Bachelor in Law and Political Science
The two disciplines of Law and Political Science are intrinsically linked and directly impact every aspect of our daily lives.
The role and power of the constitution and judiciary, human rights and international law, the impact of the EU and Irish law are best understood when both subjects are considered. This course provides the opportunity to learn about Law and Political Science and to understand better their relation to each other.
As a student of law and political science, you learn about laws - what they are, how they work and how they change – in their broader political context. As well as learning the skills of a lawyer, you learn the skills of a social scientist. The Law and Political Science degree trains students to be self-motivated, ethically aware and critically reflective citizens. If your career or intellectual interests lie in politics and public service, you will be greatly strengthened by knowledge of the law. If you are interested in pursuing a legal career, your study of law will be informed by a wider political understanding. Either way, the Law and Political Science degree may be the course for you.
Programme Structure (September 2019 entrants)
Law and Political Science is a four-year honours degree programme. The first year introduces you to core topics in law and political science. This includes developing your legal skills through the Foundations of Law module.
At the end of the first year of your programme, you will have several options in relation to the balance between Law and Political Science modules. You can choose to focus more on Law, more on Political Science, or an equal combination of the two disciplines. If you wish to complete the modules that are current pre-requisites for the professional stage of training to become a solicitor or barrister in Ireland, then you will have to choose to focus on Law: this is Law as a Major subject in your degree programme and Political Science as a Minor subject in your degree programme. This ensures, if you so wish, that you can seek entry into a legal career (subject to any change in the entry requirements as determined by the professional bodies).
In the final year of your programme, one-third of your credits will be devoted to the completion of a research project, which we call the ‘Capstone’. This allows you to apply and enhance the research skills that you have developed in the previous three years of the programme. If you choose Law as a Major, then you will complete your Capstone within the School of Law. You will be part of a research group with other students where you will work independently and collaboratively to explore in-depth a topical issue.
How is the programme taught?
The academic year is divided into two terms (semesters): one in the autumn and one in the spring. Students complete modules to the value of 30 credits in each term. Modules are normally either 5 or 10 credits. The volume of teaching depends upon the credits attached to each module, but a 10 credit module in Law would typically be composed of 3 hours of lectures per week. Lectures are a large group teaching format, but they include opportunities for student participation, e.g. discussing questions with the lecturer.
In the first year, we have a special programme of weekly seminars to accompany our Foundations of Law module. These are small group teaching sessions that are designed to support you as you develop basic legal skills. In addition, during years one and two of the law programme, other modules are delivered by a combination of weekly lectures and four seminars per term. Seminars are focused upon active student participation, e.g. discussion, presentation, group work. Seminars are taught by academic staff, postgraduate researchers or by practising solicitors or barristers with particular expertise in the area.
Assessment takes place on a continuous basis across the academic year. There are examinations at the end of each term, but modules are often assessed also by other means, such as written assignments.
European Credit Transfers
Students reading for any law degree at Trinity College Dublin must study 240 ECTS over the duration of the four years. Generally, this entails 60 ECTS per year. The ECTS weighting for a module is a measure of the student input or workload required for that module, based on factors such as the number of contact teaching hours, the number and length of written or orally presented assessment exercises, class preparation and private study time, and examinations. In Trinity College Dublin, 1 ECTS unit is defined as 20-25 hours of student input so a 10-credit module will be designed to require 200-250 hours of student input including class contact time, private study and assessments.
Having successfully completed this programme, students should be able to:
- Identify, evaluate and synthesise the substantive theories, frameworks and models, both qualitative and quantitative, that are used in fields of enquiry related to law and political science;
- Use appropriate theories from the fields of law and political science, as well as basic IT skills, to identify, analyse and solve a variety of problems in the private and/or public sectors of society within appropriate contexts;
- Conduct effective and targeted research in case law, legislation and academic legal commentary at both the national and international levels;
- Add to the body of knowledge in the fields of law and political science;
- Work effectively as an individual and in teams in multi-disciplinary settings;
- Demonstrate flexibility, adaptability and independence in order to engage productively with a changing social, cultural and technological environment;
- Communicate effectively in oral and written modes in professional and academic settings;
- Have the capacity to engage in life-long learning, including in practitioner, academic or other fields.
Year 1: Junior Freshman Year
- Foundations of Law
- Introduction to political science
- Introduction to economic policy
- Introduction to sociology
At this point, each student chooses between several pathways for combining the two disciplines. The programme structure indicated below is where the student has chosen to follow Law as a Major and Political Science as a Minor. There are two other pathways: (i) Law and Political Science (Joint) – an equal balance of credits in Law and Political Science; (ii) Political Science as a Major and Law as a Minor – the majority of credits will be taken in Political Science.
Year 2: Senior Freshman Year (Major in Law)
- Constitutional Law I
- Criminal Law
- Land Law
- 20 ECTS of modules from Political Science
Year 3: Junior Sophister Year (Major in Law)
- Administrative Law
- EU Law
- Company Law
- 20 ECTS of optional modules from Political Science
Students may also apply to spend either one or two terms of their Junior Sophister year abroad, on a Erasmus or international exchange programme, at any university with which the Law School or Department of Political Science has links.
Year 4: Senior Sophister Year (Major in Law)
- 20 ECTS: ‘Capstone’ research project module in Law
- 20 ECTS of optional modules in Law
- 20 ECTS of optional modules in Political Science
For descriptions of each of the Law modules below, please visit the module page. Political Science module descriptions can be found on the Department of Political Science website.
Undergraduate Course Office (Law):
School of Law, House 39, New Square,Trinity College, Dublin 2
Tel (Country Code + 353) (01) 896 1125/1278; Fax (Country Code + 353) (01) 677 0449; Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Undergraduate Course Office (Political Science):
3 College Green, Dublin 2
Tel (Country Code + 353) (01) 896 1651; Fax (Country Code + 353) (01) 677 0449; Email email@example.com
Law: Ivana Bacik Law School, Tel (Country Code + 353) (01) 896 2299
Political Science: Constantine Boussalis