It is worth noting that there are many opportunities to undertake post-graduate and doctoral courses abroad. Those proving most popular are where the universitites are hungriest for native English speakers, for example: the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Germany.
In Denmark and Sweden you will have no fees to pay and in some countries where there are fees very often you can apply to the government for financial assistance.
There are also approximately 1,700 institutions open to students who wish to study in the US. In order to apply for courses and funding in the States you need to network and be proactive as possible. Many lectures and professors in Irish universities may have spent time in the US and therefore know people you can help you. It is recommended to start an application process to the US at least 18 months in advance.
You should also visit Graduate Career Fairs, particularly those aimed at postgraduate study.
You should be aware that applying to study abroad can be time consuming. It requires a lot of preparation and you will need to begin the process at least 18 months before the date you intent to start your postgrad programme.
Closing dates for application will typically fall early in the final year of your undergraduate programme, around October. Closing dates for colleges in the US are in December.
Factors to consider:
- Subject choice
- Entry requirements
- Reputation of institution
- Reputation of course supervisor
- Personal preference
- Potential funding sources
See also: Funding for postgraduate study
Some tips for researching your options, if you are thinking of postgraduate study abroad.
- Do your research carefully. The internet is a great place to start, but not the only source of information available.
- Try to find someone in your university of choice with knowledge of the course. This might be a tutor, careers adviser or former student. Initiate e-mail contact.
- Where possible, visit the institutions whose courses appeal to you. It will help you to get a feel for the university, the department and the course, and you may well have an opportunity to meet staff and current students.
- Investigate the career destinations of graduates from any course you are interested in, to see where it might take you.
- Check if you need relevant work experience before starting your course. It may be a vital supplement to your study in order to gain new experience and contextualise what you have learnt. Thinking ahead will broaden your options and avoid a last minute panic!
- Find out how the institution supports part time students. Part time study can be a great way of combining learning and work, and may help you to offset some of the costs of further study.
- Research the employment areas you are interested in. You may find that the course doesn't necessarily increase your attractiveness to an employer. For example, they may not differentiate between candidates who apply with a first degree or with a masters.
- Remember that further study is unlikely to buy you much more time to consider your options. One year courses in particular can be very pressurised. Students often have to begin applying for jobs in the autumn term, when they are still settling in!
Don’t assume that any course of study will make you the ideal candidate for a job or career. You will have to show employers what you have learnt and how it is relevant to their needs.