MA in History

Understanding Modern Ireland


Studying History at DCU is a lively and stimulating experience. This taught MA programme is designed to allow students deepen their historical understanding and awareness. An advanced level introduction to historiographical debates and methodological issues is combined with thematic modules and culminates in a research dissertation. Students will not only deepen their specialist knowledge of Irish history in a comparative context but will also acquire advanced research skills that are transferable to a variety of career paths. All modules are taught by staff who are research active and experts in their field with a commitment to dynamic and innovative teaching.

Why do this MA Programme?

 This MA will allow you to

  • Deepen your specialist knowledge and understanding of the complexities of modern Irish history.
  • Examine the historiography of and current research within Irish history and historical geography.
  • Enhance your critical, analytical and interpretative skills.
  • Evaluate and assess a range of different primary and secondary sources
  • Enhance your ability to construct and sustain an historical argument and present it coherently in written and oral formats.
  • Develop the ability to plan, research and write a substantial original research project
  • Acquire an appropriate foundation for Ph.D. level research.
  • Enhance the transferrable skills of independent thinking, analysis, communication, organization and time management.


Course Content and Structure

Modules are generally taught through a combination of seminars, workshops, small group discussions and field trips. There is a strong emphasis on independent learning.  All modules are 10 credits and are examined by continuous assessment in the form of reviews, essays, research papers, learning journals and class presentations.


Interpretation and Argument in History Writing

This module will introduce students to the tradition of history writing (historiography) as it has evolved and developed in Europe and the world since classical times, and in Ireland from the early seventeenth century to the present. Click here for more information.

Research Methods

This module aims to introduce a range of research methods and focuses on active engagement with the processes of gathering, evaluating and analysing historical evidence. Students are guided through the process of using archives and various online resources. A novel feature of this module is an introduction to Geographic Information System (GIS). A fundamental objective is to equip students to devise, and execute independent research projects. The module imparts important transferrable, research and writing skills. Click here for more information.

Ireland in the Twentieth Century: Crisis, Continuity and Change

Crisis, continuity and change are recurring themes in the history of twentieth-century Ireland. This module examines the central political, economic, social and cultural features of that historical experience using primary sources in a seminar-setting. Click here for more information.


Ireland’s landscapes: from Plantation to Celtic Tiger

This module examines how changing relationships between economy, politics and society have moulded the Irish urban and rural landscape over the past four centuries. Taking a historical geography perspective, students will be exposed to key concepts and methods including fieldwork by which they can trace the evolution of the landscape. Click here for more information.

The Irish Revolution in a Revolutionary World

This module will interrogate the Irish revolution (1912-1923) by placing it in the context of, and comparing it with, other European revolutions that occurred during that era of imperial decline. By examining Irish and other European sources, students will not only deepen their knowledge of the Irish revolution but will consider what can be learned about the Irish experience through the study of other revolutionary or state formation moments, and debate what, if anything, made the Irish experience different? Click here for more information.

Gender and Society in Ireland since 1867

This module examines shifting gender roles in Ireland through the lens of individual women’s lives. Using a variety of primary sources, the module will chart the trajectory of continuity and change in the construction of gender roles. Click here for more information.


This year-long module allows students to produce their own piece of independent historical research, guided by a supervisor who will be an expert in the field. Click here for more information. 

Programme Duration

This programme can be studied full-time or part-time.  Full-time students complete all elements of the programme in one year.  Part-time students study all taught modules in Year 1 and complete their Dissertation in Year 2.

As well as the Master of Arts degree (90 credits), postgraduate certificates (30 credits) and postgraduate diploma (60 credits) awards are also available.

The next programme cycle begins in September 2017. 

Why DCU?

DCU is a young and innovative university with a reputation for excellence in teaching and research that is consistently rated in the ‘Top 50 under 50’ by the QS World University Rankings. 

The School of History & Geography shares a focus on Ireland – its geography, history and landscape. The coming together of these subject areas has resulted in a school that is unique in Ireland and Britain in its interdisciplinary range and research potential, and that is well placed to play a leading role, nationally and internationally, in Irish History and Geography and in Irish Studies.

This MA programme is led by staff who are experts in their field and whose work has been widely published in books and in leading journals. 

Application Information

Entry Requirements

Applicants will normally have an honours level 8 primary degree or equivalent (H2.2) in history or a cognate subject but appropriate combinations of professional qualifications and experience may be accepted as equivalent to an honours degree in accordance with the relevant regulations of the University.

International candidates are expected to have educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to those outlined above. In addition, where such candidates are non-native speakers of the English language they must satisfy the university of their competency in the English language. For further information on international applications, click here


Information on fees may be found here.

Application Deadline: 31 July 2017

Apply online through the Postgraduate Applications Centre using the following PAC codes:

Full-time: DC677

Part-time: DC678 

Career Prospects

History postgraduates pursue careers in a wide variety of sectors including business, consultancy, government, civil service, the heritage sector, journalism, publishing and teaching. 

What our recent Graduates think

At Masters DCU St Patrick’s continues to produce candidates of outstanding quality whose work matches that of the best students that I have seen in a range of institutions at this level (Professor Martyn Powell, Aberystwyth University, external examiner 2013-16).

The MA was a great experience. I grew a great deal during this one-year course, both personally and academically. A Master’s in History allowed me to further explore a subject which I have always loved. It also pushed me to limits I wasn't sure I could reach. I thoroughly enjoyed the modules, essays, exploring the archives for research and even writing the thesis. It was a valuable experience that I would highly recommend (Aoife McCabe).

The MA in Irish history at DCU was an excellent programme delivered in a very supportive learning environment.  The knowledge base and skills I gained were substantial in their own right but also provided me with the confidence and skills to pursue my studies at PhD level (Mary MacDiarmada).

The MA was a most pleasant and enjoyable experience and it enhanced and developed further my interest in history. The programme, which exceeded my expectations, was both challenging and stimulating and delivered, efficiently and professionally, in a very congenial manner and atmosphere. All modules of the programme were relevant, well-structured and thoroughly prepared. Together with the support of lecturers and my supervisor’s guidance, the MA programme gave me the necessary skills, insight, and encouragement to undertake a PhD by research in history (Gerard Hanley).

Contact for further information:

Dr Daithí Ó Corráin


Tel: +353 1 884 2117


Link to MA in History at DCU