Course Overview

The MA in Public Advocacy and Activism is an interdisciplinary programme that combines training in the practical skills of advocacy and activism with an exploration of the theories and concepts which inform these fields. No other programme in Ireland offers students the opportunity to acquire skills and training in such a breadth of disciplines, including management, communications, public relations and human rights. By drawing on the expertise of scholars and practitioners across these fields, the MA in Public Advocacy and Activism provides the skills crucial for those who wish to work in organizations which seek to shift attitudes and initiate change, including those working in community organisation, international relations, development, labour, rights, health and the environment. This programme is offered in conjunction with the J.E. Cairnes Graduate School of Business and Public Policy, and the Irish Centre for Human Rights.

Applications and Selections

Applications are made online via The Postgraduate Applications Centre (PAC). Relevant PAC application code(s) above.


Who Teaches this Course

Fiona Bateman, BSocSc, MA, PhD

Dr Fiona Bateman has been involved with the MAPAA since its inception. Her current research is a multi-disciplinary study of the Irish response to the humanitarian disaster in Biafra (1967–70). Her teaching interests include Film and Politics, Irish Cinema, and African Literature.

Sarah Clancy, MA

Sarah Clancy is an experienced campaigner and political activist, whose work experience includes roles in Amnesty International and She is also an award winning poet (and graduate of the MAPAA).

Sally Anne Corcoran
Ms. Sally Anne Corcoran served with the United Nations for 17 years in various, human rights related capacities. Her postings included, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Switzerland, the former Yugoslavia and Cyprus. She taught Human Rights at the Koc University in Turkey and is currently an Irish Research Council Scholar engaged in research in conjunction with the with the Centre for Global Women’s Studies and the Irish Centre for Human Rights on the impact of the presence of women in peacekeeping in conflict and post conflict settings. 

Vicky Donnelly, MA
Vicky Donnelly has worked as a development education worker with Galway One World Centre for over ten years. She is also an experienced advocate and activist who has been involved with many campaigns such as a boycott of Israeli goods, and anti-racism projects. In her role in the GOWC she works on projects aimed at supporting asylum seekers and refugees
Edel Hackett LLM Edel Hackett of Persuasion Republic specialises in media relations, advocacy and public affairs as well as media and advocacy training. She has worked on projects for Concern, Children’s Medical Research Foundation (Crumlin Hospital), Headstrong, Archways, Young Ballymun, Marriage Equality, and SAFE Ireland. Prior to joining Persuasion Republic she has worked almost exclusively with public sector organizations, representative and campaign groups.

Su-Ming Khoo, BA, PhD

Dr Su-Ming Khoo is a College Lecturer in Political Science and Sociology. She is a strongly inter-and trans-disciplinary scholar, with a particular interest in bridging the fields of human rights, development, and education. Her work addresses issues of active citizenship, cultural difference, decolonization, ecology, democratization of knowledge and advocacy and activism, supporting humanistic and ecological development alternatives. 

Requirements and Assessment

Assessments on the programme are designed to develop students’ writing and presentation skills, as well as their ability to undertake individual and group work and to critically assess their own work and that of their peers. Assessment is by a combination of essays, presentations, reports and projects, including a work placement report, and a film production project in which students collaborate with the MA in Production & Direction students in the making of short advocacy films. Students have the opportunity to specialise in a particular aspect of the programme through a 16,000–18,000 word minor dissertation, which is submitted in early August.

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

NQAI Level 8 degree or equivalent H2.2. GPA 3.0 or international qualification. IELTS score of 6.5 or equivalent if applicable. Students who do not meet the Honours degree requirement but have a Level 7 (Merit 2) degree may be admitted to the PDip course with the possibility of progressing to the MA if they receive a minimum of 60% in their course work during the year.

Additional Requirements


1 year, full-time
2 years, part-time

Next start date

September 2016

A Level Grades ()

Average intake


Closing Date

You are advised to apply early, which may result in an early offer; see the offer round dates

Next start date

September 2016

NFQ level

Mode of study


ECTS weighting

MA—90, PgDip—60



PAC code

GYA11 part-time
GYA64 full-time

Course Outline

Modules in this wide-ranging syllabus address the theory and practice of advocacy, communications, media and marketing for advocates, economics and globalization, human rights, film and politics, organizational theory for the non-profit sector, and the social and political contexts within which advocacy and activism develop. Across the programme, there is a focus on both the socio-political environment in which advocates and campaigners for change must operate and the tools and techniques by which change can be achieved. The programme trains students in the use of up-to-date media practices, as well as in evaluating their effectiveness and practicality. Students use actual campaigns as the basis of their course work analysis, so that critiques and debates are firmly based in the real world of current events. In addition to gaining a theoretical understanding of how change may be effected, students learn how to develop and run successful campaigns, how to interact with large organizations, and how to influence public opinion on important issues.

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

Why Choose This Course?

This imaginative course provides an opportunity for experienced advocates for social change as well as those interested in working in the area to achieve a specialist qualification in their field of practice. Due to its interdisciplinary nature, the programme brings together a group of students from diverse backgrounds but with shared interests and ambitions. Discussion-based classes allow students to challenge and engage with ideas and topics in a dynamic learning process that increases understanding and clarifies opinions. The programme includes a work placement in which students gain the opportunity to put their developing skills into practice. Furthermore, as a student at the Huston School you will be part of a collaborative creative community, working with students on the MA in Production & Direction to develop a short film as part of an advocacy campaign. You will also have all the opportunities which come from studying at one of the world’s top Universities, including access to a range of seminars and high-profile guest speakers.

Recent visiting speakers have included practitioners and activists from organisations such as Comhlamh, Trocaire, UNOCHA, and the Migrant Rights Council of Ireland; campaigners including Sunny Jacobs and Peter Pringle; and filmmakers like Emily James, Risteard O Domhnaill, and Dearbhla Glynn, who have made documentaries on topics of human rights and social concerns.

Career Opportunities

Graduates have gone on to pursue a range of careers in lobbying, campaigning, advocacy and humanitarian roles in organisations such as the SOAR Foundation, PETA, UNOCHA, GOAL Ireland, ADAPT Domestic Abuse Services, the Southern Alberta Ethnic Association, Amnesty International (Irish section), Cancer Care West, the National Youth Council of Ireland, Trocaire, Spunout, and the Washington Post. Others have continued in higher education, with a number of PhDs completed or underway. It should be noted that while the MA is structured towards careers in the not-for-profit sector, many of the skills gained during the year, for example those in research methods, analysis, media and communications, are transferable to any sector.

Who’s Suited to This Course

Learning Outcomes

Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€6,015 p.a. 2016/17

Fees: Tuition

€5,791 p.a. 2016/17

Fees: Student levy

€224 p.a. 2016/17

Fees: Non EU

€13,250 p.a. 2016/17

M.A. EU Full time programme:  €6,015; P.Dip. EU Full time programme:  €5,965.
M.A. EU Part time programme:  €3,065 per annum; P.Dip. EU Part time programme: €3,040 per annum.

Postgraduate students in receipt of a SUSI grant – please note an F4 grant is where SUSI will pay €2,000 towards your tuition.  You will be liable for the remainder of the total fee.  An F5 grant is where SUSI will pay TUITION up to a maximum of €6,270.  SUSI will not cover the student levy of €224.

Postgraduate fee breakdown = tuition (EU or NON EU) + student levy as outlined above.


Find out More

Dr Conn Holohan | Dr Fiona Bateman
T: +353 91 495 686 | +353 91 495 918
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What Our Students Say


Kevin Gadsey |   Public Advocacy & Activism

I came to Ireland wanting to know how to change the world for people with disabilities. A year later, it was I who had been transformed because of the lecturers’ insights and the projects I chose to tackle. I learned about human nature, our strengths and weaknesses, and how they help and hinder any campaign. I now understand why parts of the world are struggling, what/who is oppressing them, and the dynamics of the relationship between the oppressed and the oppressors. I now understand tried and true methods and strategies to motivate oppressed peoples to create and sustain their own social movements.