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Law and Political Science (TR020)

Last intake in 2019-20, prospective students please visit the Joint Honors Political Science page. This four-year joint degree aims to give students a firm grounding in the disciplines of Political Science and Law and to develop a critical understanding of both Irish law and of the political framework in which the law operates.


What is Law and Political Science?

The 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 better understand their relation to each other.

There are many areas of overlapping interest between the two disciplines such as the interconnectedness between political theory and jurisprudence, the role and power of constitutions and judges, and the interdisciplinarity of human rights and international law.

Course Structure

Students take both subjects equally for the first three years. In your fourth year you will have the option to concentrate exclusively on either subject, or continue with both.

In first year students take introductory law modules while on the politics side they are given a grounding in the social sciences as a whole, taking modules in Economics and Sociology.

In second year there is the option of replacing one political science module by broad curriculum or language modules, while in third year there is the opportunity to study abroad at a university outside Ireland.

Both the Department of Political Science and the Law School place great emphasis on innovative thinking and independent thought. We offer a wide-range of research-led modules in the final two years of the programme thus affording you the opportunity to focus on your developing area of interest.

Is it for me?

The Law and Political Science degree trains students to be self-motivated, ethically aware and critically reflective citizens. Whether candidates' career goals lie in public leadership, the legal profession, the media, the civil service, academia, public relations, anything in business that requires knowing how government works, positions in international organisations such as the EU or a not-for-profit organisation, law enforcement, private practice, or elsewhere, the degree in Law and Political Science is an ideal platform for attaining those goals. The possibilities are boundless – our alumni pages give an indication of some of the careers followed by Political Science graduates.

Programme Requirements

Programme Requirements (Political Science) for 2020–21

You may only choose a Degree Pathway / Route that is consistent with what you chose in the previous year(s) i.e. modules chosen in a given year may determine the range of modules available to you in subsequent years. Please note that Semester 1 and 2 modules may have co-requisites and prerequisites. Where two modules are co-requisites, you must take both A and B modules, for instance POU33011 and POU33012.

  • In your Senior Fresh year, you have the option of substituting 10 ECTS (5 ECTS in semester 1 and 5 ECTS in Semester 2) Political Science modules with Trinity Electives of the same weight, equally distributed across Semester 1 and 2. For a full list of Trinity Electives available in 2020–21 please consult relevant web page here. Online enrolment opens in April for 2 weeks.
  • Students are required to complete an Independent Research Project, or dissertation / capstone, in either their Junior Sophister or Senior Sophister year. Modules identified as IRP, across the two years, qualify as meeting this requirement. You are only required to choose one such module, whether from the Junior Sophister or Senior Sophister years, and it may be chosen from either of the two disciplines.
  • In your Junior Sophister year, you will be required to choose your degree pathway: whether Single Honor or Joint Honor. If you choose Single Honor Pathway, you are required to complete POU33011 and POU33012 (Research Methods A & B) and an additional 20 ECTS of optional Political Science modules. If you choose the Joint Honor Pathway, you are required to study 30 ECTS overall of Political Science modules; students intending to take POU44000 (Year Long Research Project / Capstone) in their Senior Sophister year must take POU33011 and POU33012 (Research Methods A & B).
  • In Senior Sophister year, students registered in the Political Science Single Honor Pathway are required to compete POU44000 Year Long Research Project / Capstone, POU44010 Issues in Contemporary Politics and an additional 30 ECTS of optional Political Science modules. Conversely, students registered in the Political Science Joint Honor Pathway may take POU44000 Year Long Research Project / Capstone only if they are not taking a dissertation / capstone in their other subject. Those students are required to complete 30 ECTS overall of Political Science modules.

Under no circumstances are students permitted to take clashing modules (following publication of lecture timetable) - you must be free to attend every scheduled lecture, tutorial and seminar. Overlaps in timetable are not permitted and you will be unenrolled in clashing modules. The Department of Political Science reserve the right to withdraw or introduce new modules.