Interested in discovering more about the MA International Relations course at Dublin City University? Olga Oliynyk, our Russian Ambassador, explains more about what’s involved and why Ireland is an ideal place to explore this field…

When people ask me what I study in Dublin City University and they get MA International Relations as a response, they often say that is interesting and many actually do understand what is involved. Yet, when discussing the course in more detail along with my reasonings for studying this discipline, most of people have a very blurred view about what an international relations course really covers.

Giving it a description myself, I would say it is an aggregate of various political, economic, social and environmental relations between sovereign countries, international organisations, non-governmental organisations, multinational corporations and public institutions at global, regional and international levels. It sounds complicated, right?! Fortunately, the course in DCU is built in such way that you get an understanding of connections between those elements from the very beginning. After that, it’s all about doing your best to get a grip on both the theoretical and practical skills involved!

In DCU, an academic year is divided into two semesters and the first one includes core modules like International Political Economy. This module gives students the opportunity to analyse and research how politics influences economy and vice versa; why there is a strong connection between them at all and how things should be done in different situations so that it does as minimum harm as possible to economy of one country. An another compulsory module is International Relations Theories. This is, you guessed it… a very theoretical subject concentrating on introducing various International Relations Theories and how they shape the world. The subject gives students an understanding of realists; and how the political arena looks through poststructuralist lenses. We learn to analyse an anarchic world model, as well as high and low politics. Moreover, we should not just know what those theories are about, but to be able to use them and to criticise things like the Paris Agreement on Climate Change from the point of view of Institutionalist Green Theory, for example.

Principles of Public International Law is the next subject you have to attend during the first semester and it is a legal perspective on how international society cooperates; what rules they follow and what happens if they do not. Research Methodology is there to help you through tough times of getting your dissertation started, and it provides you an introduction to how Level 9 graduate work should be done – what to do and what to avoid while creating it, where to start and how to use the information correctly. As a bonus, there is an optional Spanish Language Module (you can also choose another language if you wish).

The second semester is more about your choices and the subjects you prefer. There are around 15 modules you can choose from and those are more specific compared to those on offer during the first semester. You can go for Politics and Development in Sub-Saharan Africa, Politics of the Middle East and North Africa, Criminology, Peace-keeping and Peace-making Interventions, Environmental Change and World Politics and much more. Furthermore, there are guest lectures given by people working in the field and introducing us to international organisation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, NGOs (non-governmental organisations) structures and purposes. These guest lectures take place once every two weeks and they are wn amazing opportunity to get first-hand information.

DCU was the first University in Ireland to offer an International Relations programme on the side of School of Law and Government: Faculty of Humanities and Social Studies, and I think this says it all. If you’re consider studying International Relations abroad, Ireland is the perfect place. Ireland offers high-quality standards accepted all over the world and widely recognised Universities, along with notably affordable fees, compared to other popular study-abroad countries. So if you feel like changing the world through understanding how it works in all its aspects… welcome to DCU!