University College Dublin | An Coláiste Ollscoile, Baile Átha Cliath

UCD, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland | Director: Professor Liam Kennedy

Global Irish Civic Forum
June 2015

Prospective Students

    President Clinton addresses the Institute Sept 2010

UCD Clinton Institute Semester Abroad Programme

US and International Affairs (CF06)

Applications are being accepted for Spring 2017

The UCD Clinton Institute is a centre for the study of the United States and its international relations.  Our Study Abroad programme is tailored for US-based students who wish to gain an international perspective on their own country.  The programme consists of several modules which examine Americas' global role and its transatlantic relations, including relations with Ireland.  It provides students with an opportunity to closely study the perceptions and impacts of the US in another country.

“The Clinton Institute served as a home away from home for the five of us undergraduate students who partook in the Study Abroad Program this past year (2011). The professors and staff at the Institute were incredibly helpful and accessible, and they made us feel welcome and comfortable from our very first day to our last. The classes offered were intellectually stimulating, and being in class alongside students from all over the world led to very rewarding and interesting class discussions. In contrast to many other study abroad programs, the Clinton Institute offers undergraduate students the opportunity to learn in a small classroom setting in which conversation and interaction are encouraged, rather than placing students in huge lecture halls where they may get lost in the mix. The Institute also invites students to attend lectures from some of the most prominent scholars in the fields of American Studies and Media Studies. As an American Studies major, I gained a new perspective from my classes abroad that will influence my approach to my courses and thesis when I return to my home university. I felt very at home in the Clinton Institute community, and the education and experiences I got there were one of the best parts of my time abroad. Grace Loughney (Class of 2011)



The Programme

Students on the programme will take 30 ECT credits

Compulsory Modules - these modules may change from year to year.

America and Contemporary World Politics (5 credits)

This module examines America’s role in, and approach to, international politics in the 21st century. Three overarching themes will be explored. First, in one sense, the history of the Cold War looms over contemporary US foreign policy: the emergence of the national security state in the early Cold War era had profound implications for the United States, domestically and internationally, and even though the Cold War ended two decades ago the structural changes it prompted in the American approach to international politics linger to this day. The second and third themes appear contradictory, but are, in fact, inextricably linked. On one hand, the United States, more than any other nation, shapes international politics, economics and even culture. In other words, American power, in all its incarnations, remains the single most important factor in the international system.  On the other hand, the United States is, by most accounts, in a process of decline relative to other nations such as China, India, Brazil and Turkey. As a result, what was previously a bipolar and, briefly, unipolar system is transforming into a multipolar world order, with profound implications for international politics. These seemingly contradictory factors have introduced a new level of complexity into discussions about America’s place in the world, and will provide the context for assigned readings and class discussions


Transatlantic Relations (5 credits)

This module explores relations between America and Europe over the last century.  A variety of perspectives – intellectual, cultural, diplomatic, military and economic – are utilized in order to appreciate the full complexity of the transatlantic relationship.  Key topics and concepts which will be explored include the importance of religious and  cultural ties; the influence of mass culture; the power of ideas and intellectual exchange; the Cold War relationship, the notion of “empire by invitation” after 1945 and the importance of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization; and the Bretton Woods system.


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 United States is in a period of transition. The country is growing increasingly diverse, a fact which 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 (and which would be unthinkable in other advanced nations). 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. One frequently suggested reason for this is the increased level of ideological homogeneity in the two main parties. The final theme 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.


America and Globalisation (5 credits)

Focusing on writing both from outside and within the United States, this module will examine literature which stretches the boundaries of the nation.  As forces of globalisation complicate traditional narratives of national literature and national identity this seminar will engage with 20th century and contemporary literature circulating around ideas of the transnational, hyphenated literatures, American exceptionalism and the new international canons.

Public Diplomacy (5 credits)

This module will analyse historical and emergent roles of public diplomacy as the ‘soft power’ wing of American foreign policy.  Key issues include: strategic communications and information warfare; the promotion of educational and cultural programmes; private/public networks and the role of non-state actors and NGOs in delivering and contesting public diplomacy goals; and the impact of new media technologies on public diplomacy.  We will examine ways in which public diplomacy strategies are tied to (but also in tension with) foreign policy initiatives

In addition you choose one of the following modules

* Ireland Uncovered

* Irish Language

* Discovering Ireland: Landscape and Heritage.

This module, intended for students new to Ireland and so largely unfamiliar with Irish archaeology and indeed Irish history, shows how the Irish landscape can be read as a document in which is locked many clues about Irish identity, ancient, medieval and modern. The module is focused on the idea of heritage: cultural landscape as a key element of Irish heritage. The module is based not on classroom work but on fieldtrips and Blackboard-presented materials, the logic being that the best way to understand landscape is to visit it, reading about it in advance and reading about it again having experienced it. Four fieldtrips are planned, two concentrating on ancient and medieval landscapes within reach of Dublin by coach (one is to west Wicklow and Carlow, and one to Meath, in both cases looking at megalithic tombs, medieval castles, and other archaeological treasures), and two to Dublin city centre (by public transport), concentrating on medieval Dublin on one trip and on the Georgian, Victorian and modern city on the other. Students are expected to go on both out-of-Dublin trips, and on one of the Dublin trips

In addition to the taught modules the programme will include a number of social events during the course of the semester. All Clinton Institute Semester Aboard students are encouraged to participate in the events programme of the Institute, which includes research seminars, symposia and conferences, all of which will enrich the learning experience.

Irish Heritage Castle




For additional inforamtion on all study abroad programmes at University College Dublin, please visit


Students will undertake the same examinations as domestic students in accordance with University regulations. Increasingly, essay and class-based work forms a substantial component of the assessment process.

Credit Transfer

AT the end of the semester UCD provides a transcript of modules attended to assist with credit transfer to the student’s home university.


The minimum GPA requirement is 3.00.


On-campus student residences typically consist of apartments for three/four persons. Each student has their own single room and shares bathroom and kitchen facilities


To apply

Applications are received online, to apply visit
The code for the programme is CF06 (Study Abroad, Arts & Celtic Studies, Clinton Institute)

Applications for 2014 should be completed by the 20th October 2014

If you have any questions please contact
Ms. Catherine Carey

Famine Memorial Statue, Dublin

Famine Memorial Statue, Dublin