAI7021 The Politics and Institutions of Northern Ireland
• Political Theory modules: PAI7059 Freedom and Modernity & PHL7057 Social Injustice
• European Politics modules: PAI7099 The UK and Europe & PAI7052 Institutions and Policies of the EU
• Comparative Politics modules: PAI7032 Gender and Politics, PAI7038 Theories in Comparative Politics, PAI7050 Ethnic Conflict and Consensus, & PAI7100 Engaging Citizens in Democratic Institutions

People teaching you

Programme Convenor

Dr Elodie Fabre’s research focuses on the relationship between political parties, territorial politics and citizen engagement. She is currently also writing on French politics and in particular on Emmanuel Macron’s political party Renaissance/En Marche. Email:

Teaching Times

Teaching takes place at a variety of times from 9-8pm Monday – Friday.

Learning and Teaching

Most modules are taught through seminars, which combine short lectures, class discussions, group work and other in-class activities. Class size is around 15-20 students. Our Virtual Learning Environment also provides opportunities for online activities such as discussion groups, reading groups, and quizzes (uses vary between modules).

  • Cognitive Skills

    The MA in Politics,

    • Provides learners with the opportunity to develop generic analytical, reasoning, literacy and communication skills.

    • Provides learners with the ability to solve problems, process and prioritise a wide variety of information, and express arguments and positions in oral and written form.

    • The learner to 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.

  • Knowledge and Understanding

    This programme equips students with a set of key, subject, employability and transferable skills; encourages a professional attitude towards self-organisation; and provides students with the intellectual tools to reflect upon the subject of Politics both by theoretical explorations of the nature of Politics and by comparison between societies.

    The MA provides students with a knowledge and understanding of core debars in the subject, and fosters an attitude of self-motivated and independent learning.

    It enables students to research political phenomena, events and arguments/ideas.

    It provides a grounding in the key issues in contemporary politics and normative theory, British Politics, Irish Politics, European Politics, International Relations Policy and Comparative Ethnic Conflict (depending on modules chosen).

  • Subject Specific Skills

    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.


Assessments associated with the course are outlined below:

  • • Essays
    • Learning Journals
    • Presentations
    • Examination
    • Portfolio projects, including blog posts
    • Policy briefs/papers




The information below is intended as an example only, featuring module details for the current year of study (2023/24). Modules are reviewed on an annual basis and may be subject to future changes – revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year.

  • Year 1

    Core Modules

    Dissertation (60 credits)

    Optional Modules

    Social Injustice (20 credits)
    Global Ireland (20 credits)
    Gender and Politics (20 credits)
    The UK and Europe (20 credits)

Entrance requirements


Normally a strong 2.2 Honours degree (with minimum of 55%) or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in a Social Sciences, Humanities or Arts subject; or a 2.2 Honours degree (with minimum of 55%) or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in any subject with relevant professional experience.

The University's Recognition of Prior Learning Policy provides guidance on the assessment of experiential learning (RPEL). For more information, please visit

Applicants are advised to apply as early as possible and ideally no later than 16th August 2024 for courses which commence in late September. In the event that any programme receives a high number of applications, the University reserves the right to close the application portal. Notifications to this effect will appear on the Direct Application Portal against the programme application page.

International Students

Our country/region pages include information on entry requirements, tuition fees, scholarships, student profiles, upcoming events and contacts for your country/region. Use the dropdown list below for specific information for your country/region.

English Language Requirements

Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.5, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required (*taken within the last 2 years).

International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.

For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see:

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.

  • Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
  • Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.



Career Prospects


All of the Masters programmes offered in the School provide our graduates with the skills to pursue a wide range of careers in the private, public and voluntary sectors. MA Politics graduates are now working in careers with local, devolved 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 or public affairs. The MA also provides an excellent basis for those who wish to proceed to Doctoral-level study.

Queen's postgraduates reap exceptional benefits. Unique initiatives, such as Degree Plus and Researcher Plus bolster our commitment to employability, while innovative leadership and executive programmes alongside sterling integration with business experts helps our students gain key leadership positions both nationally and internationally.

Graduate Plus/Future Ready Award for extra-curricular skills

In addition to your degree programme, at Queen's you can have the opportunity to gain wider life, academic and employability skills. For example, placements, voluntary work, clubs, societies, sports and lots more. So not only do you graduate with a degree recognised from a world leading university, you'll have practical national and international experience plus a wider exposure to life overall. We call this Graduate Plus/Future Ready Award. It's what makes studying at Queen's University Belfast special.

Tuition Fees

Northern Ireland (NI) 1 £7,300
Republic of Ireland (ROI) 2 £7,300
England, Scotland or Wales (GB) 1 £9,250
EU Other 3 £21,500
International £21,500

1EU citizens in the EU Settlement Scheme, with settled status, will be charged the NI or GB tuition fee based on where they are ordinarily resident. Students who are ROI nationals resident in GB will be charged the GB fee.

2 EU students who are ROI nationals resident in ROI are eligible for NI tuition fees.

3 EU Other students (excludes Republic of Ireland nationals living in GB, NI or ROI) are charged tuition fees in line with international fees.

All tuition fees quoted relate to a single year of study unless stated otherwise. Tuition fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

More information on postgraduate tuition fees.

Additional course costs

There are no specific additional course costs associated with this programme.

All Students

Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.

Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library. If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. Students should also budget between £30 to £75 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges.

Students undertaking a period of work placement or study abroad, as either a compulsory or optional part of their programme, should be aware that they will have to fund additional travel and living costs.

If a programme includes a major project or dissertation, there may be costs associated with transport, accommodation and/or materials. The amount will depend on the project chosen. There may also be additional costs for printing and binding.

Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen.

There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

How do I fund my study?

The Department for the Economy will provide a tuition fee loan of up to £6,500 per NI / EU student for postgraduate study. Tuition fee loan information.

A postgraduate loans system in the UK offers government-backed student loans of up to £11,836 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas. Criteria, eligibility, repayment and application information are available on the UK government website.

More information on funding options and financial assistance - please check this link regularly, even after you have submitted an application, as new scholarships may become available to you.

International Scholarships

Information on scholarships for international students, is available at



How to Apply

Apply using our online Postgraduate Applications Portal and follow the step-by-step instructions on how to apply.

Apply now

When to Apply

The deadline for applications is normally 30th June 2021. In the event that any programme receives a high volume of applications, the university reserves the right to close the application portal earlier than 30th June deadline. Notifications to this effect will appear on the Direct Entry Portal (DAP) against the programme application page.

Terms and Conditions

The terms and conditions that apply when you accept an offer of a place at the University on a taught programme of study.
Queen's University Belfast Terms and Conditions.

Download a prospectus