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 langauge cCourses?

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.

According to the Education for Person’s with Special Education Needs (SEN) Act 2004, students are to be educated as far as possible in an inclusive environment in mainstream classrooms. Students with special needs may be educated in ordinary classes in mainstream schools or in smaller classes in mainstream schools with a low teacher-to-pupil ratio – including one-to-one settings and, in some cases, ‘special schools’ that are dedicated to educating those with special needs. All such instances require trained professionals to deliver lessons in the most suitable way for the individual student’s specific needs.

Special Educational Needs Qualifications

Special Educational Needs teachers are essential for the provision of learning support to those experiencing difficulty with the standard curriculum. All teachers receive some training in special education needs while completing the Postgraduate Diploma in Education; however, given the fact that mainstream schools often have students with special needs, completing a postgraduate course in Special Education Needs would be of benefit to any teacher, but would be especially so for those wishing to work solely as special educational needs teachers.

The importance of Inclusion

The increase and encouragement of inclusive education has meant that the number of students with special needs in mainstream education has grown. Past studies have shown that students educated in mainstream inclusive classrooms ‘show academic gains in a number of areas including improved performance on standardised tests … grades, on-task behaviour and motivation to learn’ (National Centre for Education Restructuring and Inclusion, 1995).

Students with many different special needs come through the mainstream education system. Some of the students may have reading difficulties such as dyslexia, while others may have autism or other behavioural or emotional difficulties. In some instances students may have average, or above average, intelligence and simply need to be taught in a way that is appropriate to them, while in other instances this may not be the case. Taking a Postgraduate Diploma in Special Education Needs gives student teachers an insight into how they should go about teaching those with special needs in the most effective way. It is a certainty that all teachers will, at some point in their careers, come into contact with pupils with different needs. Continued professional development is therefore extremely important in order for them to adapt to such an eventuality.

Courses Available

There are many different postgraduate SEN courses offered at numerous institutions and universities across Ireland. These courses are normally aimed at qualified teachers already in employment. For instance, Grad Dip Inclusive and Special Education, which is a one-year full-time programme. Support is available from the Department of Education and Science for qualified teachers who hold or are eligible to hold permanent teaching positions. This funding by the Department of Education and Science is offered so that a teacher who wishes to develop expertise in special needs education can have the opportunity to do so. There are a number of fee-paying places also reserved for suitably qualified graduate teachers who are not eligible for Department of Education and Science support.

University College Dublin also offers an MEd in Inclusive Education, which is a two-year part-time programme. Again, the programme is designed for teachers or other professionals involved in the education or care of persons with special educational needs. Maynooth University, together with Froebel College, operate a one-year part-time Postgraduate Diploma in Special Education Needs. This programme is designed for teachers working with pupils with a range of special education needs in mainstream primary, secondary and special school settings, and is compatible with full-time employment.

Other options in the area include DCU’s Grad Dip in Inclusive Education, Learning Support and Special Education. The course is aimed at teachers who are employed in a position funded by the Department of Education and Science who provide learning support and resource teaching at primary, post-primary and other recognised educational services. Another viable programme is NUI Galway and St Angela’s College Sligo’s one-year Postgraduate Diploma in Special Education. The course is delivered through a blend of online and face-to-face tutorials, along with supervised work in the teachers’ own schools or centres.

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Continuing professional development is essential for any teacher. Undertaking a postgraduate course in Special Education Needs will assist this professional development and help teachers and pupils alike to maximise their teaching and learning experience.

As we learn more about the impact of modern development and industry on the world around us, the need for better thought out environmental management becomes clear. With government and EU regulations and legislation increasing, businesses and organisations are increasingly requiring qualified people with environmental training. A number of third level and postgraduate courses have emerged to cater for this demand. Environmental studies and control is a relatively new discipline and requires the amalgamation of a variety of new and existing technical skills.


Each course you’ll apply for will differ with regards entry requirements. Generally, graduates with qualifications falling within the science and physical resources area are mostly welcome to submit applications. While candidates with relevant professional experience and qualifications might also be considered.

Courses Available

A post-secondary educational path in environmental studies has been available since the mid-seventies in Ireland; however, the plastic crisis and issues surrounding climate change has seen a surge in the number of programmes and specialties on offer. These include research and taught options, as well as full-time/part-time courses from level 8 through to Level 10.

Course modules can include Water Pollution Control, Air Pollution Control, Hazardous Waste Control, Noise and Vibration, Environmental Systems, Chemistry, Biology, Environmental Impact, Health and Safety Management, Law or Project Management. Also, you will most likely be required to submit a dissertation/thesis relating to your chosen subject area.

Why take a postgrad in Environmental Studies?

There are a lot of upsides if you’re considering postgraduate training in this field. While this professional arena is notoriously underpaid, if you work for the private sector there are plenty of fiscally beneficial roles out there. Also, a career focused on Environmental Science means you’ll have a rewarding job with your ultimate goal in supporting positive societal change. Plus, most jobs in this field will be both varied and interesting, and you will have plenty of opportunity to up-skill and travel.

Options for Progression

These postgraduate programmes are designed to provide graduates and technologists in industry and state bodies with useful and valuable technological and managerial skills – so those with postgraduate qualifications in environmental management and related areas shouldn’t be short of job options. Environmental management degree holders often work as specialists in public health, waste disposal, recycling, and pollution control.

Some environmental management experts work for government and regulatory authorities that investigate and prosecute companies that skirt environmental preservation regulations. A growing number of graduates actually work for companies that wish to prevent costly government actions by making sure they don’t break the rules. With concerns over pollution, global warming and corporate responsibility growing, and with EU and Irish government regulations becoming more stringent, environmental management looks set to continue as a growth area. One that is well worth considering for those interested in pursuing further study within the Agriculture, Environment, Food and Physical Resources sector.

It has not been an easy time for nurses in Ireland. With many of them forced to emigrate in order to secure get full-time employment, and those at home facing the imminent threat and ongoing discussion over cutbacks, it would be forgivable for there to be an air of hesitancy over entering the profession. However, for those currently employed as nurses, or those who have managed to acquire the required work experience, a postgraduate course can still exert a positive affect on career prospects.

Nurses can work in either the public or private healthcare sectors, but postgraduate education can also open doors in other arenas such as in childcare, healthcare sales and pharmaceuticals, to name but a few. In the current climate it is helpful to have relevant yet diverse skills and accreditation in areas such as paediatric nursing, midwifery and pubic health nursing. This can greatly add to a candidate’s employability and earning potential. An Bord Altranais, the regulatory body for nursing, continually recognises the absolute necessity of further education for advancing in the profession. The body’s primary duty is to promote high standards of professional education and any opportunities to develop, extend and strengthen the position of professional education.

Postgraduate Options Available

Most postgraduate options require that the candidate be a registered nurse and have requisite experience. One such specialist programme is the Higher Diploma in Children’s Nursing, which is a one-year full-time course for which any nurse registered in one of the four divisions RNID (Intellectual Disability), RPN (Psychiatric), RGN (General) or RM (Midwifery) may apply. Available from Trinity College and DCU, it provides qualified nurses with the essential skills to enable them to meet the changing healthcare needs of children and families. Upon successful completion of the course it is possible to register as a Children’s Nurse (RCN).

Midwifery is an extremely popular option for registered nurses looking to expand upon their skill set.  Providers of the Higher Diploma in Midwifery include Trinity College, NUI Galway, UL, UCC and UCD. The programme offers a year-long full-time graduate diploma course that is aimed at providing registered nurses and midwives with the opportunity to develop their existing professional education, along with their evidence-based practice/research abilities, knowledge, skills, and attitudes in preparation for professional role enhancement within nursing/midwifery. Applicants should possess a primary degree and be on the appropriate register maintained by the NMBI.

Oncology Training

One of the growing areas of specialisation is Oncology (cancer care) nursing, which at NUIG is taught through a ‘blended learning approach’, whereby students first access lectures, reading material, activities and discussion online and then come to the university for two-day workshops on each module studied during the programme. The course can be taken over one year full time, or as a part time option over the course of two years.

Course Director Dr Maura Dowling describes cancer care as an area that has undergone ‘huge changes. . . and nurses are needed to implement these changes. Oncology nurses have to be scientifically minded to deal with the areas of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, but they also need to be excellent communicators in order to treat cancer patients. The students who do best are those who relate theory to practice. Some of our students wouldn’t have a degree and would have entered the programme through completing a qualifier essay. But these students tend to have had many years of experience in cancer wards. They’ve seen it all, and we really value that’.

Qualifications Available

In most cases it is possible to progress to a Masters (MSc) once the higher/graduate diploma has been completed. The MSc prepares students for more advanced roles in leadership, as well as serving to improve their research skills by undertaking a dissertation in their chosen area of specialisation. Trinity College’s MSc in Gerontological Nursing, for example, seeks to answer the needs of an ageing society where proper care of the elderly must be prioritised. This two-year course (part time) is open to registered nurses who have attained both a degree and possess relevant professional experience. Students will receive instruction in the concepts and practice behind gerontological nursing and will develop an awareness of the ageing process. They will also study the ethics and laws that govern healthcare. In the second year, they will complete a dissertation of between 20, 000 and 25,000 words in length.

Why Choose Nursing Courses?

But, what are the benefits of pursuing an area of specialisation over a general nursing role? Generally speaking, it allows students to develop skills that are not taught in undergraduate programmes, and thus lead to an increased chance to finding work in a specialised field. Indeed, specialised skills, allied with an entrepreneurial spirit, can often lead to the creation of niche roles for patient needs that may yet have to be met.

If you are considering studying English at postgraduate level then there is no need for us to rhapsodise on its inherent, intangible virtues; the chances are you are already well aware of them.  

English Studies at Postgraduate Level

What does need to be said, however, is that the demands of studying English at postgraduate level are far greater than they are during the undergraduate stage. For one thing, students are expected to leaven their natural enthusiasm with scholarly equanimity, applying more independent, analytic and creative thought processes to their work. Moreover, as postgraduate degrees tend to be narrower in scope – and therefore far more in-depth in their treatment of topics – it is important that students opt for an area of study for which they have a genuine passion.

Range of courses

Fortunately, the subject range within English is broad, which means there should be something to accommodate all tastes. Perennial favourites include English (general), Creative Writing, Comparative Literature, and Drama and Theatre, all of which are run by a number of colleges as taught programmes. These generally follow a similar structure to undergraduate degrees in that they are delivered through class-based lectures and are assessed through a combination of essays (usually between 3, 000 to 5, 000 words in length) and exams.

Where they differ noticeably is in their teaching approach; for instance, classes are much smaller, meaning that the learning experience is a more intimate one with discussion playing a vital role in the development of students’ ideas. Such interactions often affect the shape of students’ theses topics, which represent another key component of postgraduate study. A dissertation accounts for a major portion of a student’s overall degree grade and acts as a barometer for assessing his/her ability to carry out independent research, as well as his/her capacity to critically engage with, organise and articulate research findings.


Taught programmes are normally full time and of a year’s duration (note that part-time courses usually extend to two years). Thanks to the variety of courses on offer, students may elect to refine their knowledge of Ireland’s literary heritage (e. g. UCC’s MA in Irish Writing – Theories and Traditions) or get to grips with broader international perspectives (e. g. Maynooth University’s MA in Postcolonial and World Literature); they may focus on literature in a more general sense (e. g. UCD’s Modernity, Literature and Culture) or on the history and development of a particular genre (e. g. MA in Children’s Literature – available from Trinity College Dublin, or as a two-year part-time option from St Patrick’s College Drumcondra).

While students are required to stay within the confines of their chosen field, they are also afforded the freedom to focus on more specific subject matter from the wide array of selected course texts. A big advantage of this format is the presence of seminars, which greatly assist postgraduate students by providing guidance, and by instilling discipline and motivation.


Those who feel that they are already in possession of such qualities may be interested in enrolling on a research programme. In order to obtain an MLitt research degree, a student must produce an original piece of research or criticism, which should be approximately 60, 000 words in length – the result of two years’ labour.

A PhD demands even greater academic rigour and self-motivation: the thesis at this level – which can be up to 100, 000 words long – must be a worthy addition to the collective body of knowledge on the particular topic in question. Anyone considering this option should be aware that it is an onerous undertaking, lasting for up to four years. However, students are not entirely alone in the endeavour, as a supervisor will be assigned to guide them, Virgil-like, through their research.

Career Progression

Employment opportunities for taught and research English postgraduates are diverse. Graduates (generally of research degrees) often take up academic positions, but other established career paths include journalism, research, publishing and marketing. The research skills honed and developed over the course of a programme are valued in any industry; and it will be apparent to a prospective employer that the student is capable, organised, motivated and, of course, an eloquent communicator.

On a final note, conversion courses allow those without a background in English, or those who do not have an honours degree, to study the subject at postgraduate level. The Higher Diploma in Arts at UCC (taken either as a one-year full-time or a two-year part-time option) covers important elements of undergraduate English degree programmes, thereby providing students with the foundational knowledge necessary for further study.

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Whether looking at taught, research or conversion programmes you can browse options for studying English at postgraduate level on

A large factor in the continued growth of the Irish economy has been the major developments in the flourishing science and technology-based industries. Ireland is a key global location for these industries. The ICT industry employs over 37,000 people and generates €35 billion in exports annually. Meanwhile, Ireland is the largest MedTech employer in Europe; this sector employs over 25,000 people directly, and a further 25,000 are employed providing services to the sector.

The government is keen to encourage people to enter careers in the science and technology sectors. It has introduced a number of initiatives to achieve this goal, notably the Irish Council for Science, Technology and Innovation (ICSTI) and Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), which are committed to providing the necessary structures and funding to educational institutions to ensure Ireland remains a global player in these areas. This means that career opportunities in the science and technology sectors show no sign of slowing down, which is good news for anyone considering the addition of a postgraduate qualification in a science, mathematics or technology discipline to their CV.

Entry Requirements

Most postgraduate courses in the science, mathematics and technology areas require at least a second-class honours primary degree for entry.  There are also postgraduate options available for graduates of other disciplines. Some of these postgraduate programmes function as conversion courses. Relevant professional experience can be useful to help secure a place on a postgraduate course. Students should also demonstrate an interest in their chosen area of research.

Courses Available

There is an array of postgraduate options on offer to the interested graduate pertaining to science, mathematics, and technology. Taught postgraduate courses are available in traditional core subjects such as maths, physics, chemistry and biology, as well as in topical areas of interest such as plasma technology and organic chemistry. Postgraduate courses that focus on different areas and subspecialties of biology and chemistry such as biotechnology and microbiology are also available. Other courses include earth sciences subjects such as geographical analysis.

The pharmaceutical sector is very strong in Ireland at the moment, and that is reflected in the number and scope of pharmacy-related postgraduate courses available at Irish universities. The different specialisations within the pharmaceuticals discipline include quality assurance, compounds analysis, and chemical process technology. Technology and telecommunications is also an important area of study at postgraduate level. Course options include communications systems theory and virtual realities.

Research Areas

Science and Technology offer the research student a wealth of research possibilities. Many third-level institutions have developed expertise in different areas, and there are dedicated research centres at colleges throughout the country. Prospective students may also be able to take advantage of scholarship and graduate-training opportunities through collaborations with locally based companies.

The subjects of pharmaceuticals, biology, biotechnology, chemistry, and biochemistry are very strong possibilities for postgraduate researchers at present. Many institutions have close links with the R&D departments of local and global organisations that fund research programmes at Irish universities. The earth sciences are also ripe with postgraduate research potential. Postgraduate researchers get the opportunity to look for ways to protect the earth in tremendously diverse areas such as aquatic ecology, atmospheric physics & climatology, and botany.

Much of the most cutting-edge telecommunications research in the world is emerging from Irish university and research institute laboratories. Possibilities for research include multimedia and telecommunications.

Career Paths

Careers based around science and technology have seen a massive boom in the last ten years or so, and jobs are plentiful. Multinational pharmaceutical, chemical, and biotechnology companies have been attracted to Ireland and recruitment in these areas show no sign of slowing down. Many colleges and universities have established links with industry and business, and many companies recruit straight from graduate programmes.

Jobs in education and research provide well-established career options. Also, as these specialised industries are expanding in Ireland, a corresponding demand for researchers, experienced scientists and technologists has arisen in academia. Other career paths include IT, business, agriculture & food, insurance, banking & finance, the environment, logistics, the civil service, conservation and many, many more.

The construction and engineering industries have been among the most significant contributors to the growth in the Irish economy in recent years through employment, export and output. These sectors have undergone a massive transformation and have played a huge part in transforming Ireland into an advanced nation at the cutting-edge of technological, engineering and manufacturing developments and change.

Construction and Engineering in Ireland

Ireland’s manufacturing industries have adapted well to globalisation. While Ireland accounts for just 1 percent of the EU’s population, it receives 25 percent of US investment in the manufacturing industry in Europe. The development of high-value, knowledge-intensive jobs in areas such as software, medical devices, engineering, food, and biotechnology have helped fuel the growth in our economy in recent years. With government investment pouring in to improve Ireland’s infrastructure, the construction industry is enjoying a period of unprecedented growth.

With new technologies and techniques constantly evolving in the engineering and construction industries, it is important that Ireland stays ahead by keeping up-to-date with changes and advances in these industries. It is, therefore, welcome news that there has been a parallel expansion in the number of postgraduate courses available in these subjects.

Entry Requirements

Most postgraduate courses in the construction and engineering fields require at least a second-class honours primary degree. Relevant professional experience can help. There are concerns within the construction and engineering sectors that not enough people are pursuing studies in the areas for the economy to continue its present rate of development. Therefore, attractive incentives and schemes are in place to persuade graduates to remain within these areas.

Courses Available

Postgraduate programmes are available in all of the traditional areas such as the various engineering, manufacturing and architectural disciplines, as well as in subjects like technology safety and ergonomics. Architecture is a prime area for postgraduate study. Course options range from specific professional practice areas to more general planning and landscape management disciplines.

Mechanical engineering and other physical manufacturing topics are traditionally a strong area of postgraduate specialisation and are no less important today. The biological and chemical engineering fields are also major areas for postgraduate study, bringing together the worlds of engineering and science. Course options include bioengineering, chemical engineering, and pharmaceutical manufacturing technology.

Computing and IT developments have also played a key role in the recent growth of the engineering and manufacturing sector – postgraduate programmes which reflect this include computer integrated manufacturing, computer-aided engineering product design, and engineering computation.

Research Areas

There is a wide range of subject options available to potential postgraduate research students of construction and engineering disciplines. Many third-level institutions have developed expertise in different areas, and there are dedicated research centres at colleges throughout the country. Prospective students may also be able to take advantage of scholarship and graduate-training opportunities through collaborations with locally based companies.

Architecture, planning and urban development are very important areas for postgraduate research. Postgraduate research opportunities also appear in the civil engineering and construction management areas as well as bioengineering and chemical engineering. Electronic and electrical engineering fields provide rich pickings for postgraduate researchers.

Irish third-level institutions host a wide range of postgraduate research in the areas of mechanical and materials engineering, as well as related manufacturing subjects. Potential projects can be drawn from the areas of aeronautical engineering, automation & control, materials science, and thermofluids. Industrial and computer design programmes also open up postgraduate research opportunities.

Career Paths

There is a diverse range of career paths possible for those with postgraduate qualifications in construction and engineering-related subjects. The construction industry is presently booming and there remain plenty of openings for qualified engineers of all specialities, quantity surveyors and architects. Graduates with postgraduate qualifications can move quickly into senior project management positions. There are also plenty of openings in bioengineering, chemical engineering and electronic and mechanical engineering.

Close links have been built up between university research departments and indigenous and multinational companies, which can aid the career prospects of those with postgraduate qualifications. There have been recent development in the environmental science, urban planning and conservation areas. Graduates in architecture and engineering areas can find employment in these areas with both public and private organisations. Education and research provide well-established career options.

Also, as the construction and engineering industries in Ireland become more specialised, a corresponding demand for researchers, experienced engineers and technologists has arisen in academia.

Postgraduate History courses require a greater degree of intellectual engagement than do their undergraduate precursors. This is because most programmes operate on the assumption that students are driven by a desire to deepen their historical knowledge as much as by the ambition to secure employment in a related field upon completing the course.

Why Study History?

Of course this is not to suggest that History courses are not of great practical utility – indeed, they encourage the development of numerous skills that are deemed to be invaluable by many employers: the ability to conduct complex independent research; to display well-developed powers of interpretation, deliberation, and critical analysis; and to articulate arguments and findings in a thorough and coherent way. There is also the sense of context and understanding that comes from studying the subject.

Moreover, much of the knowledge that a History course imparts can, in a sense, be converted into economic capital. After all, acknowledging our cultural and natural heritage is often the basis for future development, and preserving that heritage is essential not only so that we can establish a sense of personal and national context, but also because it acts as a major incentive for tourism in this country, which is an important source of employment here.

History Courses Available

One course that deals directly with the management of cultural heritage is Trinity College Dublin’s MPhil in Public History and Cultural Heritage (one-year full time, two years part-time). The programme examines the notion of ‘cultural heritage’: how it can be defined, shaped, and the policy consequences of its different definitions. The course is run in collaboration with several cultural institutions (i. e. libraries, museums, galleries) and so students will have the chance to undertake a short work placement with one of the participating bodies. While not strictly vocational in nature, the programme provides training in curatorial theory and in delivering web- and media-based projects in the field. Applicants should possess an upper-honours degree in a related subject (e. g. History, Philosophy, Language, Literature) or have relevant professional experience.

Maynooth University MA

Maynooth University’s Masters in European History (full time, one year) presents another interesting option. Students on this programme will examine the wider debates in European history and complete a minor research thesis in conjunction with taught modules. MA participants are also encouraged to collaborate with fellow postgraduates and departmental staff at social occasions, seminars, and conferences. There are limited opportunities for well-qualified candidates to act as a tutor in the undergraduate programme, enabling them to gain valuable teaching experience.

Other Options

More general History courses are available from colleges throughout the country (e. g. UCD, UCC, Mary Immaculate College etc. ), each with their own key areas of study. The revised MA in History at NUI Galway (one year full time), for instance, allows students to choose from among modules such Studies in Local History, Studies in Oral History and Conceptions of Wealth and Poverty in the Early Modern World; while module options on UL’s MA in History programme include History of the European Idea and American Foreign Relations.

Programmes dedicated to Medieval studies are provided by NUI Galway, UCD, Mary Immaculate College, Maynooth University and Trinity College. Latin and paleography (the ability to read and interpret ancient texts – two key skills for study of the Medieval and Renaissance ages) are normally included on such courses. Taught modules and research topics can vary hugely in a subject that spans from Iceland to the Crusader kingdoms of the Middle East, from the fall of the Roman Empire to the beginnings of Reformation. Many graduates of such courses go on to pursue MLitt or PhD degrees. However, completing a PhD is not a prerequisite for students interested in other careers such as archival, museum or heritage industry work, or traditional areas of graduate employment such as business, teaching and law.

Art History

The History of Art is very much a related area and an established discipline in its own right, with postgraduate courses available from UCD (one year full time), UL (one year full time) and UCC (one year full time or two years part-time). Students will examine works of art and architecture and explore their relationship with notions of identity. Potential careers for students include working in galleries, museums, academia, arts administration, as well as art journalism and managing art collections.

Archaeology is another branch of history that is well catered for at postgraduate level. Courses are available from UCD, NUI Galway, and UCC – with all three universities providing Higher Diploma entry for applicants without a primary degree in the subject. Courses include fieldwork and theoretical study as well as the option to choose from specialised modules such as Celtic Archaeology, ICT for Archaeologists and Art & Ritual in Prehistoric Europe. For those with a more advanced knowledge in the subject, there are taught and research master’s degrees available. Research courses allow students to investigate a highly specialised area (e. g. Bronze Age settlements in a particular geographic area), while taught masters provide the necessary professional skills (e. g. project management, GIS) for a career in archaeology.

Almost 50 per cent of all postgraduate students at Irish universities are studying part-time. This includes mature students, who decide to return to education at different stages of their careers, as well as students who have just graduated from their primary degree, and don’t want to commit to a further year studying full-time.

Part-time postgraduate study is so widespread because of the many other competing pressures on the time of people considering postgraduate study. Family commitments, work obligations and mortgage or rent payments can all mean that attending classes full time is not an option. Universities and colleges are well aware of this and offer a wide range of flexible and part-time options at postgraduate level.

Part-time taught and research postgraduate courses

Taught postgraduate courses generally take place in the evenings, and are spread over two years. Research courses can be even more flexible. Some research supervisors will give students the responsibility to design their own schedules. Many employers are willing to be flexible if their staff wish to improve their skills and qualifications by taking a postgraduate course. Some companies give extra time off, and others will even help pay course fees, if the subject is relevant and useful to their business.

Block release

Block release – where you attend full-time classes for a set number of weeks a couple of times a year – is another option. Distance and online learning are both increasingly popular. While part-time study is a very powerful and useful option, it is still important to keep in mind that committing to a college or university course is a big step, very different to a nightcourse in Mediterranean cookery or photography. It can be difficult to hit the books after a hard day at work, but you will have to do exactly that on a regular basis. You will need to dedicate a substantial amount of time to your studies to be successful, and this will inevitably eat into your leisure and personal time.

Part-Time Postgraduate Study: the Importance of Balance

Life doesn’t just stop while you are studying, and you will need the support of those close to you to make it work. It is usually a good idea to discuss your plans with your family and friends before embarking on a course of study. But achieving a postgrad qualification wouldn’t be worth doing if it were easy. Success on a part-time postgraduate course can require a good deal of determination and self-motivation. However with the support of the college, and the people around you, a part-time postgraduate course can work out just fine.

Click here to learn more about the financial supports available.

Find out about the different awards and qualifications here.

We’ve compiled some handy tips to help you balance your budget as a postgraduate student.

There is a wide variety of postgraduate qualifications available from Irish universities and other third-level institutions, each with potential pros and cons for different students. This section contains information on general entry requirements, typical course durations, and the modes of delivery and assessment for different kinds of qualification. Prospective students should bear in mind that it is possible to progress up the ladder to a PhD regardless of the level of entry.

Postgraduate Certificates and Diplomas

Postgraduate certificates and diplomas usually last for one academic year. They tend to be vocational in content, and can often act as conversion courses for those who have no prior knowledge of a subject matter. Certificates tend to be more intensive than diplomas, and students may move onto a diploma course after completing their certificate programme. Examples include the Higher Diploma in Education, the Postgraduate Certificate in Business Studies and the Higher Diploma in IT.

  • Entry – Primary degree or other undergraduate qualification. Some courses accept related work experience
  • Duration – One year full-time or two years part-time
  • Delivery – Mixture of taught classes and practical and project work
  • Assessment –  Mixture of exams and continuous assessment
  • Progression – Students can often transfer onto a Masters course upon completion of their graduate certificate.

Taught Masters Degrees

Taking a Masters degree involves studying an academic subject in depth. Students generally choose to take a Masters in an area related to their primary degree, although this is not always the case. There are a number of different types of Masters postgraduate award. The most common are Master of Arts (MA) and Master of Sciences (MSc). Other qualifications available include the Master of Business Administration (MBA), the Master of Laws (LLM) and the Master of Engineering (ME).

  • Entry –  Undergraduate degree or transfer from postgraduate certificate or diploma programme
  • Duration –  One year full-time or two years part-time
  • Delivery – Lectures, seminars and tutorials throughout the year
  • Assessment –  Projects/papers during term-time, written (and in some cases oral) exams at certain times throughout the year, with a thesis generally submitted at the end of the course
  • Progression –  Normally the end of the road for taught classes, but students who attain good honours results can continue their studies through research to MPhil or PhD programmes.

Research Masters Degrees

For a research Masters programme, the student does not attend any classes or sit any exams; everything is geared toward the submission of a research project at the end of the course. A programme of study is devised in association with the students’ professor or supervisor, who provides guidance and advice during regular meetings. Students generally choose to take a Masters in an area related to their primary degree, although not always. There are a number of different types of postgraduate award. The most common are Master of Arts (MA) and Master of Sciences (MSc), but other qualifications available include the Master of Literature (MLitt), the Master of Laws (LLM) and the Master of Engineering (ME).

  • Entry – Undergraduate degree
  • Duration –  Typically one or two years, depending on the research topic chosen and the motivation of the student
  • Delivery – Generally all research, but in some cases students may be required to attend classes
  • Assessment –  Research project submitted at the end of the course
  • Progression – On completion of a research Masters, students who receive a good honours result can apply to transfer onto an MPhil or PhD programme

Master of Philosophy

The Master of Philosophy (MPhil) is a special type of programme that can last longer than other Masters programmes – two years is the norm. The MPhil is usually research-based, although some do include taught elements, and it is pitched at a higher standard than MA or MSc awards. Students carry out supervised research in their chosen topic (which doesn’t have to be Philosophy) and produce a substantial thesis at the end of the course. MPhil students would typically intend to progress on to a PhD.

  • Entry – Good undergraduate or Masters degree
  • Duration – Typically two years
  • Delivery –  Mixture of taught and research or purely research
  • Assessment – Generally a research project, sometimes with an oral exam
  • Progression – MPhil students are typically planning to progress on to a PhD

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

The PhD is the highest academic degree awarded. Traditionally, it means that the candidate has reached a sufficient standard to be accepted into academia. The PhD is the most common type of doctorate, although there are others available – including the Doctor of Laws (LLD) and Doctor of Letters (DLitt). Most doctorates are completed by research and candidates are generally required to produce a substantial dissertation, which must make a definite contribution (however modest) to human knowledge. Many colleges require students to defend their work in front of a panel of experts, a process known as ‘viva voce’. Honourary doctorates, typically awarded to celebrities like Roy Keane or Bob Geldof, do not require this vigorous defence and do not carry the same weight of respect in academia.

  • Entry – Most PhD students will possess a good Masters degree. Progression from MPhil and research Masters programmes is common. Less usual, but not unheard of, is the progression of students moving straight from a Bachelors degree onto a PhD
  • Duration –  Depends on the topic chosen and the motivation of the student, but three to four years full-time or five to six years part-time is a typical duration
  • Delivery – Research
  • Assessment – Thesis and sometimes an oral exam
  • Progression –  Post-doctorate research

Important to note: These guidelines are indicative only. Course characteristics can vary from discipline to discipline and from institution to institution. The only way to be sure is to contact the individual school hosting the course.

Artists and musicians have long been among the most popular and respected members of Irish society. Ordinary people rely on artists and musicians to brighten up their lives. Art and music transcend boundaries on all levels – geographical, cultural, social, economic and political – and the artistic expression and musical creativity of a nation can have a direct impact on its social and political spheres.

Though it can be hard to break into the world of creative arts – and even harder to obtain a well-paid career in the industry – the pursuit to succeed can be just as rewarding for individuals in this area as the success itself. Thus, those who have the talent and are willing to put in the time and effort required should not give up on their dream. Many are called, but few are chosen. And those who are chosen usually go down in history. Taking a creative arts course at postgraduate level gives the student time and space to hone their skills, receive expert guidance and tuition, meet other like-minded artists, and open up opportunities that can lead to a creatively rewarding and fulfilling creative arts career.

Entry Requirements

Entry onto a postgraduate course in the creative arts field is usually reliant on the candidate already having an undergraduate degree in their chosen discipline. On very few occasions, an artist who can demonstrate an exceptional skill or proficiency might be accepted, but this does not happen often. Most courses will ask for a demonstration of your ability in advance – by submission of portfolio, by performance, or by interview. The standard required at postgraduate level is often very high, and competition for places on courses can be tough. References from previous lecturers are usually also required.

Courses Available

Postgraduate courses are available in all of the many and varied artistic disciplines. The different fine arts disciplines provide many options for postgraduate study – from ceramics to fashion design, design communication, and sculpture. More theoretical subjects such as art history and visual communication are also offered at various third-level institutions around the country. Music provides rich pickings for postgraduate students, with a large number of different specialities and options available – everything from composition to performance, Irish traditional and technology. Drama and dance courses are also on offer in specialised postgraduate departments.

Potential postgraduate writers also have a number of different options, such as journalism and creative writing. Students more interested in analysing the media can choose from disciplines like film & television or media studies. Creative postgraduates with the technical skills and interests can look to postgraduate opportunities which feature new media technology. Irish third-level institutions offer programmes from multimedia systems to TV & video production.

Research Areas

The creative arts offer the postgraduate research student many options. Individual students can undertake research projects in many facets of the different disciplines and add to the existing body of work already undertaken with their own personal stance. Some research programmes at postgraduate level in creative arts subjects can include a taught element, where students learn skills such as research methods, business or IT subjects, which will be useful for their particular research project and their future career prospects. Creative arts postgraduate research students are usually assessed by a final project, which is submitted at the end of the course. If the student is concentrating on the history or theory of their particular subject they may deliver a written thesis, while others may produce a performance or work of art as the culmination of their project.

Career Paths

Job prospects in the creative arts can be unpredictable and postgraduate courses do not serve as apprenticeships for career paths in the way that accountancy and IT courses do. However, they do give a solid grounding in the chosen subject, allowing the student to concentrate full-time on their art, writing or music. The university sector is always important for nurturing and developing creative talent. Taking a postgraduate course can keep you within a structure, such as moving onto a PhD and possibly even into teaching, which can help creative artists reach their full potential. Other ways of making money in the creative arts sector include royalties and advances from publishers, paid employment as freelance writers/artists, cash prizes from competitions, and bursaries from organisations.

Project management involves the planning, organisation and management of time, labour, budget and resources (employees, software, building materials, etc), in order to achieve a clearly defined goal (e. g. launching a new product, erecting a building). All project management programmes are part time and are typically aimed at current professionals with leadership responsibilities, or those who hope to move into such a role.

Project Management Courses

When it comes to course content. what you’ll be learning will be heavily geared towards the workplace. This discipline is closely associated with, and originally developed from, heavy industry and construction. Engineering, architects and quantity surveyors who are seeking to develop their project management skills are therefore well catered for, with three part time programmes are available from Waterford IT (MSc), DIT (MSc) and Trinity College (PDip). The DIT programme provides expertise in the all-round business skills (leadership, strategic management, etc) that would one expect from the world’s leading business qualification, as well as modules aimed specifically at construction project management. The other two programmes focus exclusively on project management in the construction sphere with modules on issues such as people management, IT, and the legal aspects of construction. Interested parties, who require the financial support of their employer toward fees, would be well advised to clearly identify the benefits to the company of your enrolling before approaching the boss.

Room for Expansion

Project management qualifications are a key requirement of construction managers. However recent years has seen the discipline, with its highly desirable traits of controlled budgets and effective outcomes, become more and more popular across other sectors of the economy. Project management has become a vital asset in the finance, Information Technology, manufacturing, and healthcare worlds. At the moment, each of these sectors is presently doing very well. A strong CV and training in this area means you will be highly employable when you graduate.

Is Project Management right for you?

Before blindly devoting a year (or two, or three) of your life to postgraduate studies in project management, there are a few things to consider. Certain personality traits and tendencies are of great benefit in this line of work – and some are not. As a project manager, you are responsible for the minutia of an entire project’s process. It will be your role to look at which skillsets are required for the project, and work within the constraints of a budget. You’ll be leading meetings and tracking the progress of every stage of the work. Troubleshooting is an integral part of the job; you’ll be dealing with issues and deadlines and should be able to handle pressure.

Timekeeping is also very important. A working knowledge of schedules is absolutely vital, especially when it comes to ensuring that the work is completed within the timeframe required. You have to, not only be good at dealing with people, but also maintain a forensic level degree of attention to detail. While a postgraduate course in project management will provide you will with the tools and knowledge you need to succeed in this field, you have to question if this is a role you will enjoy and excel in. Not everyone is suited to a job like this or the responsibility that goes along with it.

Career Progression

Because each project is different, the position of project manager varies on job to job. Many people find themselves in another field and project management is only one facet of their duties. For instance, you could be working in a tech company and overseeing the day to day running of staff as well as one focused project.

If you are interested in a career in project management, a postgraduate qualification is your first port of call. Depending on the type of and size of the project, there are a number of entry level job titles. Project Coordinator is generally an administrative position where you create and distribute reports to the project team, and work under management. You could be a Project Scheduler, which is a title that mostly only exists on big projects. You would use specialist software and input data / update files. Other roles include Project Administrator, where you might only work on one project; a Project Support Officer where you would be a direct assistant to a PM; a Project Planner; a Project Controller (mainly in construction and engineering) is slightly more senior and assists with administration; and a Document Controller is someone looks after the management of the paperwork in regards to a team.