Certificate in Introduction to Politics

NFQ Level





12 weeks







The Certificate in Introduction to Politics introduces the study of politics and is intended as a practical guide to some of the main concepts and vocabulary of political science. The course provides an introductory guide to important themes and issues related to the study of politics, such as the state, regime types, and political change and behaviour. It also introduces learners to some of the study skills that they need to complete assignments and assessments in the area of politics. 

The course will also introduce learners to political and social science research methods. It will provide learners with a foundational knowledge of the theoretical dimensions of conducting research in the field of political and social sciences. A variety of qualitative and quantitative research methods, data sources and methods of data analysis are explored.

Credits: 5 ECTS

Delivery: 2 hour online lecture every second Saturday and 6-hours self-directed learning. See January 2024 Programme Schedule for further details.

The course will cover the following topics:

  • Thinking about Politics
  • Foundational Concepts in Politics
  • Participation and Public Opinion
  • Power and the Legitimation of Authority
  • Ideologies and the Political Spectrum
  • Political Representation and Political Parties
  • Electoral Systems and Elections: Elections and Appointment of the Houses of the Oireachtas; The Northern Ireland Executive and the European Parliament
  • The State
  • Democracy and Democratic Government
  • Political Institutions of Ireland and the European Union
  • International Politics
  • Researching Politics & Methods of Political Analysis (Introduction to Quantitative and Qualitative Research; Methods of Collecting and Analysing Data)

Entry Requirements

Applications are assessed on a case by case basis in accordance with Carlow College Admission Guidelines and Procedures for Part-Time Learners


Course fees are €350 and payable at registration.


Applications for Certificates commencing in January open in late October. Full application details are available here

The Certificate in Introduction to Politics
is validated by the South East Technological University.

Course Contacts

Dr Eoghan Smith, Lecturer in English Literature

Dr Eoghan Smith

Course Enquiries

T: 059 9153257

E: esmith@carlowcollege.ie

Admissions Office

Admissions Enquiries

T: 059 9153268

E: directentry@carlowcollege.ie