What is a Postgraduate programme?
A postgraduate programme, commonly known as a graduate programme in the United States, is an advanced degree programme of study undertaken after the Bachelor degree programme. The most common postgraduate programmes include Postgraduate Diplomas, Master’s and PhD (Doctorate) Degrees.
All levels of educational attainment in Ireland are classified within the National Framework of Qualifications.
Postgraduate Diploma (Level 9)
A Postgraduate Diploma programme is commonly offered at universities in Ireland, the United Kingdom as well as many countries that follow the British tradition of higher education including Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Postgraduate Diplomas are normally one year in duration and generally have a more vocational or professional focus than other forms of postgraduate degrees.
Master’s Degree (Level 9)
There are two types of Masters degree programmes offered at Irish universities; Taught Master’s and Research Master’s. Both versions are considered of equal academic level within the National Framework of Qualifications.
Taught Master’s (Level 9)
A Taught Master’s degree normally lasts one year (12 months) and consists of lectures, tutorials and coursework over two semesters followed by a research project.
Research Master’s (Level 9)
Research Master’s degrees usually take a minimum of two years and involve working on a piece of original research under faculty supervision, culminating in the writing of a thesis. A Research Master’s may suit a student interested in a career as a researcher or someone who enjoys working independently.
Doctoral (Level 10)
Doctoral (PhD) programmes usually take four years to complete and involve undertaking sustained original research under faculty supervision before presenting a thesis for assessment. Structured PhD programmes also include a significant amount of professional and general skills training in addition to research.
How long does it take?
Postgraduate programmes vary in length. A Postgraduate Diploma usually takes 12 months, as do most Taught Master’s degrees. A Research Master’s may take two or three years however a PhD usually takes a minimum of 4 years.
What are the entry requirements?
Entry requirements for postgraduate programmes vary, however an good undergraduate degree in a relevant subject is normally the minimum requirement to be considered for admission. Certain programmes, known as conversion programmes, are open to students from a wider range of academic backgrounds.
Irish universities do not usually require standardized tests, such as the LSAT, GRE or GMAT etc. Instead, your applications are assessed based on the applicant’s undergraduate record, as well as their references and personal statement.
What is the cost?
Tuition fees also vary, however funding in the form of scholarships is generally more widely available for research students, i.e. those Research Master’s and PhD programmes. Research students should contact the relevant College or School of the University for more details on funding opportunities.
How do I apply?
Applications for all postgraduate programmes are made online via the Postgraduate Applications Centre (PAC) at http://www.pac.ie. The online form is easy to use and you will be guided through the system step-by-step. Applicants may apply for up to three taught programmes OR three research programmes when making an application to NUI Galway via PAC.