A Glimpse at Our History: Ambassador Sheila Hanley on the MA in International Relations

Sheila HanleyBefore submitting my application to University College Cork’s International Relations program, I contacted Dr. Mervyn O’Driscoll the Course Coordinator to discuss my research topic. He assisted me with finding my research supervisor, Dr. David FitzGerald. Both of the professors were very supportive of my interest in the International Relations program and my research topic. On a personal level, I wanted to be part of a collaborative environment where students are encouraged to pursue their academic interests. I appreciate being surrounded by peers who are working toward careers in the International Relations field. My classmates come from a variety of academic and cultural backgrounds which adds to the invaluable learning experience. In addition, UCC’s College of Arts, Celtic Studies, and Social Sciences has an impeccable academic reputation in Ireland and abroad.

I researched the program’s modules and professors and found that it was an excellent fit based on my academic background. In 2013, I received my Bachelor of Arts in Intelligence Studies from Mercyhurst University in the USA. Intelligence and international relations are very closely related disciplines. This program has modules like “The Politics of Terrorism” that will allow me to gain further insight into academic areas that are of particular interest to me. This course and others will assist with my dissertation topic: ISIS is using the internet and social media to increasingly target young women, which has led to an increase in self-radicalization among women in Europe and other western countries. Moreover, the program’s “International Relations Theories and Approaches” module provides a solid foundation for understanding theories of international relations, which I consider integral to my future academic endeavors at UCC.

The program will further my professional development. In my previous professional role, I was part of the Client Intelligence Department of a global law firm, which required me to research and analyze a variety of intelligence and international relations matters. At UCC, I have the opportunity to greatly expand my international relations knowledge. With this increased understanding of the field, I could pursue professional positions in research organizations or private sector companies that are in need of my unique skill set combining intelligence and international relations.


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