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International Study Programs

International Public Policy and Diplomacy

International Public Policy and Diplomacy

University College Cork, Ireland

About This Program

The MSc in International Public Policy and Diplomacy is an innovative, interdisciplinary, taught master’s course that provides graduates with the expertise and work experience required for successful careers in international policy environments.

The International Public Policy and Diplomacy (Master of Science) course will be of interest to you if you aspire to a career in, or are already working in, departments of foreign affairs and other government ministries, international political and financial organisations, the armed forces, aid agencies, non-governmental organisations, think-tanks, and international businesses.

The course is offered by UCC’s Departments of Government, History, Law and Management and Marketing and will give you access to expertise across a diverse range of subjects. The MBS International Public Policy and Diplomacy is strongly oriented toward vocational skills training, through coursework and the opportunity to undertake a work placement.

Key features of the MSc in International Public Policy and Diplomacy are its focus on policy issues and the way in which it will give you the practical skills necessary to work in international policy environments.

A unique benefit in enrolling in the programme is that the MSc International Public Policy and Diplomacy offers you the choice of either a traditional minor thesis or the opportunity to undertake a work placement for between three and five months.

The work placement, the field trips and the skills focus of the assessment for the course are central to the effectiveness of the programme. In this course you will engage with the most contemporary debates and issues facing the global policymaking community and have direct interaction with current and retired policy-makers.

Students are placed in major international cities, such as Brussels, London and Washington DC, as well as in Cork and Dublin. UCC has relationships with a variety of organisations who take students from the course and students are provided with expert support in sourcing and applying for work placements.


Course Delivery

The taught part of the course runs from mid-September to the end of the following March. You will take the work placement or research dissertation between the beginning of April and the end of September. The length of the work placement may vary from three to five months.

During the taught part of the course, students have approximately 8-10 hours per week of lectures/seminars. This is supplemented by recommended reading, preparation of presentations and other group work and time spent completing assignments (essays, policy reports, research projects, etc). During the taught part of the course you will also take classes in preparation for the work placement.

You will be taking work placements in a variety of organisations/institutions working in areas related to international affairs, such as government ministries, international organisations, the offices of elected representatives, think-tanks and non-governmental organisations.

In part 1, the course is assessed through a variety of course work assignments, including

  • research projects
  • policy reports
  • presentations
  • group work.

The assessment is designed to help you to develop both the understanding of issues and the practical skills necessary to work in international affairs.

In part 2 of the course, the assessment involves

  • a detailed work placement portfolio if you are undertaking the work placement, or
  • researching and writing a 15,000-20,000-word dissertation (if you are completing the dissertation).


Having completed the course, you will be a skilled analyst of international affairs and have the confidence and experience to apply that expertise in the real world either in a consulate or embassy or in business.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course, you will be able to identify and assess global policy challenges and global policymaking processes and will have gained expertise in analysis and evaluation, report writing, and oral presentation skills.

In addition, you will develop practical and analytical skills relevant to working in international affairs and gain an insight into personal and group dynamics associated with leadership.

CHECK OUT the other colleges and universities IVC represents

Course Outline

The MSc in International Public Policy and Diplomacy is divided in two parts.

Part 1

In Part 1, students take a combination of compulsory and elective modules.

The core modules of Part 1 invite you to engage with:

  • The contemporary global challenges facing policymakers;
  • Processes of government decision-making in relation to international affairs;
  • International economic policies and institutions;
  • International law;
  • The institutions and policies of the European Union (EU);

In addition, you will develop practical and analytical skills relevant to working in international affairs and gain an insight into personal and group dynamics associated with leadership.

You will also choose from a range of electives offered by the Departments of Government, Law and History.

Part 2

Part 2 of the course challenges you to apply the skills acquired in Part 1 either by undertaking:

  • An independent piece of policy-oriented research or;
  • A work placement in an international policy environment. The length of the work placement may vary from three to five months.

Specialist career advice is available to students through the Work Placement Officer and support is given in the planning for and application to work placement organisations. The graduates of UCC have found the work placement to be an extremely valuable first step in their professional careers giving them unrivalled opportunities to make professional contacts and gain first-hand experience of the international policy world.

The work placement is also important as it consolidates the vocational skills acquired during the taught modules of the programme

Other distinctive features of the course are field trips to Brussels and Dublin and a visiting speaker series.

While UCC's students are responsible for finding their own placement, thereby developing important career development skills, they are supported by a dedicated Work Placement Manager and Work Placement workshops and by the UCC Careers Service.

Course Info

Course Code : CKL24

College : Business and Law

Duration : 1 Year

Qualifications Level : Level 9 Master of Science

Fees :

All fees listed below are in Euros (€).  

Registration Fee


Tuition Fee - International Fees


Medicover Standard (O'Driscoll O'Neil Insurance)


The above figures represent what UCC expects will be your reasonable international fees. Other fees may not have been included (e.g. living expenses).  

As expenses are subject to change, the above figures may be changed at any time without notice by UCC.  Please check with your IVC-assigned Visa Counselor or Documentation Officer periodically for any changes.

When estimating your cost of living for an academic year, i.e., one nine-month period from September to May inclusive, include rent, weekly supermarket shopping, some meals on campus, electricity bills, heating bills, refuse bills, parking fees, mobile phone expenses, travel, clothing, snacks on campus, socialising, health, books and materials.

Intake Dates :

The  next intake date is in September 2017.

UCC is currently accepting applications and these are being reviewed on a regular basis.  Conditional offers of places on the programme is on-going.

IVC however, will be accepting application only until FEBRUARY 28, 2017.  This 7-month preparation period includes:

  • Review by the department/school for your eligibility;
  • Processing by the Admissions Office;
  • Enrollment;
  • Processing of insurance;
  • Seeking accommodation;
  • Processing of your student visa application.

View IMPORTANT INFORMATON about APPLYING for an Irish Student Visa

Make sure you apply early!  We allow two months to coordinate with the university, arrange accommodation and insurance. The next five months is reserved for the visa application process. 

Entry Criteria

Admission and entry requirements for this qualification are in accordance with the academic regulations of University College Cork.  As an international student, you must meet the following eligibility requirements:

Academic Achievement

The course is open to students of all disciplines. The entry requirement is a 2.1 undergraduate degree in any subject.  An exception may be given to applicants who do not meet the above criteria but who have sufficient relevant professional experience, subject to approval by the programme director and the School of Business.

You are required to submit a personal statement indicating why you wish to take this MSc. .

English Language Proficiency

If English is not your native language, you must provide proof of English language proficiency to a standard of any ONE of the following exams:

  • IELTS (Academic Test): 6.5 Overall band score, 5.5 Minimum band per individual section
  • TOEFL iBT: 90 Overall Score. Minimum scores of: 17 for Listening and Writing; 18 for Reading; 20 for Speaking;
  • Cambridge Proficiency Exam: Grade C;
  • Cambridge Advanced Exam: Grade B;
  • Pearson PTE: 63 Minimum score, No section score below 59.


If you did not meet the academic requirement or there is no equivalency for your country, let us know!  Send your inquiry HERE.

Your English certificate must be up to date which means it should be less than two years old.

You are required to complete a full application for the program AND satisfy all other entry criteria as required by the program team and provide such evidence as required by the university, including, but not limited to:

  • Academic transcripts
  • College diploma
  • Professional references
  • Professional registration details
  • Curriculum Vitae and
  • Identity documents.

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