Roughly 40% of graduates continue their education with a postgrad. Students enrol in fourth level after spending three or four years grafting hard in order to gain a degree. So why don’t graduates move straight into the labour market? Aside from the obvious lack of jobs out there – although there are distinct signs that graduate recruitment is stabilising, here are some reasons and motivations for pursuing postgraduate study or research.

1. You have to…

Second level teacher, physiotherapist, doctor, accountant, engineer, scientific researcher, social worker and architect are only a sample of the professions for which postgraduate study is a usual requirement. Increases in technology and specialisation within the Irish economy mean that postgraduate qualifications in engineering, business and science subjects are increasingly necessary; even for entry-level positions. However, in some career areas, workplace experience and practical skills can be equally valuable to employers, so students should check in advance to find out exactly how useful a postgraduate qualification will be. Useful sources of information include your college’s career guidance officer, lecturers, and current professionals in your preferred career.

2. To get a better job (and make more money)

The HEA (Higher Education Authority) statistics show that, on average, people with postgraduate qualifications have higher employment rates and starting salaries than those with only primary degrees. In particularly competitive career areas, or when applying for managerial positions, a postgraduate qualification can help a candidate to stand out from the crowd. A postgraduate degree can also help an employee to accelerate up through the ranks of their company at a faster rate. Besides providing a good all-round education, postgraduate courses enable students to specialise in a particular area of the labour market where the most lucrative and challenging roles are to be found. Bear in mind however, that employers are under no legal obligation to pay a higher salary to those with a postgraduate qualification.

3. Passion

For some, the love of learning and a particular topic that captures their heart is motivation enough to undertake a postgraduate course. Generally, but not exclusively, attracted to courses in the arts & humanities, these learners want to explore their favourite author, language or period in history to the fullest possible extent. Positive outcomes in terms of a career should always be explored – no matter what your subject matter there will be a sector of the economy with a use for your talents and heightened ability to think critically. For instance, a career in academia might beckon if the research undertaken is of an extremely high quality. For learners driven by this motivation however, the thrill of discovery is the real reward.

4. The soft skills

Many recruiters value the soft skills gained during a postgraduate course just as highly as the actual knowledge obtained. Postgraduate students have much more individual responsibility over their course work or research, and employers value this added maturity. Examples of these skills include working in teams, giving presentations, problem solving, and managing projects. A postgraduate course can also be a fertile networking place, where students meet people who will prove useful as their career develops, including classmates, lecturers and industry contacts. Getting involved with college societies and extra-curricular activities can also be beneficial. An increasing number of fourth level courses also include a work placement or internship. Work experience adds considerably to graduate’s soft skillset, while also greatly increasing their employability.

5. To finally get that promotion

Undertaking a part-time postgraduate course that is related to the student’s career is an increasingly popular move. Professional performance is improved, thus strengthening job security and the prospect of promotion. A postgraduate course will impart the latest techniques and technologies in your industry, and the network of links formed with peers in your class can be a valuable source of business and learning opportunities. For a lucky few there is also the added attraction of being sponsored by an employer.

6. To change careers

Many graduates return to education to change their career direction, because of redundancy or they have simply fallen out of love with their current profession. Most colleges say that a primary degree in a relevant subject is required for entry onto a postgraduate course; however, ‘relevant’ can be loosely defined, especially in broad humanities or science subjects. There are also many conversion courses available, which can offer vocational skills and training in subjects such as diverse as IT, medicine and accounting to graduates of any subject. People can take a whole year off to do a postgraduate course; or study part-time through classroom or distance learning while continuing to work. Changing career with a postgrad qualification is eminently possible, but serious dedication is needed and you should also be well aware of the financial implications of a full time course and the time pressures of a part time programme.

Search for your best postgrad options online on the search engine.


With approximately 250,000 jobs linked to the sector and a turnover of €27.5 billion, the food and drink industry in Ireland represents a vibrant and vital element of the Irish economy. To maintain this level of success within a global market, however, there must be ongoing innovation. This is part of what makes studying Food Science at postgraduate level such an exciting challenge: it often plays an important role in the development process.

Food Science Taught Programmes

University College Cork currently offers three taught programmes in the food science field. As well as scientific training and research, students of the MSc in Food Science – which is one-year full-time programme – can choose from among a broad selection of modules, including Material Science for Food Systems, Advanced Analytical Methods and Food Processing and Preservation. The Postgraduate Diploma in Nutritional Sciences is another nine-month option for anyone with training in a related field. The HDip in Food Science & Technology (which is one year full time or two year part time) acts as a good introduction to either of the foregoing programmes.

University College Dublin’s MEngSc in Food Engineering (one year full time, two years part time) is aimed at graduates in engineering, science and related disciplines. It provides comprehensive coverage of bioprocess engineering, risk assessment and product development. Though class sizes vary, one-to-one tuition from an assigned mentor is provided to each student.

Specialised Courses Available

While it may seem axiomatic to say that food safety should always be a priority, the unfortunate fact is that compliance is not entirely universal. Food legislation is there to maintain standards in the public’s interest; students who wish to learn more about the role of regulatory authorities can do so by enrolling a specialised masters programme covering food safety and risk analysis.

A similar option is TU Dublin’s MSc in Food Safety Management, which covers all areas relating to food safety – the dangers (microbial, chemical, etc.); safety issues in food production; regulatory, consumer, and legal concerns; food safety management tools; and a unique Integrated Food Safety Management Case Study, through which students can apply their knowledge in a food company environment.

Other food science and technology options at DIT include the MSc in Food Safety Management and the MSc in Culinary Innovation and Food Product Development – the later of which is a unique programme that bridges the areas of food science, business and culinary arts. Thanks to multi-disciplinary modules such as Gastronomy and Culture, New Food Business Creation and Sports and Exercise Nutrition, graduates are provided with extensive career options, including food product management, haute cuisine restaurants, as well as the possibility of further study.

Research avenues are available to students in both UCD and UCC. Among the research areas of particular interest in UCD are the development of new ingredient technologies and ensuring the security and safety of the food chain.

The central role that nutrition plays in our physical and mental well-being has long been recognised, but appreciation of it continues to grow and ingrain itself in the public consciousness. Such heightened awareness creates greater demand for expertise in the field, thus opening several career opportunities for graduates of nutritional science courses.

Among the courses on offer to students interested in this area are UCD’s MPH in Public Health (Nutrition) and UCC’s MSc in Nutritional Sciences, the former of which can be taken as either a one- or two-year option, depending on whether students wish to study the topic on a full- or part-time basis; the latter course, on the other hand, can only be taken full time and runs for one year. While the MSc course tends to focus on the nutritional science techniques, and the relationship between nutrition and the development of disease, the MPH degree aims to supply students with a keen understanding of public health practices and policies.

If you are working towards a career in media or public relations, a postgraduate course in journalism makes a great starting point. Having a background in this field will demonstrate that you have a skill set featuring strong communication skills, a skill set that is easily transferable to a wide range of job roles.

Postgraduate Courses in Journalism 

This subject falls within the overall category of mass communication for statics purposes. In 2015-2016, just over 500 students enrolled in mass communication postgraduate courses in Ireland. This made mass communication (including journalism), the 16th most popular type of postgraduate degree course in 2015-2016 in Ireland.

Far Reaching career

People who study in this field receive tuition in a wide, easily transferable skill set. A skillset that obviously, will be of great use if they intend to work in a journalistic role. However, the skill set can be applied to any job role where skill in communicating using the written word is required. For example, working in public relations.

Skills Learned 

If you study for a postgraduate qualification in this field, you will need to develop a wide range of skills. Depending upon the institute teaching the course, the curriculum may vary. Typical parts of the journalist curriculum are:

  • News writing – researching and reporting in written form on breaking news events.
  • Feature writing – preparing in-depth, fully researched features for newspapers and magazines.
  • Online journalism – creating journalistic content that is suitable for publication online.
  • Subediting – checking, correcting and improving the work of other journalists.
  • Newspaper layout and design – how to leverage page real estate to deliver the most effective copy.
  • Public relations – extending, maintaining brand image through public communication of corporate messages.
  • Radio and sound production – how to use radio and spoken word to present journalistic content.
  • TV and video production – how to use TV and video channels to present journalistic content.
  • Media analysis – analysing trends in news, with a view to shaping journalistic content to fit emerging news trends.
  • Communications – skills related to both presenting facts, and also discovering them through direct research such as interviews.

Areas of Specialisation 

Studying for a postgraduate qualification in journalism will allow you to specialise in specific facets of journalism. Depending upon the institution you intend to study with, available specialisations may include:

  • Broadcast journalism – specialising in TV, radio and other broadcast media for journalistic purposes.
  • Documentary journalism – preparing in-depth fact-filled journalistic content, designed to educate as well as inform.
  • Investigative journalism – performing in-depth research, and piecing together complex facts to produce news content.

Career Prospects

Receiving a postgraduate qualification in Journalism will open up a number of potential career paths in Broadcast journalism (covering all of the different types of roles we see on television, inncluding channel anchornewsreaderer, weather reporter etc); Investigative journalism (either working for a newspaper or magazine or as a freelancer); and Sports journalism (either in written form or as a TV or radio sports journalist).

Having a journalism qualification also grants access to a number of associated job roles, such as:

  • Public relations – a journalistic background provides the communication skills needed in PR.
  • Freelance writer – as a qualified journalist, you will have the writing skills needed to begin an eclectic freelance career as a writer.
  • Technical writer – combining writing skills, with technical knowledge.

These are just some of the career paths that a qualification in journalism can open up. There are many more.

A Fascinating Vocation

Overall, studying for a postgraduate course in journalism will give you a firm foundation in media-related skills. Whether you intend to pursue a career as a pure journalist or branch off into a related field.

Read this Student Profile of Journalism Student Profile Louise Kehoe.

A passion for creating great work across multiple mediums, attention to detail and creative flair which can illuminate everything from graphic novels and comic books, books, billboards and international campaigns. A huge interest in all mediums of art is obviously a requirement for someone looking at postgraduate courses in illustration. As is the ability to be able to create a great piece of illustration. Equally important is an understanding and appreciation for the various mediums (such as paint, clay, watercolor, etc.) that are available and how you can utilise them in the course of developing your skills as an illustrator.

Working as an illustrator requires persistence and tenacity too, and being able to take constructive criticism as well, regardless of if it comes from your peers or your professors. Illustration is an incredibly subjective field, and everyone will have an opinion on your work and how it suits any text or messaging it accompanies. You will learn how to incorporate critiques and suggestions, where applicable, into your work. It’s also very important to be able to keep yourself on schedule when working on projects, and it’ll only become more critical as you transition from studying to working in this demanding but rewarding sector as an illustrator.

Postgraduate Courses in Illustration

Skills You Will Develop

Developing skills as an illustrator require an exacting and self-critical eye as you work to match your skills to suit particular mediums. Postgraduate study in illustration is designed to develop your creative and intellectual abilities through the investigation of a bespoke project aligned to your own particular interests and aspirations as an illustrator. The course is intended to inspire you to consider what area you will specialise in and how you can develop your skills so you will be well-positioned to take advantage of the opportunities available within the growing sector of illustration.

What you will learn

Course content varies depending on the length and speciality of the course, but common course content includes:

  • How to liaise with clients, editors, and authors  in order to target your skills and understand and deliver upon their business needs
  • Learning different styles of illustration and how to use appropriate styles
  • How to negotiate deadlines and pricing
  • The specifics of how you understand a brief’s specification
  • The vital importance of thinking imaginatively and creatively
  • How to create images and designs by using the traditional hand skills of drawing and painting
  • How to use computer-aided design (CAD) packages to construct images and scan images and change size, colours and other elements
  • The importance of providing roughs for approval
  • Learning the specifics of running a business and developing new business, particularly when working freelance

Career Pathways in Illustration

Some studios and agencies employ illustrators on a permanent basis, but the majority of illustrators are freelance, working from home or a small studio and negotiating sales via an agent or directly with clients. Some illustrators discover a market for their talents and develop their work for that sector, receiving many commissions, while others may have many rejections before securing work. Pay will vary according to the regularity and scale of commissions and during the early years, regular work may be difficult to obtain. As careers and commissions develop though, illustration is a highly sought after and specific skills, which had gained a new lease of life in the digital marketplace.

And Remember…..

Self-promotion is vital in the competitive world of illustration would make sure you don’t pigeonhole yourself in a narrow field. You will need to be commercially aware and ensure that you follow up your postgraduate study with relevant work experience and/or voluntary work.


Classical studies is a fascinating area which provides an illuminating and detailed look at the ages of Classical Antiquity and the early Middle Ages. There is massive scope in terms of areas of focus in terms of Classical studies but common areas of focus are on the cultures and languages of Greco-Roman Antiquity and those of the Early Christian world and the Middle Ages, including Ireland.

A postgraduate course in Classical studies can lead to a particularly rich academic interaction in the study of language, cultural history and/or archaeology, according to the specialist orientation of the student. Opportunities for future research are fostered through ongoing projects and study at various levels.

Skills You Will Develop

The field of classical studies is particularly rich in terms of helping develop your range of transferable skills, which will be an asset in any career. Some of these skills would be:

  • Intellectual initiative
  • Critical reflection
  • Being able to gather, organise and deploy evidence
  • Develop the ability to extract key elements from complex information
  • Identifying and solving problems
  • Selecting and applying appropriate methodologies
  • The ability to assess the meaning and significance of information
  • Analytical and evaluative thinking
  • Estimation of the relevance of information
  • Discriminating between opposing theories
  • Forming evidence-based judgments

What You Will Learn

Classical studies vary in scope and depth depending on the length, of course, you are studying, but commonly, the following would be amongst the course content:

  • Ancient religion, cultures, and particularities of different regions
  • Greek and Roman art
  • Greek philosophy and its impact
  • Greek theatre, structure and legacy
  • Major genres of Greek and Roman literature, from epic to history, rhetoric, and novels
  • Greek and Roman culture from the Renaissance to the present, in theatre, novels, education, and film.

A wide range of other modules can be pursued to complement Classical Studies and suit your interests. For example, Ancient History, Modern Languages, Mediaeval History, English Literature, and Philosophy.

Classical studies courses can offer opportunities to apply skills in and connect to authentic contexts of local and global communities, offering a richer perspective on the world. Depending on your area of interest, classical studies courses can offer a range of worthwhile activities and opportunities to all students so they can see that the subject offers a range of options for them that are of real relevance even in today’s world.

Career Paths

As highlighted above, one of the great strengths of pursuing a postgraduate course in classical studies is the transferable skills that you will gain in terms of researching detailed and rich material and applying modern methods of study to it. Students of classical studies will have gathered a very valuable ancillary qualification which will add considerably to your suitability for a wide variety of graduate and professional programmes, as well as a wide variety of careers. Students of classics frequently go on to pursue graduate study in classics, ancient history, classical archaeology, comparative literature, and religion. Classics majors enjoy high rates of success in admission to programs in law and medicine, there are also considerable opportunities in education and academia, particularly in languages such as Greek, Italian and Latin.

And Remember…

Classical studies provides you with fascinating insights into ancient cultures which have a lasting impact to this day. For example, Plato (428bc-348bc) is recognised as one of history’s greatest philosophers and wrote on subjects including philosophy of language, cosmology, theology, discussions on aesthetics, beauty, justice, equality and political philosophy.




Transform yourself from an inexperienced, or nervous, speaker to skilled presenter through planning and practice via a course in presentation skills. Using industry leading methods, participants will learn how to captivate their audience and improve at presenting your ideas with conviction, control and excellent content. It’s common for people starting off at postgrad level to freeze up at the mere mention of a presentation. On a presentation skills course, students gain the skills to put together a compelling presentation and deliver it from short notes, making eye contact, breathing appropriately and speaking slowly with assurance while communicating matters effectively, engagingly and persuasively. Perfect for anyone who’s thinking of teaching!

Conducted, generally speaking, over one or three days, a presentation skills training programme focuses on practical learning, designed and facilitated by business people that understand your challenges and will guide you to find effective solutions that will work for many different situations.

What are Presentation Training Courses

These are programmes that will enable students to structure presentations with a beginning, middle and end an the know-how to captivate and engage their audiences, delivering with confidence and techniques to bring vitality, interest and clarity to their presentation.A presentation skills training course combines proven-by-practice methods that will grow their presentation competency. Participants receive expert advice on how to handle especially challenging situations by making actual presentations, exercises, and case applications. These courses are ideally suited for business professionals who need to develop their presentation skills, speaking in front of groups, pitching ideas to colleagues or management, or have little or no experience presenting in public.

Course Content Includes

  • How to create an effective presentation
  • Confidence building and overcoming “stage fright”
  • Tips on audience control and interaction
  • Techniques used by professional presenters
  • What techniques are right for particular situations and events
  • What techniques are inappropriate for a particular situation
  • Preparation and rehearsal
  • Correct use of Audio/Visual equipment
  • Different types of software that you can use in presentations, including PowerPoint and Prezi.
  • Tailored coaching and feedback that will assist in developing your skills for future presentations.


What the Course Teaches

Presentations skills and public speaking skills are very useful in many aspects of professional life. Effective presentations and public speaking skills are a vital component in business, sales and selling, training, teaching, lecturing, and generally feeling comfortable speaking to a group of people. Developing the confidence and capability to give good presentations, and to stand up in front of an audience and speak well, are also extremely helpful competencies for self-development and social situations. Presentation skills and public speaking abilities are things that almost everybody can develop- anyone can give a good presentation, or perform public speaking to a professional and impressive standard. Like most specialisms, what this requires preparation and practise and the right sort of training

The formats and purposes of presentations can be very different, for example: oral (spoken), multimedia (using various media – visuals, audio, etc), powerpoint presentations, short impromptu presentations, long planned presentations, educational or training sessions, lectures, and simply giving a talk on a subject to a group on a voluntary basis for pleasure. Even speeches at weddings and eulogies at funerals are types of presentations, so the skills learned on a presentation skills course can have a wide range of uses.

Why it Delivers

Using a range of interactive, demonstrative and team-based skills, a presentation skills course can develop managers, consultants or employees into effective communicators for their business or to promote a particular message. Just as a bad presentation is one of the most memorable for all the bad reason, a well-prepared and powerfully delivered presentation will resonate with audiences and potential audiences, particularly in the digital age, where presentations can be reused in multiple formats. Explore your options, and search presentation skills training programmes today.

Are you thinking of taking your Postgraduate Course in another country? Here at, we’ve compiled our top tips when it comes to undertaking postgraduate study further afield.

Why Study Abroad?

Travelling to another country to pursue a postgraduate course is an increasingly viable and attractive option for Irish students. One or more of the following factors may apply:

  • The huge range of courses on offer. Literally thousands of options in every conceivable topic are available across Europe and further afield.
  • Postgraduate courses provided through English are increasingly popular in mainland Europe – over 900 Masters Programmes in the Netherlands alone.
  • Scholarships and funding are often available to visiting Irish students – internationalization of the student body is a key goal of universities and colleges worldwide.
  • Irish students can avail of free fees in some EU countries such as Denmark and Sweden.
  • The unforgettable cultural and social experience of learning and living abroad.
  • The opportunity to develop language skills through the immersive experience of living abroad.
  • Widen your career prospects with the option to seek employment in your host country.
  • International experience and foreign language ability are highly valued in the employment market.

Embarking on postgraduate study abroad is a major undertaking, despite all the great benefits and facilitating factors, and therefore not a decision to be made lightly.


Research, Research, Research

There are many different opportunities available worldwide for students who decide to undertake postgraduate study. The possibilities range from Agriculture in Adelaide to Anthropology in Amsterdam. Work out what your options and ambitions are, and then find out as much as possible to ensure that you make an informed choice.

Here are some key considerations:

  • In which specific subject areas am I most interested? The topic ought to be your passion given the commitment required to study abroad.
  • Which countries are the most viable/attractive options – in terms of travel, language ability, lifestyle, climate, and so on?
  • How will I finance this? Rigorously research all funding options, beginning with your current institution in Ireland (if applicable), your intended postgraduate course provider abroad, and government sources.
  • Timing: find out application deadlines of the postgraduate courses that interest you, and begin your research at an appropriately early stage. It is advisable to start gathering information at least eighteen months in advance of the programme start date.

These are not easy questions to answer. Finding the right course, at the right institution, and in the right country takes a large investment in time and resources.

Consult as many people as possible, and read everything you can get your hands on. Your lecturers are the first people that you should speak to as they may have studied or taught abroad and are often fully clued in with the latest academic research around the world. The international office, careers service and foreign students in your own university are another good source of information. Contact the embassies of the countries in which you are interested and ask them for any information that they consider relevant. Looking at research journals relating to your area of interest can also give you a clue as to the location of the best opportunities for postgraduate study and research.

The Internet is a most valuable resource. Many countries have dedicated websites for international students (see some examples below), as do most individual universities and institutions. There are also many independent websites that offer valuable advice and tips.


Choosing a Country

Universities around the world increasingly seek international postgraduate students. Top candidates increase prestige and international students pay higher fees in some countries. Institutions from different countries compete to attract top-quality students and researchers from abroad. One in three PhDs issued in France for example, is to an international student.

Many governments have established official agencies to provide information to foreign students, and have also put in place funding and scholarship schemes to attract postgraduates from abroad.

There are several considerations when making a decision other than the course and institution. For instance: language and cultural factors; acceptability of academic qualifications; standard of research and study facilities; Visa and work permit requirements; career prospects; and costs and standard of living in the country. It is always advisable to visit the country and the university or institution in question before committing – although this may not be possible in every case and the student may have to rely upon email or phone communication with the course provider.

The most popular region for international postgraduate study for Irish students is Western Europe. Irish universities have built strong links with their European counterparts under EU educational development schemes such as Erasmus. The ECTS programme means that Irish qualifications are accepted at EU universities and vice versa. Many European countries, including Germany and France, highly subsidise their education systems, meaning that Irish student can often pay negligible fees at postgraduate level.

After our EU partners, the English-speaking countries of North America and Australasia are the next most popular. In particular, many Irish students choose to study in the US, taking advantage of strong historical, cultural and business links between the two countries. Postgraduate study in the US can be a first step toward a working career there, and there are a number of attractive scholarship and funding opportunities available. Australia is also an attractive destination for Irish postgraduate students, with the Australian government making a concerted effort to attract talented postgraduate students from abroad. Postgraduate study in Australia for example, may also pave the way to obtaining a work or graduate visa upon completion of the course so the student can remain in the country and seek employment.

Applications and Costs

Choosing the right postgraduate programme is only the beginning. The admissions processes for postgraduate programmes across the world tend to be complex and thorough. Requirements vary from country to country, discipline to discipline and institution to institution. You will have to convince the admissions officers that you have the ability, and just as importantly, the motivation to succeed at their institution.

Applicants need to be keenly aware of the different funding and course deadlines in different universities and countries. Some deadlines will fall very early in your final undergraduate year. The Fulbright Awards for example, the most accessible scholarship for students travelling to the US has a closing date of November for Irish candidates. Closing dates for US courses are generally in December, compared with spring and summer deadlines for most European courses.

Many higher-level institutions require personal statements and research proposals along with academic and professional references, evidence of language capability and proof of your financial means as well as the application form and your academic results. All this can take some time to prepare, and it is highly advisable for international students to submit applications within the deadline.

There are significant differences in the cost of postgraduate education in each country. Postgraduate fees at British universities are generally higher than those charged at mainland European universities, but postgraduate course lengths of varying durations can balance this out. Fees at non-EU universities tend to be even higher, with some courses at certain prestigious North American universities costing as much as €24,000. Canada boasts some of the lowest course fees of popular non-EU destinations for Irish students. It is up to the individual to decide whether an investment in education now will pay off later, and international universities are no different to their Irish counterparts in formulating regular surveys of graduate destinations.

There are substantial funding opportunities available for postgraduate students at international universities. These differ from country to country, and competition for scholarships can often be fierce. National governments, EU initiatives, university-specific and private scholarships are all sources of financial support. As much research should go into securing funding as in choosing a programme of study. Applying early and often is a good idea. Postgraduate students usually fund themselves through teaching or research, off-campus work, loans or generous parents. However you plan to finance your study, it pays to work out in advance approximately what you will need, and how you are going to obtain it.

Even the process of applying for postgraduate study abroad can be expensive. For example, application fees to US universities can be up to €80 each, and admissions tests can cost considerably more. Students considering European institutions as an option may find it worthwhile to visit and talk to lecturers and other staff before they make their decision. While even the most confident students apply to more than one programme, it makes sense to prioritise and conduct sufficient research in advance so that you only seriously consider options that you are sure are right for you.

There is a whole world of postgraduate study and research out there for you. The following links are some of the most fruitful sources of information in researching the international option.



The Campus France website has a wealth of material for the international student considering postgraduate study in France, including a programme database, funding information and general tips on living and studying in France:

Fondation Kastler is a free administrative and information service for foreign scientists and researchers interested carrying out research in France:

The official French student organisation is CNOUS. Their website has a dedicated section (in French) for international students:

Germany is an online database containing information about all of the higher-level institutions, degree programmes and doctorate options available in Germany.

The German Embassy in Dublin provides information about studying in Germany, and also about useful scholarship opportunities:

Campus-Germany’s website provides information about studying and living in Germany:



For everything you need to know about studying a postgraduate programme in the Netherlands, visit the excellent NUFFIC website at is the official website promoting higher education in the Wallonia (French-speaking) region of Belgium and the capital Brussels. Explore English-language postgraduate courses, application information, scholarship opportunities and more. provides similar information for the Dutch-speaking region of Belgium.


Scandinavia is a government website with information for international students about studying, living and working in Denmark. is a comprehensive resource for information about higher education in Sweden, geared towards prospective students from outside Sweden. The site incorporates a frequently updated database of English-language programs, an overview of the Swedish higher education system, practical information about visas and accommodation, scholarships, application procedures and pointers for learning Swedish as a foreign language. is designed to give prospective students, their parents and student coordinators at foreign institutions a basic introduction to various aspects of the Norwegian higher education system, study opportunities (including over 200 postgraduate programmes taught through English) and institutions.



EducationUSA is a global network of advice and information centres supported by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the US Department of State. The website has useful information on visa and funding opportunities.

The Fulbright Commission builds links between Ireland and the US through educational exchange programmes and scholarships: is a commercial site holding a database of available graduate programmes.

Another online guide for international students considering further study in the US is available at


Canada provides plenty of information for international students intending to study in Canada including the application process, links to different universities, information about the education system in Canada and Canadian life offers information about living in Canada as well as educational information and resources



The Australian government have set up an excellent website to attract international students, which has a wealth of information on courses, costs and funding options. This is the number one resource for anyone considering postgraduate study in Australia:

The Endeavour Programme is a scholarship awarded to international students on a competitive basis. is a site dedicated to international students seeking information about living and learning in New Zealand

Although it mightn’t happen right as you graduate, you are bound to be called for an interview at some point. While this should be a boost to your confidence, it obviously doesn’t mean that the job/fellowship is in the bag. We’ve compiled our top tips when it comes to interview skills.

You have a way to go before you collect you sign on the dotted line…

Interview Skills

The first thing you have to do is to prepare. Follow the checklist below to ensure you know your stuff…

1) Research the Organisation

Employers like it if you have at least some knowledge of their company and this is usually easy to obtain. Obviously, searching their website is a good place to start, but if they don’t have one, or it doesn’t contain much information, then you will have to look to other sources. Googling them will usually pull up some facts, but you could also ring up and ask for a brochure, search online newspaper archives or make inquiries from your own personal network to see if they know anyone who works there.

2) Research the Job

You need to have a clear idea of the duties and responsibilities of the job that you’re interviewing for, so you will be able to match yourself as closely as possible to the ideal candidate.

3) Relate your Career Goals to the Job

One of the most effective ways to reassure an interviewer is to demonstrate how the job you’re interviewing for is well matched with your own career goals. This way, the interviewer sees a motivated individual who will stick with the job.

4) Prepare your Selling Points

You should prepare a list of seven or eight things that you want the interviewer to remember about you after you leave the room. These selling points must be relevant and could include items from the following: your personal strengths, your skills, your experience, your achievements, obstacles you have overcome, your qualifications and your non-work interests and activities.

5) Plan Answers to Typical Questions

These should be prepared in outline and not learned off by heart. Rote answers, even if remembered under the stress of an interview, come out sounding hollow and insincere.

6) Revise CV / Application Form

Do not be surprised by your own CV and always keep a photocopy of any application form you have completed and sent off.

7) Revise the Position’s Ad

The job ad is a useful interview preparation tool. It can give you a lot of information about how the company sees the job and what they want from the prospective employee.

The day before the interview can be a relaxing time when you merely revise the key points you outlined in your preparation checklist. If you choose, you could have a final oral rehearsal of your prepared answers with that an honest friend who will give you critical feedback.

The Big Day

  • Be Prepared

When the interview is imminent, make sure that you don’t fall at the first hurdle. For one thing, make sure that you know where the interview is taking place and that you know how to get there. Many interviews take place at 10 Nowhere Lane, so be sure of the route before you set off – in good time. (It’s often useful, in any event, to check out the premises of your future employers. You might get some useful clues as to the level of formality, or otherwise, of the organisation.)

  • Choose your Outfit Carefully

Sort out what you’re going to wear the night before, and not in the five minutes between your alarm going off and the taxi arriving. Even if the company has a “business casual” dress policy, you’re better off dressing a bit on the stuffy side than taking a gamble, only to find that your idea of casual doesn’t match that of your prospective employer. Jeans (in fact denim of any shape), runners and other street casual clothes are generally a no-no, even if the job is in casual sectors such as tech, graphic design or retail. Get the job first. Then you can check out the style of the place and adapt your style to theirs. At the interview go for substance over style.

  • Maintain a Professional Air

Once you arrive, then you will probably have to spend a little time in the reception area. Even while you are waiting, try to look poised. Rifling through your bag or chatting on your mobile will not make a great first impression. Walk into the interview room positively and assertively. Don’t shuffle in, but equally don’t barge through like you own the place. Shake hands with the interviewer or interviewers, looking them in the eye and using their name, if you know it.

  • Be Present and Alert

When shown your seat, sit with a straight back, looking alert and interested. Folded arms, hands in front of the face, head propped up on your hand all give inappropriate messages. All gestures should be closed: no pointed fingers or chopped hands and try not to fiddle with pencils, ear lobes, chins or locks of hair. Eye contact is critical. As a rule of thumb, try to maintain eye contact for about two-thirds of any interaction with someone. We all know how difficult it is to assess someone who rarely looks at us. We share the same discomfort at being eyeballed almost constantly by someone who is talking with us.

  • Practice Good Social Ettiquete

Where you are being interviewed by a panel of three or more people, remember to include everyone. Keep your body posture square to the whole panel and scan the whole panel with your eyes. The guy who is saying nothing on the end might be the critical decision maker.

Question Time

Many people get nervous which is why honing your interview skills beforehand is a must. However, being properly prepared should go some way to assuaging this. If you are equipped with outline answers to some of the common questions, then you will be better able to cope with any nerves you might have. Typical questions include:

  1. Tell me about yourself. What is your background?
  2. Why are you interested in our company?
  3. What skills do you think you could bring to the role? Tell me how you have displayed these skills in a practical situation.
  4. What aspects of your previous experience do you think will be most helpful to you in this role?
  5. What areas do you think you need to improve on?
  6. Are you a team player? Describe a time when you worked on a team project.
  7. Where do you see yourself in five years time?
  8. What has been your biggest achievement to date?
  9. What salary are you expecting?
    And finally…
  10. Have you any questions for us?

Yes, you do!

The goal with this question is to persuade the employer/superviser that you have the skills, background and ability to do the job and can comfortably fit into the organization. So, be prepared to ASK questions such as:

  • What is the most important quality you are looking for in the person that will fill this position?
  • What are the promotion prospects after I have gained experience?
  • What are the greatest challenges in this position?

Don’t forget to throw a few gentle smiles into your interview session, despite the nerves, to show them the people person you are. Don’t overdo it, though, or you will be in danger of appearing innane.

Leave an interview as positively as you arrived. Avoid the tendency to bow and scrape your way to the door, fearful of turning your back on the interviewer. The same assertive handshake is required as that you gave on leaving, followed by a brief thank-you statement, followed by an elegant exit.

If you want tips on how to effectively manage your time, check out this article.

It can be very difficult balancing a postgraduate programme with anything that resembles a social life. Good habits from the get-go are the only way you will survive your postgrad with your mental health intact.  As your course is underway, do you find yourself saying: ‘If only I had more time?’ Is your problem lack of time management? Or poor planning of it? The answer? List, list, list. Make not just one or two but three lists: the Absolute Priority List (things that must be done and done immediately); the Very Important List (things that must be done soon); and the Can Wait List (things that are not urgent but must be done).

The Secrets of Time Management

Be wary of the items that stay on your list but never get done. They probably merit a further set of lists. Do they come under Not Really Worth Doing and could be dropped altogether? Or is it because you feel that They Are Too Difficult? If the answer is: ‘then’, just get down to them and get them over and done with, because they won’t go away. Or are they Waiting For More Information, in which case put on some pressure to get the necessary details, support or clarification. Finally, there’s my favourite category: Jobs More Usefully Done By Somebody Else.

First things first

Be ruthless about how your prioritise work. But be careful: something may not have an immediate deadline or immediate implications, but that doesn’t mean that it should continually move down your list. If you don’t start tackling it, it will become urgent sooner or later.

Don’t keep putting off the jobs you hate. Procrastination really is the thief of time. While you leave them aside, they are nagging away at you and reducing your efficiency. Get down to them and make them go away.

Also, don’t wait until you feel like doing your task. If you must get something written, then start with step one. Put your bum into the chair, turn on the computer, open the blank document and start writing. There is a school of thought in psychology that claims that it’s easier to act your way into a feeling than feel your way into an action. Simply put: if you wait until you feel like writing that report then it may never get done.

File the pile, cut the clutter

If your desk looks like a landfill site, sort it out. You might find that important documents and priority tasks have drifted down to the bottom of your pile. Tidying and sorting out the piles on your desk into tasks with assigned priority will give you a welcome feeling of greater control over your workload.

File, pass on, shred or bin that which is no longer relevant to your workload. Doing the same with your personal space – your car, your handbag, your bedroom – will also have a remarkably therapeutic effect on how you feel about your own organisational ability.

You don’t have to do everything yourself. Delegate that which can be delegated, but do so with care. Otherwise you may find yourself with an even bigger headache.

No more blah

Keep meetings short! It’s useful to consider timetabling some meetings just before lunch – that tends to focus the minds of people who enjoy long and rambling meetings. Make an agenda and stick to it. Tight chairing will also serve to shorten meetings and ensure that they are productive.

Be wary of time wasters. If you find you are holding a one-to-one meeting that is taking too much time, it can be a good idea to stand up and bring the meeting to a conclusion in that way. (Do this in a diplomatic way, of course, or you will find yourself accused of lacking courtesy).

Time off

When it comes to time management, setting aside time for reading is vital. Diary in a space when you won’t be disturbed by the phone or callers. If keeping informed and up-to-date is an important part of your job, then this reading period is essential.

Taking short breaks will also help to re-charge the batteries and re-focus the mind on a difficult task. And of course they are also important from a health point of view if you work in front of a PC.

Stick to normal working hours, if at all possible. Working late nights and weekends can ultimately wear you down and compromise your efficiency. If you are consistently working long hours it is probably because you are overloaded, inefficient or being exploited. Which or whether, you’re not on top of things.

Read more study tips online here.

Looking for support? Check out the latest from the Union of Students in Ireland.

By Norma Donleavy

Do you want to work in the rewarding, creative field of Architecture? The role of the architect is to design and co­ordinate building projects, from an extension to a house, to a complete housing estate or office block, based on a budget and brief that has been supplied by the client.

What You’ll be Working On

The architect will decide the physical appearance of the project, advise on materials to use and the feasibility of client’s demands. Plans are designed, approved by both sides, at which stage contracts are drawn up and planning permission is sought.

Once the drawings and specifications are completed, the architect generally helps the client select a building contractor, and it is the contractor who co-ordinates all the workers on the site to construct the building. The architect continues to advise the client, supplies additional design information if needed, and checks the work from time to time to make sure that it is being built in accordance with the plans, until the whole job is complete. There are many skills involved in architectural work, including technological know-how, visual awareness, design ability, and the ability to interpret the client’s ideas for the building, and translate them into something tangible.

Many architects work for themselves, or on contract, so they must also be able to manage their business affairs and, if necessary juggle several jobs at the same time. Because their work can usually he seen from the outside, it is the highest profile in the public’s mind – when a building looks well, the architect is applauded, but when it looks awful, the architect will probably find that it’s the only piece of work he’s done that everyone knows and talks about!

Architectural Technology

Working as support to qualified architects, technicians prepare drawings, (usually with the aid of Computer Aided Design -CAD), make models or do research work. There are five IT courses available, all with high entry points, which reflects the popularity of these courses and the good employment opportunities. None of these courses, however, is a short cut to architecture. DIT will recognise a fully qualified technician and allow them to be exempt from one year of their Architects degree.

Anyone thinking of applying for a place in a school of architecture or architectural technology should try and get a couple of week’s work experience in an architects office before they make up their mind.

About the Royal Institute of Architects Ireland (RIAI):

The RIAI is the professional body which represents about 95% of qualified architects practising in Ireland. It also has an Architectural Technician membership. The RIAI accredits and recognises the five year architectural degrees offered by UCD and DIT Bolton Street, and having either of these qualifications qualifies a person for Associate membership of the RIAI. To achieve Registered Membership the architectural graduate must also complete at least two years of approved practical training and then pass the RIAI or NUI Examination in Professional Practice, only then are you a fully qualified architect. The RIAI offers a wide range of services to the profession and to the public, including ‘Shaping Space’, the transition year programme which now offers many young people their first opportunity to discover what architecture is all about.

Learning the Skills

Only the five undergraduate qualifications in architecture are currently legally recognised in the Republic of Ireland by the RIAI. Once you’ve completed a degree, you must obtain at least two years of approved postgraduate professional training, then successfully complete an examination in professional practice specified by the RIAI.

Accuracy and neatness in your presentation is important in architecture, as are drawing skills, but these are increasingly easier to obtain with the aid of computers. An interest in visual arts would be an advantage both in college and working life, but is not essential. College is the time to experiment without budget restraints, as you may not get the time or opportunity to do so once working.

Getting the Job

The majority of architects are self-employed, but most newly qualified architects will need to seek a some years work within a practice to gain experience before opening upon their own.

While there is no longer the need to travel in order to gain employment, many architects still advise that time spent abroad, assimilating other countries’ culture and architecture, can he a very good thing to bring with you when you come to work in Ireland. There is also the opportunity for architects in practices to carry out private work in their own time.

There are many different ways an architect can win contracts – through contacts and friends, through the building trade, and. also successful completion of one job can lead to recommendations. There are also opportunities for architects to win competitions for contracts, either by open entry or invitation only, but if you are not the successful candidate, the remuneration can be poor, as only nominal fees are paid for the designs that are not selected.

Some architects specialise in areas such as landscape or historical building renovation

Skills & Attributes

  • Visual awareness.
  • Good drawing and visualisation skills.
  • Able to work as part of a team.
  • Able to discuss, share and effectively convey your ideas.
  • Interest in people and sociology.
  • Good interpersonal skills.
  • Business management skills.
  • Good personal organization.
  • CAD (computer-aided design) skills essential.

The ‘Ups’

  • Training prepares you for a range of different tasks.
  • Varied, interesting and sociable work.
  • Opportunity to contribute something tangible to society.
  • Skills highly transportable.
  • Opportunity to develop areas of personal interest.
  • Good opportunities at the moment.

The ‘Downs’

  • Given the level of training and status of architects, profession not exceptionally well paid.
  • Employment climate can change for worst very quickly.
  • Often long and unsociable hours.
  • Will usually have to compromise on ideas.

Career Advancement

Advancement comes with experience and contacts, and can mean that the job becomes more of a management role, rather than hands on design. As you advance, each contract tends to be a bigger project with a higher profile, and therefore more lucrative, but can also give the architect a chance to pursue their own ideas.

Architects have training that would enable them to branch out into many areas such as furniture design, interior design, graphic design, painting & sculpture or research and academia. They are not just designers of buildings, but work with landscape as well as structure. Through their close links with, and knowledge of the building industry, architects have also been known to move successfully into property speculation.

As the fears facing climate change are changing the way in which we think about the world, when it comes to horticulture and the environment, there are more opportunities for a career in this field than ever. People now have the money, and the desire, to create that little bit of greenery which can help them relax. More people are spending money on landscaping and house plants, with a consequent increase in this aspect of horticulture. There is also a much greater interest in our environment and consumers are demanding a higher quality of fresh fruit and vegetables. There are two broad areas of Horticulture; amenity and commercial. Amenity horticulture concentrates on landscape design, including sport and leisure parks as well as ornamental use of shrubs and plants. Commercial horticulture concentrates on the production of plants and crops. Postgraduate Horticulture Courses are your best option when it comes to achieving a rewarding career in this field.

Commercial Horticulture:

Commercial horticulture presents a wide variety of opportunities from the production of greenhouse crops, fruit farming, and vegetable growing, to cereals production and forestry. The work is labour intensive, with set busy periods for harvesting and sowing, often requiring casual labourers, One of the recent successes, mushroom growing, is highly labour intensive, requiring many workers all year round. Mixed farms that have a large portion of their land dedicated to crop farming frequenfly employ managers to oversee the production, and marketing of crops. There are possibilities for promotion in this area but starting as a commercial horticultural labourer and working up to manager can take many years


Amenity Horticulture:

There are many different areas of employment open to someone with a qualification in amenity horticulture, from working in a garden centre or nursery to running large estate gardens, both public and private, or taking up a post with a public authority such as the Parks Department as groundspeople, with the opportunity to rise to supervisory or design grades. The work is, however, much more than just tending plants, as you will also need a good knowledge of horticultural science and equipment, as well as pest control and disease control. It can be seasonal work, but there are full-time, year-round positions available, especially in the house plant business – this area of employment can be more enjoyable, as it is less physical, and does not suffer from bad weather conditions, as outside work can be.

Organic Farmer:

There are two areas of organic farming – organic horticulture and organic livestock, both of which have seen a huge increase in recent years. Organic horticultural farming is a system of producing food without the use of artificial pesticides and fertilisers, and organic livestock farming involves raising livestock in a natural manner on grassland that has not been treated in any way with non-organic chemicals. All livestock is also raised without any growth promoters or tranquillisers.

With the recent BSE scare, and now the spectre of genetically-modified food looming large in the headlines, there is considerable demand for organic horticulture produce and organically raised livestock. Many farms are converting from conventional to organic farming, which takes a minimum of two years, and they must follow a strict plan agreed with a certification panel appointed by the Irish Organic Farmers & Growers Association (IOFGA) Inspection and Certificate scheme if they are to gain full IOFGA symbol standards. This is approved by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry under EC regulations..

IOFGA provides information and assistance to farmers and growers interested in organic food production, and the simplest and cheapest way to start is with small crops such as strawberries, which prove to be the most profitable and easiest to market. There is huge popularity at the moment in organic ‘country produce’ such as jams and preserves, and in lavender or other herbs used for aromatherapy.

A route into organic farming would be through a degree in Agricultural Science, and then further education specialising in organic farming with Teagasc. An Bord Glas provide grants for organic horticultural enterprises, as well as advice on development of a business plan, marketing and on other administrative areas.


Landscaping & Garden Design:

A very fast growing area, as the proliferation of building in the last 12 months has created the need for common landscaped areas in office and housing developments, as well as more private gardens which need tending. This has led to a great demand both for landscapers and garden designers working under contract, and also for the nurseries supplying the industry by those people who want to do the garden themselves. With the increasing amount of apartment development, offering no individual gardens to their residents, landscaping of common areas within these developments is a fast growing industry. These gardens can be created instantly with careful planning and the right equipment. Public gardens and parks also offer employment in the areas of landscaping and garden design, as do many sport and leisure facilities.

There are huge opportunities for self employment in this area. Routes into landscaping and garden design can be found through the second year option of BAgrSc degree in UCD. This educates students in the scientific aspect of landscaping, with a sizeable amount of work carried out using computer-aided-design.


Learning the Skills:

There are various postgraduate horticulture courses offered in both amenity and commercial horticulture, as well as greenkeeping and turf management. It is possible to get a job without completing a course, but the chance of advancement is, of course,

reduced, and your knowledge is restricted. There is permanent employment available for about 90% of graduates and plenty of college places for people interested in taking courses in horticulture. Teagasc has 1,200 annual places in agricultural and postgraduate horticultural courses on offer providing practical and theoretical training. UCD’s Bachelor of Agricultural Science (BAgrSc) diverts into nine areas after the first year, two of which are Commercial Horticulture and Landscape Horticulture.


Getting the Job:

There is currently a shortage of workers in the growing area of landscaping, both with a company and as a self-employed landscaper – people who have recently set up on their own complain about there not being enough days in the week to carry out their work! Many florist and plant shops look for people with a qualification in amenity horticulture before considering them for employment.

Dublin County Council and Corporation employ many people in their parks department, with the opportunity of promotion going first to qualified horticulturalists. These positions will be advertised in the local press, as well as in the colleges. Seasonal and summer work is easy to pick up in nurseries, garden centres and commercial horticultural farms, and it is advisable for people considering furthering their education in this area. Also, these are the areas that offer the best prospects for full-time employment as a horticulturalist. Someone interested in attending the Irish Golfing Union / Teagasc Greenkeeping course should be working as a trainee greenkeeper before applying to the course. These positions are easily sought through direct contact with golf courses.


Skills & Attributes:

  1. Interest in plants.
  2. Drawing skills (for garden and landscape design).
  3. Physical strength for most jobs.
  4. Attention to detail.
  5. Patience.
  6. Must like working outdoors in all weathers.


  1. Outdoor life.
  2. Varied work.
  3. Some areas can be financially rewarding.
  4. Good development / growth opportunities.
  5. Fulfilling work.


  1. Can be physically tough and dirty.
  2. Have to work in all weathers.
  3. Success at mercy of weather.
  4. Seasonality of sales.
  5. Landscaping work often on a contract basis.

Postgraduate Horticulture Courses:

There are a number of taught and research-based postgraduate horticulture courses in Masters and PhD levels available across the country. Entry to postgraduate programmes normally requires either a first or second class honours primary degree in the appropriate discipline. Students undertaking postgraduate horticulture courses can expect research activities and work experience with industrial and commercial organisations which will is certainly of benefit when it comes to the career prospects of graduates.

Irish people have suffered the same (albeit largely self-inflicted) fate as other countries in the Anglophone world in being largely monolingual. Thankfully, that attitude is changing with the ever-expanding range of language courses available. This reflects the growing hunger in Irish people for expressing themselves in a foreign language, beyond stock phrases such as – Dos cervezas, por favor!

Researchers the world over are increasingly convinced of the mental benefits of knowing more than one language. In their book, In Other Words: The Science and Psychology of Second-Language Acquisition (1994), Ellen Bialystock and Kenji Hakuta found that the “the knowledge of two languages is greater than the sum of its parts”. As well as the obvious fluency in two languages, the added benefits of bilingualism include a greater talent for mathematical problem-solving and higher levels of literacy.

Why take Language Courses?

Perhaps the most common reason for taking a language course these days is to enhance career prospects. Language skills are increasingly important in the workplace, as businesses build bridges with companies not only in Paris and Berlin but also in Shanghai and Zagreb, amongst others. Irish people working for multinational companies are regularly transferred abroad for long periods of time, while others decide to live and work in a foreign culture for a spell to gain new life and work experiences. People often learn a language in advance to make the transition into a new culture as easy as possible.

Another widespread reason to take a language course is in preparation for a holiday or trip abroad – so you can ask directions and order food like a native. Some people continue to learn a language due to a continuing interest in a foreign culture. Others take specialised business language courses, which teach you all about raising profits and cutting costs in another language. Some people learn a new language so they can talk with their new in-laws, or to brush up on a language, studied in school but now lying dormant at the back of their mind. Whatever your reasons, this guide will list a course for you.

Which languages to choose from?

The most popular languages are still French, Spanish, Italian and German, in that order. However, other more exotic tongues, such as Japanese, Czech and Arabic, are becoming popular. These less familiar languages are generally offered at beginners’ level and, while it may be daunting to consider starting from scratch, remember that you will be brought up to a good standard fairly quickly. Intermediate and expert classes in most European languages are available from a wide variety of training providers.

When sourcing a language class, there are a number of questions that you should ask prior to making your decision. First of all, how qualified is the instructor? Do they have teaching experience? You should also find out what size the classes are going to be – up to eight students can be optimum, but this can vary depending on the subject and teaching style. It is also important that you are put in a class that suits your fluency level. If it is too easy, then you won’t learn much, but if it is too hard then your confidence will suffer. Talk to the teacher beforehand to find out if you will fit in.

In summary, if you want to make friends and influence people in foreign countries, then why not consider taking up a language? Check out the listings that follow to find out how…

Thinking of changing careers and moving into the law? Then a postgraduate course in Legal Studies might be your best option. Solicitor, barrister, judge – that’s the normal progression of ambitious legal eagles. As a career choice, it’s possible to ascend rapidly, especially in today’s economy where the demand for solicitors and legal professionals is high.  Property conveyance, drawing up of deeds, overseeing planning applications, representing corporations and a growing Irish economy… yes, the work is there.

Career progression in the Legal Profession

Many legal professionals start out as solicitors, building up their own practise. Solicitors usually specialise in corporate, family or criminal law.  Barristers are perhaps a senior version of a solicitor, having the sole right to advocacy in the larger courts.  These folks do the set piece arguing at the Four Courts, having been hired by a solicitor firm representing the client.  This is another source of responsibility for solicitors – only they have the right to hire, instruct and pay a barrister.

Law Courses: Further Postgraduate Study

Ultimately, to practice as a solicitor or barrister, there are various paths involving further vocational study, on-the-job training as well as examinations – depending on the area you would ultimately like to work for. For graduates from other fields of study who wish to train as solicitors, conversion courses are available that will prepare you for the necessary exams. Also, non-law graduates who want to take the Barrister-at-Law degree course will need to pass the King’s Inn Diploma in Legal Studies before they can sit the entrance exams.

The Law Society

The Law Society is the educational, representative and regulatory body of the solicitors’ profession in Ireland. Established in 1773, the Society got statutory functions under the Solicitors Acts 1954-1994 in the education, admission, discipline and regulation of the solicitors’ profession.  It works to improve access to the law generally and also provides representation, services and support for solicitors themselves.  The Society also deals with complaints from the public about members of the profession and administers a statutory compensation fund.

The Law Society is based at Blackhall Place in Dublin, and this large period building is home to libraries and lecture halls for the profession today. The Law Society of Ireland is the professional body for the 5,500 solicitors practising in Ireland and validates the qualifications of all law graduates, who must first come to Blackhall for six month’s tuition after their apprenticeship (which takes two years once the degree is completed).

The Honorable Society of King’s Inns

Meanwhile, The Honorable Society of King’s Inns is the oldest institution for legal education in Ireland.  The headquarters of Irish barristers, it was founded in 1541 during the reign of Henry VIII who granted to the Society a lease of the lands on which the Four Courts have stood since 1790. At that time, the Society moved to nearby Henrietta Street where the King’s Inns were built and stand till today.

Initially a voluntary society, membership has become compulsory for barristers wishing to practise in the courts.  Many prominent Irishmen have trained at King’s Inns including Theobald Wolfe Tone, Robert Emmet, Daniel O’Connell, John Redmond and Edward Carson.

The Honorable Society of King’s Inns is an autonomous institution empowered to confer the degree of Barrister-at-Law, which is equivalent to a university law degree.  The reputation of the King´s Inns law school is international, particularly because of some of its modern-day illustrious graduates – Mary Robinson, Jack Lynch, Liam Cosgrave, Garret FitzGerald, Charles Haughey and John Bruton.

Training Options Available

Today, the Law School of King’s Inns provides law courses, which, if successfully completed, allow students to graduate as Barrister-at-Law and thereby be entitled to be called to the Bar of Ireland.  Admission to the courses is restricted to university law graduates and other candidates who have passed the Society’s Diploma in Legal Studies examination, which is to degree standard.

The degree comes after a two-year course of lectures and tutorials.   Only holders of the degree may be called to the Bar by the Chief Justice and allowed practise in the Courts of Ireland as a member of the Bar of Ireland – ie a barrister.  Once one is called to the Bar, you “devil” as an apprentice and Junior Counsel until you’re invited to “take silk” and become a Senior Counsel.  These latter guys are the big players, handling the big libel, criminal, civil and murder cases.  They’re also the senior in terms of pay.  Depending on their reputation and ability, a Senior Counsel can earn several hundred thousand pounds per year.

What you need to succeed

The number of places allocated at the King’s Inns varies from year to year between graduate holders of approved degrees in law and holders of the Society’s Diploma in Legal Studies.  Prospective King’s Inns students will soon have to sit an entrance exam to be allowed onto the Barrister-of-Law degree course.  Once there, subjects covered include Jurisprudence, Criminal Law, Company Law, Law of Evidence and Irish Constitutional Law.

Places in the degree course from next year will be allocated to those who successfully sit the entrance examination, but to sit this, candidates must have either a degree in Irish law from an approved university (including the core subjects or a Diploma in Legal Studies from King’s Inns).

Potential Career Paths

Practising barristers, (and in limited cases, solicitors), can then progress further to a judgeship. Solicitors and barristers can become District Court judges but it takes a Government appointment to get you on to the bench of the Supreme Court, the highest court in Ireland.

Useful Web Links:

and two good general resource sites on legal careers:

The time has come for the Celtic Phoenix to stop parading its flash (green?) fur coat and surgically reshaped shiny beak and step up to the plate; we face stiff competition for investment, from Eastern Europe and Asia in particular. A call for upskilling across all branches of the Irish economy has rang out, and the warning from the EGFSN (Expert Group on Future Skills Needs) is clear: either we become a very skilled and educated high-end economy or face losing our competitiveness. That is the big-budget historical viewpoint; on an individual level however, it just makes good sense in today’s competitive environment, to improve your career prospects by enrolling in a Business Studies Postgraduate Course.

The benefits of an education in Business Studies

Many individuals choose to invest in their own education. They seek to gain extra training and boost their skills, either to obtain a new job or to position themselves for promotion. New practices and developments are constantly being introduced into the market, and many who don’t keep up will be left behind. Many people, especially early in their careers, move positions and companies, and keeping your skills and qualifications up to date is key to taking the direct route up the corporate ladder.

Business training is constantly developing to keep up with the competitive climate. As well as traditional courses in the areas of management, human resources management and sales, there are classes available in subjects such as leadership skills, neuro-linguistic programming, communications skills, 360-degree feedback, presentation skills, and project, change and time management.

A Fulfilling Career

People working in areas such as accountancy, marketing and public relations may be interested in the courses run by the different professional societies and organisations. It is no longer enough to qualify in your mid-twenties and be set up for life – professional and career development programmes are now the norm.

Often, people decide to take a night course in a business discipline that is not strictly related to their primary degree or qualification. For example, somebody working in sales might enrol in a marketing course by night, or a human resources professional might take classes in industrial relations. Career development often entails a certain amount of creative lateral thinking, and those who build well-rounded CVs are often best placed to progress.

Your Postgraduate Options

Courses have become dynamic, not just in content, but also in delivery. Providers, in a competitive environment themselves, have been forced to think ‘outside the box’ and come up with training that really offers value for money. Traditional course delivery has been improved, now featuring guest lectures from management gurus and life coaches, outward-bound training and the creative use of multimedia.

The desire for lifelong learning is being picked up on by progressive companies, who are increasingly providing education programmes for staff. This workplace training not only improves efficiency and morale, but is also a major selling point when the company seeks to attract new staff. Workers can find that employers will contribute towards their learning initiatives, and should also do some research to determine if they are eligible for funding from FAS or other similar organisations.

Pick a Postgrad to suit your Schedule

Modern business studies postgraduate programmes focus on producing well-rounded graduates who, not only have a firm grasp of their chosen subject, but who can also observe, listen, question and analyse the needs of a changing economy. Many of the courses listed on are dedicated to ensuring that today’s business professionals continue their success well into the future.

With huge levels of growth in the Irish construction industry at the moment, driven by both government and EU investment, Civil Engineering is a very attractive career path for the engineering graduate, or anyone with a qualification in a related discipline looking to specialise.

What is Civil Engineering?

Civil Engineers are responsible for designing and implementing the larger structures in the built environment. They work on designing roads, runways, bridges, sewage plants, dams and other large buildings such as hospitals and universities. Their work also involves managing the project, seeing it through to completion and dealing with any problems that arise. Civil Engineers get to wear both a hard hat and a business suit.

Postgraduate Courses Available

There are many postgraduate qualifications in civil engineering and related areas to choose from. For example, the Department of Civil Engineering at NUI Galway offers two masters level research degrees as well as a PhD degree. Candidates wishing to take a postgraduate research degree at NUIG must submit a proposal outlining the areas of research that they intend to study. The research interests of the staff at NUIG include Computational Methods in Engineering Structures, Coastal and Marine Engineering, Computer Modelling in Offshore Engineering, Geotechnical Engineering, Wind Engineering, Flexible Pavements and Environmental Engineering.

Graduates with good honours standard degrees are invited to submit proposals. Applicants can discuss topics of interest with appropriate staff members to agree on their topic for research. Students enrolled on masters programmes can usually transfer to Ph. D as their research progresses. The NUIG Faculty of Engineering offers a wide range of research degree options across all departments. Thus, students undertaking research in Civil Engineering will be able to make use of institutional expertise in Electronic Engineering, Engineering Hydrology, Industrial Engineering, Mechanical & Biomedical Engineering, and Information Technology.

Other Options Available

Other third level institutions throughout Ireland offer similar research and taught masters opportunities in Civil Engineering including CIT, Trinity, UCD and UCC. Similar qualifications in Building Project Management, Construction Management, Highway Technology, Materials Science and Engineering and Structural Engineering are also available around the country. Graduates with Civil Engineering qualifications should find that there are opportunities within the construction and related industries as well as in the civil service, manufacturing, environmental management and IT sectors.

This makes a postgraduate qualification in Civil Engineering a most useful addition to the CV of anyone intent on pursuing a career in these areas.

They say a fool and his money are soon parted. That may have had a ring of truth in the profligate days of the Celtic Tiger, but nowadays even as the economy continues to improve, the union of village idiots is advocating spending cautiously. An increasingly competitive market is seeking higher returns from a fast evaporating pool of business and consumer spend. The key to success is the development of ever more ingenious marketing techniques that strengthen customer relationships. And the surest way to acquire these skills is to enrol in a postgraduate course.

Marketing Courses

A popular and proven method for graduates (marketing and non-marketing) to secure good positions is to enrol in a Marketing Practice postgraduate programme – available from Letterkenny IT, UCD and NUI Galway. With a strong focus on practical marketing skills, students are required to effectively apply what they learn in the classroom in a work placement (Letterkenny, NUI Galway), or as a ‘marketing advisor’ to an external business client (UCD).

The Importance of Experience

According to Billy Bennett, VP for Academic Affairs in LyIT and Registrar and former Head of the School of Business, the work placement is ‘a significant learning curve for graduates, but hugely important’, as it bridges the gap between marketing theory and academic studies and the real-life practicalities of the workplace.’ Students also experience the pressures and responsibilities of paid employment, because, as Bennett points out, it is a paid placement and the companies would not pay if they were not getting value for money.

Of course, the academic aspect is of equal importance, with students undergoing various marketing modules (research methods, managing sales, etc) and carrying out assignments on the strategic marketing plan they are applying in the workplace. Happily, most students thrive in this atmosphere and many go on to secure permanent marketing positions with their work placement employer.

DCU Marketing Postgrad

DCU has one of the strongest traditions of marketing education in the higher education sector, and the university’s MSc in Marketing has been running for almost two decades. Dr Michael Gannon, Senior Lecturer in Marketing at DCU, describes the course as ‘a specialist program designed to produce graduates with an in-depth marketing know-how and with the technical and personal skills to operate in a dynamic and increasingly competitive market’. Among the course’s unique features is an exchange agreement with the University of Illinois in the US, which has an Advertising Dept described by Forbes magazine as the best in the world.

The agreement allows for three DCU MSc Marketing students to spend a spring semester in the US. Another mainstay of the course is their Seminar Series whereby ‘visiting academics and business practitioners impart their experience and knowledge of marketing’, explains Dr. Gannon. Speakers from universities such as Harvard and companies such as Google and Microsoft attend the university and ‘fairly well established, people in industry readily accept invitations to come and speak’. Graduates of the course are ‘getting picked up fairly readily’ according to Dr. Gannon, with large players in the marketing sector always looking for people.

Graduates are employed with agencies such as Lansdowne Market Research, and in-house with companies such as Bank of Ireland and Google. A number also pursue a PhD in DCU or other institutions, e. g. the prestigious York University of Toronto. Besides DCU, a taught MBS in Marketing is available in the UCD Michael Smurfit School of Business, UCC, and Dundalk IT (where there is a dual focus on marketing and entrepreneurship).

Alternative Options

Whereas the MSc is well suited to graduates seeking an opportunity for further study, numerous qualifications that are awarded by professional bodies are also on offer that would greatly benefit experienced marketing professionals. Such programmes include the MSc Masters in Marketing (Executive) in TU Dublin (formerly DIT). A two-year, part-time programme; the first year involves ‘the up-skilling and deepening of functional marketing knowledge and expertise’, and students develop ‘greater strategic perspective and organisational insights’ in year two.

But what about those poor souls who the think the ‘four Ps’ are a popular hip-hop outfit? Knowledge of marketing is vital in a huge variety of careers, so thankfully there are postgraduate crash courses for the uninitiated who lack marketing qualifications. These include TU Dublin’s Management & Marketing for Non-Business Graduates and their Higher Diploma in Business in Marketing. That’s ‘product’, ‘price’, ‘place’ and ‘promotion’ by the way, or what’s commonly referred to as the ‘Marketing Mix’.

Is a Career in Marketing for You?

Graduates of every postgraduate marketing course have to work in a challenging environment, where marketing experts now compete on a global scale in a constantly evolving digital environment. They need to be more creative and able to practice guerrilla marketing [lower cost, unconventional campaigns] – making using of the internet and social media for example. Yet, one of the strongest tools a marketer can yield is the ability in creating and maintaining strong customer relationships.

The field of public relations is closely related to the marketing and advertising areas. The exact job description of the PR practitioner can vary, but they generally look after the public perception of their company of that of its products. This can involve creating information that shows your employers in a good light and providing this material to the media, customers, clients and other members of the public. It can also involve organising events to highlight your clients’ products and achievements.

What you need to succeed

Successful PR professionals tend to be confident and sociable with excellent communications skills. Further study public relations courses can be attractive to those with business, media or general arts degrees who are looking to specialise at postgraduate level to further their careers.

Public Relations Courses Available

At postgraduate level, public relations academic programmes can be particularly specialised, concentrating on subjects such as PR Techniques, Media Writing, Sponsorship and Community Relations, Event Management, Public Affairs & Lobbying, Communication Theory and Strategy & Corporate Environment. The European Institute of Communications, the Fitzwilliam Institute, Dun Laoghaire College of Further Education and TU Dublin all offer postgraduate programmes in Public Relations.

Career Prospects

Public Relations positions tend to be slightly less widespread, but a growing number of businesses and organisations employ public relations staff or information officers. Both the public and private sectors alike require Public Relations experts. As with the marketing area, there are a number of specialised agencies in Ireland who look after public relations for their clients who can range from multinational companies to charities to private individuals. With the spread of celebrity culture, media, politics and sporting luminaries increasingly employ their own PR staff for protection and support. PR, in particular, is an excellent option for undergraduates of all disciplines.


Public relations consultant and DIT lecturer, Dr. John Gallagher, explained: ‘A few years ago, we had a student here who had a degree in agriculture and that was obviously a bit uncommon, but because there were agricultural companies in need of communications experts who had a feel for their industry, this student was very well sought after. In fact, she was the first in her class who was employed and there was a couple of companies fighting over her. ’

‘What we tried to do is gather people from as broad a range as possible of academic pursuits: arts, communications, law, business, agriculture, science; because those are the people that the industry wants. The companies who’ve taken on our graduates over the years reads like a “who’s who” of corporate Ireland, ’ he added.


It may sometimes feel like Irish politics is exclusively dominated by outgoing, high-profile personalities, but there is also room in the political world for people who wish to work in a more behind-the-scenes capacity. A qualification in Political Science is perfect for anyone looking to get involved in any section of this area.

Thinking of studying Political Science?

The area of political research is one that offers a more low-key route into the field, as it can groom students for important advisory roles, which need not require a significant public profile. There are currently numerous postgraduate options in Ireland that can help prospective students to build a career in this area.

Postgraduate Courses Available

One notable option is the Integrated Doctorate (MPhil/PhD) offered by Trinity College’s Department Of Political Science. It is a four-year course that, for its first two years, contains modules and taught components (alongside thesis work). Students also have to complete a dissertation, which provides their main focus in the two subsequent years. The course generally paves the way for a career in either political research or academia.

There are several other colleges that offer postgraduate options in politics and political research. The University of Limerick’s Department Of Politics and Public Administration offers prospective students the opportunity to pursue postgraduate research, culminating in a written thesis. Like the Trinity programme, it also provides seminars that help students to hone their skills in other areas, such as Research Management and Academic Presenting.

Other Postgraduate Options

Of course, there are other political postgraduate options that are not so centred on a dissertation or thesis. UCD’s School of Politics and International Relations, for instance, offers a range of taught-module-based one-year courses in political topics (though the completion of a dissertation is also a programme requirement, in addition to the continuous assessment); MSc’s in Human Rights, International Relations and Nationalism and Ethno-Communal Conflict are available in this format.

Also, the Dublin Institute Of Technology offers a full-time one-year MA in Public Affairs and Political Communication, which offers a slightly different range of career options to the aforementioned courses. Upon completion of this programme, students will be qualified to ‘take up full-time employment as liaisons between private, public and not-for-profit organisations, and governmental or political persons and organisations’. They may also work as providers of communication services for people working in the world of politics, and some graduates can even embark on careers as consultants, offering public affairs services. Modules in this programme include Public Affairs, Political Marketing, Political Structures and Public Affairs Writing. Political postgraduates are a well-established and respected qualification, rather than a rising phenomenon.

Trends in Doctorate Programmes & Career Paths

When it comes to Postgraduate Courses in Political Studies, the methods for training PhD researchers have undergone something of a sea change in recent times. One new trend is the professionalisation of the training of PhD researchers. In the past, there was what is referred to as the “apprenticeship model”. These programmes are moving towards a system where there’s a more structured, taught component to courses.

With these significant recent developments in the area of political research instruction coming into effect, now may be the ideal time to pursue a postgraduate study option in this field. A career in politics does not necessarily entail the pursuit of votes; the wide array of courses currently available in Ireland ensures a rich variety of politically focused job possibilities.

The word “geography” comes from the Greek language and means “to describe or write about the earth”.   The study of geography encompasses many topics, including human society and its myriad interactions with the built and natural environment,  and physical phenomena such as earthquakes and the melting of the ice caps.

Search Postgraduate Geography Courses

Aside from being a fascinating subject there are many career opportunities available for students who have taken postgraduate qualifications in this discipline. Students may go on to pursue careers as teachers, researchers with government agencies or departments, consultants with private firms, aid workers in developing countries, planners,  local government officials or enter the field of academia. There are many postgraduate courses in geography in Ireland and usually it is not a prerequisite to have studied geography for primary degree, although a good result in your primary degree will usually be required.

Example of Courses Available

If you did not study geography at primary degree level you may have to demonstrate your aptitude for a postgraduate geography course, perhaps by acquiring professional experience in a field related to geography or perhaps if you can show how topics covered for your undergraduate degree may have a link to the discipline. Maynooth University offers MLitt and PhD programmes in geography. A research thesis conducted over two to three years full time or three to four years part-time constitutes the basis of the award. Other courses offered by Maynooth University in the field of geography include; MSc in Climate Change, MSc in GIS/Remote Sensing and MSc in Geocomputation.

UCD offers a taught MA in Geography. The course is made up of taught modules along with independent research. Topics covered include the history of geographic thought, physical geography, practical cartography and project management, to name but a few. A thesis of approximately 12, 000 to 15, 000 words is also required. The course is one year full-time. There are also research programmes available from the School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Policy at UCD, namely, the MSc in physical geography or the MLitt. in Human Geography.


For anyone wishing to study at postgraduate level, PhD study is another option and expressions of interest from students with ambitions to pursue research in the fields of civil society and governance, climatology, cultural geography, environmental economics, natural resource management, housing, political geography, quality of life, rural planning and development, transportation, urban geography, urban regeneration or urban and regional development are welcomed. PhD study typically takes three to four years full time.

Geography researchers are also supported by Mary Immaculate College in Limerick. Research degrees to Masters and doctoral level are available across economic, urban and rural geography; historical and political geography and environmental geography. Trinity College Dublin’s Geography Department has several taught and research fourth level programmes. Taught programmes include; Masters in Environment and Development, Masters in Development Practice and MSc /PgDip. in Biodiversity and Conservation.   Successful PhD applicants will usually be provisionally entered onto the programme for the first year and subject to satisfactory progress, are confirmed on the register at the end of first year. University College Cork offers Higher Diplomas in Geography and also Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Various other taught and research Masters and PhD programmes are also offered by the university. NUI Galway also run several taught and research MA and PhD programmes.

Want to register for any of these programmes?

Log onto the individual institute’s websites for further information. In a world where geographical knowledge and experience are becoming increasingly important, completion of a fourth level geography programme is no doubt a valuable commodity. Geography is an interdisciplinary field that offers diverse career opportunities. Research your options well and decide on a programme that is most suited to your individual needs.

Studying music is seen by many as a life choice rather than a career move or educational conquest. Most postgraduate music courses available in Ireland assume that potential applicants are music graduates and the entry requirements of most programmes reflect this. In some cases, however, a degree in a suitable related subject will be sufficient or admittance can also be acquired on the grounds of a performance or interview, depending on the content of the course in question.

Which Music Postgrad is Right for You?

The number of options available and their diversity from one another is reflective of all possible musical tastes and talents. The range on offer is also evidence of the room for variation within music itself. The focus can be on performance, theory, technology, or composition. In the University of Limerick, there are five Master programmes, one of which is entitled MA in Community Music.   This is a one-year full-time course that provides the skills and knowledge needed to forge a career as a successful musician or music administrator in community organisations. The course itself intends to develop abilities to facilitate the expression of work and talent effectively in a wide range of circumstances. Great emphasis is placed on performance and interaction within the curriculum. Graduates from this course are not pub singers or that guy on Grafton Street that warbles out of tune constantly. They tend to direct themselves towards careers in schools, multicultural arts groups, or arts councils.

Alternatively, UL’s MA in Classical String Performance provides students with the most advanced classical tuition possible in violin, viola, cello and double bass. For the more theoretical types there is the MA in Ethnomusicology, which focuses on analysing the place music has in culture – using critical theory from contexts such as anthropology and gender studies. The MA in Music Therapy seeks to educate and prepare students for the profession of the same name. Typical graduate career paths would include using music skills in therapeutic work while working in special schools, nursing homes and helping those with intellectual disabilities. A more exotic choice might be the MA in Ritual Chant & Song, which concentrates on Western plainchant as well as the relevant Irish traditional songs.

Other Music Courses

Maynooth University is another university renowned for its provision of music education at postgraduate level. The continual growth and position of information technology in music production has been recognised by the college with the inclusion of an MA in Creative Music Technologies, which explores the music applications of technology. Anyone who prefers the library to the computer lab might be more interested in the MA in Musicology, which is very research based. Those with a fondness for the stage will enjoy the MA in Performance & Musicology, which strives to juxtapose performance and practice with the theories governing musicology. All participants take part in a public recital at the end of the course.

Taught music courses available at Trinity College Dublin follow a similar theme. The MA in Music & Music Technology is based largely on the relationship between music and technology, and how the latter can help or hinder the growth of the medium. Trinity also provides an alternative for those who prefer to research the history and role of music with the existence of the MPhil in Musicology & Music Theory, which is critical and analytical in looking at historical case studies and contemporary theory. This programme can be likened to the MA in Musicology on offer at UCD where there is also a strong emphasis placed on research, but the load is lessened with an annual field trip to cultural locations such as Paris or Vienna.

Research Options

As far as research options go music lovers are well provided for at Dundalk IT where opportunities are available in Traditional Irish Music, Music Technology, Composition and Performance. Focus areas include Music Modelling and Audio Circuit Design. A  good example of a research project is a study of the tradition and innovation in the vocal music of Arnold Schoenberg. A more technical based project, which is ongoing, is the development of an automated flowchart generator for C-sound audio.

Career Opportunities

Careers in music are as diverse as the courses available. The most obvious question that needs to be addressed is exactly where your interests lie: on the stage, in the recording studio or in a library? One common characteristic no matter what your personal calling is a need for flexibility. There is a wealth of opportunities out there for those willing and able to be versatile in their careers.

The typical career paths can be divided into the creative, performance, production/direction, and teaching arenas; yet there are many possible diversions and combinations within this rough estimation. Due to the budget cutbacks affecting primary and secondary schools the provision of music education at Junior and Leaving Certificate level is certain to suffer. This will invariably cause restrictions on the number of music teachers employed in both areas, meaning that one very certain career path for music graduates might now face upheaval.

Alternative Paths

However, one way to avoid employment issues and to supplement income is by taking advantage of the hugely popular and well-paid option of giving home lessons. Non-qualified teachers claiming to be highly skilled plague this market, and the need for those with the requisite qualifications and teaching ability is higher than ever. Perhaps the most important consideration to bear in mind when choosing a postgraduate in music is the passion you are sure to have for it. The chance to study your obsession at such a focused level is an exhilarating opportunity and well worth the sacrifice of time and money.