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MSc Frequently Asked Questions

Before Applying

After Submitting an Application

Before Applying: Answers

What Masters programmes are on offer for the 2018–2019 academic year?

The Department will offer the MSc in International Politics in the 2018–19 academic year.

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Where can I find the online system to submit a formal application to the MSc Programmes?

To apply online for the MSc in International Politics please go to: http://www.tcd.ie/courses/postgraduate/how-to-apply. We recommend that you look at the Admissions Requirements pages before beginning your online application.

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Can I pursue these MSc programmes on a part-time basis?

The MSc can be taken on a part-time basis by taking the coursework over two years. The dissertation will be submitted at the end of the second year. Fees are 70 per cent of the regular annual fee for each year. Note that courses meet during normal working hours (e.g. morning and afternoon seminars) and that the department will only be able to give final guidance about course meeting times a few weeks before the start of each term, for example early September for Michaelmas term.  Note also that there is a substantial commitment to reading and other work outside the class and it may not be realistic to apply for a part-time MSc option while continuing with significant work requirements.

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Can I continue in paid employment while taking a full-time MSc degree programme?

The full-time MSc programmes in the Political Science department are demanding and require a full-time commitment if students are to get the best out of their education experience. They are not compatible with continuing with paid employment, or any similarly demanding non-academic obligations, even part-time. If you wish to continue with paid employment during your postgraduate studies, you may wish to consider the part-time option instead. 

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Can I pursue the Trinity MSc programme in International Politics through distance learning?

Students must expect to be resident in Dublin throughout the one-year taught MSc programmes at Trinity and attend all taught classes and another other relevant events.

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When is the deadline for MSc applications for the September 2018 entry?

The application deadline for MSc programmes is 30 June 2018.

Applications are considered on a rolling admissions basis until the deadline of 30 June 2018 and applicants are advised to apply early. Please note that any late offers are dependent on sufficient places remaining available in the programme.

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What sort of qualifications do I need to be admitted to the MSc programmes?

Candidates should have an undergraduate degree from an established college or university. A background in a social science will be an advantage but not a necessity. Applications are expected from candidates with a single or joint honours degree in Political Science, Economics, European Studies, History, Sociology, Business and Law. Other subject areas will also be considered. Students must also fulfill the College entry requirements and international students must also fulfill the international student requirements.

Candidates should normally have achieved an upper second class honour degree, or higher from an established university. GPA scores of at least 3.3 out of 4, or equivalent, will be expected from international applicants. Students whose qualifications do not meet these standards may still choose to apply and the department will then consider whether such applications demonstrate sufficient preparation for the postgraduate study of Political Science to merit admission. However, the department cannot enter into a discussion of individual circumstances or qualifications in advance of a formal application being made.

There is no flexibility on the language requirement. Students who do not fulfill the minimum language requirements will not be considered.

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I have never studied Political Science and have only studied French/ Philosophy/Business. Will I be admitted?

We welcome applications from students with a wide range of backgrounds. No prior study of Political Science is necessary.

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How competitive is admission to Trinity’s MSc programme in International Politics?

You are encouraged to apply early as competition for places is intense. It would be wise to apply as soon as possible as there is a rolling admission procedure and a limited number of places in the programme.

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Are there any guidelines for the writing sample to be submitted with an application?

The writing sample can be a paper written for a previous course, or a chapter from an undergraduate thesis if you are writing one. The committee would expect it to be somewhere between 12 and 20 pages long. A sample of academic or research-related writing - an essay or term paper, for example - is much preferred, but where the applicant cannot provide a sample of academic writing, we will consider other writing samples.

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Are there any guidelines for the motivation letter to be submitted with an application?

There is no required length for the motivation letter. A single page would suffice.

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When supplying references, do they have to be from academic referees?

Academic references are preferable, but where these are not available professional references are acceptable also.

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Is there anything extra that former Trinity students should submit with their application?

We would request that all former Trinity students include in their applications a full transcript of their grades for all modules taken throughout their current or previous TCD degrees.

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I am (for example) a Swiss student, and will not receive my formal certificate of graduation from my undergraduate degree until late September. How can I submit my documentation to obtain a firm offer of a place on the MSc programme?

For the rare case where degree certificates from the relevant academic year will not be available until September, if you are sure that you have passed your degree requirements, please send us whatever documentation you have (including, if possible, grades from spring 2018 courses), explain the situation, and we will ask the Graduate Studies Office to make you a firm offer on this basis. (Note that if you do not subsequently provide a degree certificate in the Michaelmas Term, you will be obliged to withdraw from the MSc programme). All other applicants who are graduating from their undergraduate degree in the summer, and can obtain a full degree certificate before the end of August, should submit their certificate in order to obtain a firm offer of a place.

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What are the English language requirements for the students who do not speak English as their first language?

Regarding English language requirements, the programme follows the standardised requirements set by the Graduate Studies Office and specified on their website. In summary, in order to be considered for this programme, the applicant who has not been educated through the medium of English will need to present a minimum of the listed score on one of the following exams:

  • IELTS: Grade 6.5
  • TOEFL: 88 - iBT, 230 - Computer based, 570 - paper based
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English: Grade C
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English: Grade C

There is no flexibility on the language requirements. Students who do not fulfill the minimum language requirements will not be considered. In exceptional circumstances, language scores can be submitted after submission of the rest of the application. Applicants who are submitting the scores later should state this in their application.

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What other expenses, above and beyond fees, should I expect as a student living in Dublin?

The International Office at Trinity College has created an estimate of living expenses for students living in Dublin. Please visit the International Admissions desk for details.

Of course, the cost of living will vary depending on the student's lifestyle and living standards.

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After Submitting an Application: Answers

When and where is the induction for new MSc Students for 2017-18?

The MSc induction for 2017-18 takes place in September. Details of Induction for 2017 will be available closer to the start of the 2017-18 academic year.

To find the Department itself, read these directions carefully: go to the main gate of Trinity, but instead of going in to the main campus, look across the street to the enormous old Bank of Ireland building with pillars and a courtyard in front. Cross the road carefully, and continue up the street away from the main College building passing the Bank of Ireland building on your right. You will pass a little taxi rank area (called Foster Place, if you want to find it on google maps). On the other side there is a very obvious Starbucks cafe, which is at the foot of the building we are based in. Immediately past the Starbucks cafe on the right, still on the main road, there is an entrance to the Trinity College building. The Political Science Department Office is on the 5th Floor, Room 5.02.

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I have been admitted to the MSc programme and would like to make plans for travel/the summer. When does the programme begin?

There is a University-wide orientation for postgraduate students. Further details will be available on the Graduate Studies Website closer to the date. Attendance at the orientation meeting is required for all new MSc students. Classes in the MSc modules will begin in lateSeptember.

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If you have been accepted to the programme and you cannot accept your spot in the specified time?

Please contact the appropriate MSc programme director, Dr Peter Stone.

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Why has no decision been reached on my application?

A decision is only made on an application after ALL materials have been received, including letters of recommendation, writing samples etc. When all materials are received, your application will be considered together with other applications which are completed at the same time and a decision given.

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I have an offer of a place from another MSc programme and I need an early decision from Trinity. What can I do?

Contact the programme director, Dr Peter Stone, with details of your other offer and we will make an early decision.

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I have been made an "unconditional offer" – what happens now?

Congratulations! You have two weeks to accept the offer and if you choose to do so, you must then make a non-refundable deposit of €500 to reserve your place in the MSc programme. If you do not make a deposit, you may lose your place. We look forward to seeing you in September!

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I have been made a "conditional offer" – what happens now?

Congratulations! You will need to submit your missing documentation - for example your final grade transcript for your undergraduate degree - as soon as you receive it and then Trinity will formally issue you with an unconditional offer, and you will be able to make a deposit to reserve your place.

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Can I have feedback on my application?

We regret that we cannot offer feedback on unsuccessful MSc applications.

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What kind of career does the course prepare MSc students for?

Both MSc courses prepare students for a range of careers dealing with European and global issues. This includes students who wish to pursue careers in the public and private sectors, in European Union institutions, non-governmental organizations and the media. The course is also suitable for students who wish to progress to doctoral research. The page of graduate testimonials shows you the experiences of some of our graduates since they completed their masters, and you can also view a complete list of graduates from the masters programmes.

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What modules will be taught in the MSc programmes in the next academic year?

The MSc course programme always include training in research design and quantitative methods, while the topics covered by other modules varies from year to year. The MSc in Political Science in recent years has offered modules on party politics, government institutions, legislative politics, and many aspects of European integration, while the modules offered by the MSc in International Politics have included topics such as international relations theory, international conflict, international human rights, American foreign policy, and democratization.

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Are there any opportunities to work as a Teaching Assistant in Trinity's Political Science Department while participating in the MSc programmes?

It is possible there are opportunities for MSc students to work as a Teaching Assistant in the Political Science Department. Please note your interest in your cover letter. This opportunity may be especially relevant to applicants who have previously been undergraduate students at Trinity.

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Last updated 17 July 2017 polsci@tcd.ie.