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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.

For 2018-19 we have a new Option Module (S2) on 'The Irish Novel in the 20th Century'


Follow your own interests through selecting your Option Modules from our Irish Studies related course list (below for 2018-19).

Students must choose one research methods module from across the AHSS faculty list in either semester 1 or semester 2. These modules are indicated by asterisks*:


Autumn Semester

Students are required to take:

IRS7011Belfast: Place, Identity and Memory in a Contested City


Students also choose two option modules from the list below:

School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics

HAP7001 – Approaches and Debates in Research Design*

MHY7011 - Individually Negotiated Topic

MHY7020 - Becoming an Historian*

MHY7090 - Pathways through History

PAI7021 - The Politics of Northern Ireland

PAI7028 - Violence, Terrorism and Security


School of English, Arts and Languages

ENG7163 - Literary Research Methods*

FLM7012 - Political Cinema: Conflict and Form


School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work

SOC9012 - Approaches to Social Research*


Spring Semester

Students are required to take three option modules from the list below:


School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics

MHY7025 - Presenting sources

MHY7035 – Theory in History

MHY7077 - Public History Internship

MHY7081 - Topics in Irish History

ANT7007 - Advanced Anthropological Methods*

ANT7053 - MA Specialisation: Anthropology of Ireland

PAI7022 - The Politics of the Republic of Ireland

PAI7027 - Conflict Intervention


School of Arts, English and Language

ENG7261 Reading Historically - The Irish Novel in the 20th Century  

ENG7305 – Irish Poetry


School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work

SOC9062 - Conflict and Change in Northern Ireland: New Sociological Research (10 CATS) AND

SOC9069 – University Research and Civil Society (10 CATS)

[SOC9062 and SOC9069 must be taken together as one module choice]


Summer Semester

Students complete research on: MHY7010 Irish Studies Dissertation

 (Submission in mid September, 2019)



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.

Module Summaries

HAP7001 - Approaches to Research Design

This module has two key purposes:.
First it introduces students to some important themes in the philosophy of the social sciences. Second, it develops students' skills in research design through an examination of selected qualitative and quantitative research methodologies. In doing so it addresses key issues in the design and preparation of the dissertation.

MHY7090 - Pathways Through History

Students are introduced to historiographical pathways followed by Queen’s staff and examine some of the grand debates that have taken place within political, social, culture and gender history. They are encouraged to reflect on their own pathway through history and to consider the range of historiographical and thematic approaches open to them as part of their postgraduate studies.

MHY7020 - Becoming an Historian

Students probe some of the approaches used by historians to examine the past, including oral history, literary and visual sources and quantitative data. They receive training on the use of archival sources and on other key skills such as critical writing and high level presentations. The module also offers a careers-focused element by reflecting on the employment of historians inside and outside academia.

MHY7011 - Individually Negotiated Topic

An exciting opportunity for students to work with a research leader in their field on an essay topic that is selected by the student. Students work in a small Study Group (up to 3) and individually (with the supervisor), to assess the historiographical literature on a research question of their choice.

MHY7035 - History and Theory

In this module individual lecturers introduces students to a theoretical approach that has inspired or influenced their research. The module examines some of the big theoretical debate about history and truth, history and class, history and gender, and history and identity. The module uses case studies to bring passion and insight to the students’ understanding of theoretical approaches. Staff teaching on the module are asked to reflect on the key books and articles that made them either shake with disbelieving anger or race to the archives full of inspiration!

MHY7025 - Presenting Sources

Students are given an opportunity to undertake practical work on a selection of primary sources. This can include the production of a calendar of previously uncatalogued documents, a finding aid to primary sources on a defined theme, or a database drawn from primary sources.


PAI7021 - Politics of Northern Ireland

This module aims to examine the principal debates and issues in Northern Irish politics and includes both an analytical survey of the history of the entity, and a treatment of key political themes. The overall aim of the module is to place Northern Irish politics in appropriate historical and ideological context. The political conflict in Northern Ireland has generated an extensive scholarly literature. This module requires students to engage with such work, and through such engagement to develop their own interpretations of Northern Irish politics form the foundation of Northern Ireland as a political unit up until the present.


PAI7022 - The Politics of the Republic of Ireland

This module explores and analyses the political development of independent Ireland in historical context. It combines an historical and thematic approach to provide students with a sophisticated understanding of the politics of independent Ireland. It introduces students to key debates on the Irish revolution, Irish historical revisionism, and the foundations of the new state. Particular themes include partition and its impact, the achievement of stability and order, negotiations of identity, problems of modernisation, party politics and their dynamics, Ireland’s shifting place in European and world politics, and the changing nature of Irish politics and society.

SOC9062 - Conflict and Change in Northern Ireland: New Sociological Research

The objectives of this module are to introduce advanced students to key issues in contemporary research on conflict and change in divided societies, using Northern Ireland as a case study. It will examine critical sociological debates about identity, ethnicity, inequality, and conflict management, and interrogate their usefulness in a Northern Irish context. Emphasis will be placed on how Northern Ireland may conform to, or challenge, contemporary debates in theoretical and comparative sociology.

SOC9069 University Research and Civil Society Organisations

The purpose of this module is to provide students with an introduction to the fundamental principles of planning and conducting research that has a meaningful engagement with civil society. The goal of such research is to have an ‘impact’ that is beneficial to organisations working in the field, not only to the scholar her/himself. This module emphasises concepts and practical skills over disciplinary specificities. It will illustrate standards and good practice in research preparation and methods to ensure that these tools lead to meaningful relationships, mutual trust, productive outcomes, and sustained partnerships, as well as high quality research. It will ensure students will become confident in engaging with civil society organisations and considerate of the demands not just of research ethics but also of research engagement.