Political Science (JH)

4 Years Full-Time
59 Places
CAO Points 530-602 (2023)
CAO Code B.A. Honours Bachelor Degree (NFQ Level 8)


What is Political Science?

Political Science is the study of governments, public policies and political behaviours. Politics affects us all in our daily lives. It is easy to think of issues that we all have opinions about. Should the government tax the rich to try to achieve greater equality? Should it introduce ‘green taxes’ in order to protect the environment? How high a priority should development aid be? What are the causes and consequences of ‘Brexit’? Questions such as these, along with analysis of political systems, political behaviour, international relations and how democracy works, are at the heart of the study of political science.

The study of politics as an academic subject involves, among other things, thinking about how these decisions get made. If it is not possible to keep everyone happy, whose views should prevail and why? If governments do not always make what seems to be the most ‘rational’ decision on economic policy, why not? How much say do ordinary people have in policymaking, and is it feasible to make the decision making process more open? Other big questions we study include issues such as: why don’t democracies go to war with each other? Why do civil wars last so long? Why are ethnic conflicts more difficult to resolve then other forms of conflict?

Political Science: The course for you?

Political Science will appeal to students who are excited about exploring the background to current events, the nature and use of power and how decisions are made that impact on wider society. If you are interested in having an in-depth knowledge of public affairs, developing critical and much sought after research skills and if your career interests lie in journalism, public service, teaching, public policy, international organisation and/or business then Political Science may be for you.

Political Science at Trinity

Political Science has been an important part of the curriculum since 1855 and Trinity has developed an international reputation for its research work on the European Union, comparative politics, comparative public opinion, international relations as well as democracy and development.


The pathways available are Single Honours, Major with Minor subjects and Joint Honours.

Graduate skills and career opportunities

There are careers for which a demonstrated interest in politics and advanced research skills are a definite plus and will give you a real head start. Journalism, finance, the civil service, public relations, business, and work in international organisations and NGOs, all come into this category. A demonstrated knowledge of how the world works is obviously an asset for many types of career. In addition, Political Science students develop exceptional communication, writing and critical thinking skills which are highly sought after by employers. An increasing number of graduates go on to do further postgraduate study.

Your degree and what you’ll study

First and second years

First year students will be given a grounding in core topics related to the course material, including an introduction to the concepts of political science, sociology, and economics.

In the second year students will advance their understanding of the core concepts covered in the first year to take in modules such as: History of Political Thought; International Relations; and Comparative Politics.

Third and fourth years

The following is a list of the modules typically on offer: Research Methods; Irish Politics; Democracy and Development; European Union Politics; Political Institutions of the US; Political Psychology; Political Violence; Political Theory: Contemporary Topics; Issues in Contemporary Politics; Contemporary International Relation; African Politics; Autocracy; and Economic Inequality and Democracy.

Some courses are examined by a combination of assessed essays and formal examination; some others are assessed through coursework only. Normally, each course has two hours of lectures and one tutorial per week. In fourth year, students specialising in Political Science will have the opportunity to research and undertake a Capstone research project on a topic of their choice. Final year classes are typically run as small group seminars.

There are QQI/FET routes available for this course. Please see www.cao.ie for details. 

Click here for further information on modules/subject.

Study abroad

The Department of Political Science is a partner in Erasmus exchanges with the Institut d’ Études Politiques in Strasbourg and Paris, the University of Zurich, the University of Bologna and the University of Mannheim. Students taking Political Science as a subject in Joint Honours may also go abroad on an exchange administered by other departments, subject to approval of their course of study abroad by the Department of Political Science. In addition there are opportunities for students to go on one of several international exchanges. These are open to all students on a university-wide basis. Further information on student exchanges can be found at: www.tcd.ie/study/study-abroad/outbound/ options

Course Details

CAO Information

CAO Points 530-602 (2023) CAO Code B.A. Honours Bachelor Degree (NFQ Level 8)

Number of Places

59 Places
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Course Options

Political Science is studied as a Joint Honours subject with one of the following options:

TR328 Geography

TR457 History

TR582 Law

TR758 Social Policy

Related courses:



Course Fees

Click here for a full list of undergraduate fees


To apply to this course, click on the relevant Apply Link below

EU Applicants

Read the information about how to apply, then apply directly to CAO.

    Non-EU Applicants

    Advanced Entry Applications

    Read the information about how to apply for Advanced Entry, then select the link below to apply.

    Get in Touch

    Telephone Number

    +353 (0)1 8961651




    Register Your Interest

    Register your interest in studying at Ireland’s leading university, Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin.

    Register Your Interest

    The Political Science Department provided me with an exceptional academic experience. Over my four years of study, I developed a well-rounded understanding of the subject. With the country’s best resourced library, a vast online academic infrastructure and a department staffed by world leading academics, the University really helped develop my capabilities as a political scientist. I would recommend the department to any student with an interest in social science looking to begin a challenging and rewarding journey.

    Éamonn Fahey