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About the Department

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The Department of Political Science at Trinity College, University of Dublin, is one of the top Political Science departments in Europe. In the 2016 QS rankings it was rated number 1 in Ireland, number 15 in Europe, and number 43 in the world for 'Politics and International Studies'. It is a vibrant, outward-looking department that combines intensive research activity with the strongest commitment to high quality undergraduate and postgraduate teaching.

The Department has an outstanding record in both teaching and research. Its city centre location gives staff and students easy access to political actors and decision-makers in the Irish and EU decision-making process as well as to the bustling social life of one of Europe's most dynamic capitals. The commitment to excellence of the university ensures that staff and students have access to one of the finest academic libraries in Europe and to a wealth of electronic resources. For more about the history of the department, click here.


The Department has always had a strong commitment to undergraduate teaching. Its students come from five degree programmes: History and Political Science (TR012), Philosophy, Political Science, Economics and Sociology (TR015), Law and Political Science (TR020), Political Science and Geography (TR029) and Business, Economic and Social Studies (TR081). For further details about applying, please visit Prospective Students. The Department also teaches extensively at postgraduate level, with a Masters in International Politics and a PhD programme that includes a significant taught component.

Every year, in addition, its courses are taken by welcome visitors from further afield: characteristically, by students from elsewhere in Europe on Erasmus / Socrates (or similar) schemes and by visiting students from North America.


The Department's research activity makes it one of the very top political science departments in Europe, and indeed in the world. As noted above, in the 2016 QS rankings it was rated number 1 in Ireland, number 15 in Europe, and number 43 in the world for 'Politics and International Studies'. An earlier cross-national survey placed it 11th among the several hundred political science departments in Europe, and it rose to 3rd when the number of staff was taken into account. It was ranked 40th in the world and, once again, 3rd when size was taken into account. (Fuller details can be found in Simon Hix, 'European universities in a global ranking of political science departments', European Political Science 3:2 (2004), pp. 5-23, and at Simon Hix.)

A comparative assessment (PDF 892KB) of the research output and impact of political studies scholars in Ireland found the Department at the top of Irish universities and on par with the top universities in the United Kingdom.

The Department also received a top European honour in the CHE Centre for Higher Education Development in Germany Excellence Ranking.

Members of staff publish regularly in peer-reviewed journals and produce books, and book chapters, with significant academic impact.

The Department has particular strengths in areas such as comparative politics, Irish politics, democratic theory, transition politics, public policy, voting behaviour, international relations and security, electoral systems, and the European Union. For additional details please visit the research section.

In addition, Trinity College Dublin ranks among the top research universities in the world. It has been ranked 49th in the top world universities by the Times Higher Education Supplement's world ranking. It has also been ranked 13th place in Europe. Trinity is consistently the only Irish university to make it into the top 100 world universities.


The Department has maintained informal contacts with many of its graduates but has been slow to develop an organised framework to enable our alumni to keep in touch. This is now being rectified with the establishment of alumni pages on the website, including a list of some of the better-known alumni, and an alumni weekend that took place in August 2013 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first set of graduates following the establishment of the Department of Political Science per se – though, as the history of the department shows, political science, or at any rate something under that name, has been taught in Trinity since 1870.

History of the department

You can read more about the history of the department here.

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Last updated 14 November 2017