UCD, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland | Director: Professor Liam Kennedy
Now accepting applications now open for 2017/'18
Available Full Time and Part Time
The United States is the most influential nation in the world. However, a number of challenges in recent years have called into question the sustainability of American leadership abroad and prosperity at home. These include, but are not limited to, the notion of American decline in relation to rising powers such as China; a political system that appears to have entered an extended period of dysfunction; recurring problems in race relations; and rising economic inequality. This MA degree programme, which is the first of its kind in Europe or North America, allows students to explore in depth the foreign policy and political challenges facing the US. Drawing upon the disciplines of history and political science, it explores a wide variety of topics such as the origins of American exceptionalism, the importance placed upon individual liberty, the emergence of the US as a world power, the Cold War, transatlantic relations, presidential and congressional elections, race and gender, partisanship, and more. Modules in this programme are taught by resident UCD faculty and by visiting lecturers, who will consider theoretical and practical perspectives. The programme will interest those seeking a career in government, in the non-profit sector, in business, and those hoping to undertake advanced study in these areas.
The American Political Tradition (10 credits)
This module traces the evolution of American political thought and practice over time. Special emphasis will be placed upon the many areas of continuity and linkage, and the occasional moments of discontinuity between the various political traditions. Students will also be encouraged to draw upon these ideas to better understand how Americans think about politics today. Concepts to be explored include the Hamiltonion and Jeffersonian conceptions of Federalism, Populism, Progressivism, the New Deal, the evolution of the Democratic and Republican parties and the emergence of the modern conservative movement.
The Foundations of US Foreign Policy (10 credits)
This module explores the ways in which Americans have thought about foreign policy over the course of the country's history. Special emphasis will be placed upon seminal ideas and how they have been manifested in important moments in the country's foreign relations. Concepts to be explored include isolationism, the Monroe Doctrine, Manifest Destiny, imperialism, Wilsonianism, internationalism and Anti-Communism.
Research Skills and Methods (10 credits)
This module will introduce students to key components of research skills and methods. These will include: interdisciplinary study methods, topics, frames and fields of study, locating and using primary and secondary sources, citation and bibliographical skills, oral and audio-visual presentation skills, and library use.
American Politics Today (5 credits)
This module examines contemporary American politics from a variety of perspectives in order to impart a sophisticated understanding of the ways in which the system operates at the national level. Drawing upon literature from history and political science, the writings of prominent political observers, and video and social media content, the module will explore three interrelated and overarching themes. One is the fact that the US is in a period of transition. The country is growing increasingly diverse, a fact that is celebrated by some, especially on the left, and a cause for concern among others, especially on the right. In addition, income inequality is growing and has reached levels last seen during the Gilded Age. The possibility that American influence abroad has begun to recede fuels the uncertainty that has accompanied these changes. A second theme of the module is the problem of gridlock. Even though Americans frequently complain about the inability of their elected representatives in Washington D. C. to accomplish anything, especially in light of the challenges facing the country, there seems to be little prospect of more cooperation anytime soon. The final themes of the module, then, will be an examination of the nature of the Democratic and Republican parties, including the principal policy goals and political culture of each.
Challenges in Contemporary US Foreign Policy (10 credits)
This module examines America's role in international politics in the 21st century. It begins by developing a framework within which to think about the subject by drawing upon the historical modules in the first semester and also by exploring International Relations theories such as Idealism, Realism and some of the various critical theories. The remainder of the module examines some of the key geopolitical challenges facing the United States, such as terrorism, climate change, cyberwarfare and decline relative to other country, as well as important bilateral relationship such as those with the European Union and China.
American Politics and Foreign Policy Seminar (5 credits)
This seminar will explore in depth the upcoming national election in the United States in November 2016, with particular focus on the Presidential race. It will draw upon the latest political science research and the best punditry to examine topics such as the main political parties and their candidates, the invisible primary, the importance of party insider in choosing nominees for President, the role of the economy, television advertising, the role of social media, ideology, gender and race. Students will be asked to write a research paper on a topic of their choice.
Dissertation (30 credits)
Dissertation length 12,000 - 15,000 words
Optional Modules, there maybe changes to the list
Media and US Foreign Policy (10 credits)
Public Diplomacy and Soft Power (10 credits)
The Making of United States Foreign Policy from FDR to GWB (10 credits)
The Origins of Modern Diplomacy and International Law (10 credits)
Africa: Crisis and Opportunity? (10 credits)
Politics and Change in the Middle East and North Africa (10 credits)
International Economic Crisis (10 credits)
New Media and New Conflict (10 credits)
Race, Space, and Place (10 Credits)