Graduate programmes are offered at Irish Universities and Institutes of Technology across the fields of: Education; Services; Arts and Humanities; Social Sciences, Journalism and Information; Business, Administration and Law; Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Statistics; ICT; Engineering, Manufacturing and Construction; Health and Welfare. Courses available to postgrad students range from History and Irish traditional music, to computer science and international management.
Source: HEA, Key Facts and Figures 2014/15
Most Postgraduate courses have a focus on helping graduates to specialise in their chosen fields and on gaining an edge in the jobs market.
Did you know ...
According to the European Commission, 80 million jobs will be created in Europe over the next 10 years and seven million of those will be in new technologies.
In recent years, third-level colleges have also responded to the demand for career-focused courses that allow graduates in one discipline to “convert” their skills, knowledge and experience to a new industry or profession.
The variety of conversion courses available today is quite extensive. Courses can be found in journalism, media and communications, health therapies, librarianship, psychology, social work, social policy, science and technology.
Postgraduate Conversion Courses
Many graduates opt to do postgrad conversion courses in a completely different field to their undergraduate degree, using the opportunity as a springboard to a more vocational or specialised area. Typically, these are one-year taught courses. They are available in most subject areas, with many available in business subjects (such as HR and marketing), arts and humanities, IT and finance. They can be the first step in a postgraduate degree process or standalone qualifications and are highly valued by employers.
If you feel you didn’t reach full potential at undergraduate level, a conversion course can offer a chance to redress the balance. Follow the links for the various fields below for more information on Conversion Courses in that area.
Postgraduate study opportunities in education include Educational Management and Leadership, Educational Psychology, Educational Science. Since all teaching jobs require a teaching qualification, this tends to be the most popular postgraduate training destination. Specialist teaching qualifications are available in Career Guidance, Special Needs Education, Religion and Pastoral Care. TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) is also a popular choice for graduates who plan to travel.
Convert to Teaching - The Postgraduate Application Centre (PAC) is a central application centre for postgrad teaching programmes. It processes applications for the new two-year professional master’s in education (PME) (The PME replaced the one-year H. Dip from September 2014).
Graduates of many disciplines can do a teaching postgrad, but check your primary degree meets the entry requirements for your proposed teaching subjects (Visit the Teaching Council for full details).
Note: To teach in Northern Ireland, you need a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE).
Source: What do graduates do? (HEA, May 2016) - First destination trends for Postgraduate Diploma (Primary Level) and PDE (Second Level).
ARTS AND HUMANITIES
Postgraduate options in Arts and Humanities are vast. Opportunities range from journalism to PR to social work. Professions such as psychology and social work require a postgraduate qualification as a prerequisite. Other postgraduate options may include programmes that fuse the arts with sciences - music and media technologies or science communication. See Researching Postgraduate Progammes for links to individual college postgraduate options.
|Conversion to Arts & Humanities - Conversion courses can be found in journalism, media and communications, health therapies, librarianship, psychology, social work, and social policy among others.
BUSINESS AND ADMINISTRATION
A wide variety of postgraduate options are available in these areas, both for those with relevant undergraduate degrees who may want to specialise (Marketing, HR or Corporate Finance for example), or opportunities for non-business undergrad degree holders to enhance their education and training with a business qualification.
Entry requirements vary depending on the college. Typically, a minimum 2.2 degree is required. A 2.1 or a first may be the bar for the most popular subjects. A detailed application form and an interview are usually part of the process of being accepted onto a programme. See Researching Postgraduate Progammes for links to individual college postgraduate options.
Convert to Business - A master of business administration (MBA) is aimed at both working and recent graduates of business and other disciplines, to enhance and develop managerial and leadership skills. Conversion courses can be full-time for a year or part-time over two years. UCC offer an MBS in Management and Marketing conversion course.
Postgraduate study is a prerequisite for pursuing a career as a solicitor or a barrister and entry requires further training and professional examinations. Several colleges in Ireland offer preparatory courses to help you succeed with the entrance exams for the Law Society to train as a solicitor, or King's Inns, to train as a barrister.
Specialist law degrees range from diplomas to PhDs. The Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree is effectively a postgraduate degree, usually lasting one year. Most students continue from the LLB degree into the legal profession or to the more specialised and internationally recognised Master of Laws (LLM) programme.
The LLM can be done either by research, or by course work with a minor thesis. It offers a wide choice of specialisms from criminal law to intellectual property law. (See llm-guide).
Admission to an LLB or LLM degree course requires candidates to hold a second-class honours BCL (Bachelor of Civil Laws) degree or have other third-level qualifications or relevant professional experience. The LLM tends to have higher entry requirements than the LLB.
For entry to diploma or conversion to law courses a background in law is usually preferred, but some courses may be open to people with other qualifications or relevant experience.
Conversion courses are also available for non-law graduates wishing to train as solicitors. These will help you prepare for the necessary exams. Similarly, non-law graduates who wish to take the Barrister-at-Law degree course are required to pass the King's Inn Diploma in Legal Studies before they can sit the entrance exams.
Convert to Law - There are 107 postgraduate programmes in law on the Qualifax website, many open to non-law graduates. A postgrad law degree increases your expertise and specialism in a particular area of law, but is also widely respected in other sectors. For a career as a solicitor or barrister you must take the examinations of the professional body: the legal practice course (LPC) or the Bar Professional Training Course. A graduate diploma in law is the fast-track route on to these courses and is ideal for students without accredited undergraduate degrees in law.
ICT - INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES
There is a wide variety of postgraduate courses available in IT and computer science, with new disciplines emerging all the time. Most masters programmes have a major project as part of the course requirement. IT also offers many conversion courses, available to graduates of all backgrounds who have a keen interest in the area and are eager to develop it. Merging specialisations is also a growing trend, encouraged by government investment in ICT and science at postgraduate level. See Researching Postgraduate Progammes for links to individual college postgraduate options.
Convert to IT - Given the high graduate rates of employment in the recent HEA report, it’s not surprising many graduates consider a conversion programme in IT. One-year courses are typical. These offer a solid grounding in theory and practice of computer science. Many colleges offer cross-departmental programmes; examples include the higher diploma in applied science (applied computing technology) at University College Cork, or the higher diploma in information technology at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth.
A postgraduate conversion course in IT can fast-track you on to a master’s, such as UCC’s MSc in interactive media or an MSc in data analytics at Dublin Institute of Technology. Government initiatives like Springboard and ICT Skills Conversions, which fund free or heavily subsidised places in IT and other tech growth areas for unemployed but skilled professionals from other industries, switching to ICT has been among the most popular conversion routes in recent times, particularly since you don’t generally need a science or engineering background.
NATURAL SCIENCES, MATHS AND STATISTICS
Postgraduate qualifications in Science are typically research based, compared to maths and other quantitative disciplines which may include a substantial taught component. It is possible to do a PhD in science without completing a masters first.
Holders of Postgraduate qualifications in Science are very much in demand. As well as leading to an academic career, a postgraduate degree in science can lead to a job in the enterprise sector, helping companies to drive innovation or put you on the path to a graduate science job in a specialist area such as food science.
Science postgraduates are employed for their specialist knowledge and skills, their ability to work independently and think analytically and innovatively, as well as their ability to conceptualise and question. To be most effective in a commercial environment, these need to be combined with the essential professional skills of good communication, teamwork and leadership. See Researching Postgraduate Progammes for links to individual college postgraduate options.
ENGINEERING, MANUFACTURING AND CONSTRUCTION
Holders of an engineering degree have fantastic postgrad opportunities open to them. Collaborations with industry are common, where study is combined with practical work experience, providing scope to move into specialist areas of engineering. See Researching Postgraduate Progammes for links to individual college postgraduate options.
HEALTH AND WELFARE
It is common for people the healthcare profession to pursue further certificates and diplomas in specialist areas. A postgraduate qualification facilitates career progression, whilst also ensuring that knowledge levels are optimised.
There are numerous Post-grad programmes available for those interested in this sector, from diplomas to PhDs in traditional medicine, right through to alternative therapies. New and emerging specialist areas include such titles as molecular medicine, pharmaceutical medicine and bioinformatics. Entry is competitive with typical requirements of a minimum 2.1 at undergraduate level, together with relevant experience.
There are also many opportunities to teach within this area since training at all levels and continuous professional development are requirements across the sector. A masters or a PhD level qualification is typically required for those who wish to pursue an academic or teaching career within medicine or healthcare.
Convert to Medicine - The graduate entry medical schools at the University of Limerick, UCC, University College Dublin and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin, all offer four-year medical degrees for graduates of any discipline. The degree is not strictly a postgrad programme as the award is the same as that of an undergraduate medical student. Applicants need a 2.1 honours bachelor degree and a sufficiently high mark in the GAMSAT (Graduate Australian Medical Schools Admissions Test).
This area includes Sports, Leisure, Travel, Tourism and Occupational Health and Safety. M.Sc. programmes are available in Sports performance, Sports management, Sports psychology. Health programmes include Occupational Health, Public Health, Environmental Helath with career opportunities across such sectors as pharmachem, medtech, healthcare, statutory bodies, local authorities and consultancy firms. See Researching Postgraduate Progammes for links to individual college postgraduate options.