Your Part-Time Postgraduate Study Options Explained

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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.


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