ATU: More than 600 programmes, from pre-degree to doctoral level

Atlantic Technological University incorporates eight campuses across Galway, Mayo, Sligo and Donegal

Atlantic Technological University (ATU): Established in April 2022, ATU was created following the merger of Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, Institute of Technology Sligo and Letterkenny Institute of Technology.


Merging Galway-Mayo IT, Letterkenny Institute of Technology and IT Sligo, the ATU opened its doors in its new format on April 1st, 2022.

Located near the Border, the ATU is in a unique position that allows it to facilitate cross-Border co-operation between the North and South of the island. Under the new institution, there are eight campuses: Galway city, Connemara, Mountbellew, Mayo, Sligo, Letterkenny, Killybegs and St Angela’s College. This makes it one of the largest multi-campus universities on the island.


It is also the first technological university to have one of its campuses designated as autism-friendly, with ATU Sligo receiving this accolade in December 2022.

ATU has a population of 23,641 students. Of those, 87 per cent are undergraduate, 12 per cent are postgraduate and 1 per cent is made up of other study pathways. Some 12,752 students are studying full-time; 4,904 are studying part-time; and 5,985 are studying online.

ATU offers a vast array of courses, covering all disciplines, across the three partnered entities. In fact, it offers more than 600 different programmes, from pre-degree to doctoral level.

A spokesman for the TU said its strength is the diverse range of courses available across the locations.

“As a university we provide an excellent academic experience, serving the needs of our unique region. Our programmes are developed in collaboration with industry partners, ensuring our graduates possess the skills to drive economic and social growth within our region and beyond,” he said.

It has a particular emphasis on online and flexible learning, with IT Sligo having led the way in that regard in the years before the amalgamation. There are more than 200 courses offered across ATU in online study, ranging from short courses right up to masters level qualifications.

“In addition, ATU offers 156 blended-learning courses, where students benefit from short courses to postgraduate masters programmes, available to students who want to combine in-person learning and remote lectures,” the spokesman said.

“Students seeking to balance study with work, life and family commitments are supported to do so, with this flexible approach.”

There are several areas of study that set ATU apart from the other higher education institutes in Ireland. It has a significant focus on agriculture, which is reinforced by the presence of the Mountbellew campus, which has a working farm.

This allows students to gain practical experience while working on the farm, which comprises a dairy herd of more than 80 cows, dry stock, 20 hectares of forestry, a milking parlour, a grain store and sheep and cattle housing facilities.

The Letterfrack campus in Connemara is also unique due to its prominence in furniture design and manufacture courses, which have a 100 per cent graduate employment rate for those wanting to enter the industry.

All students are given the opportunity of undertaking a year-long work placement in a furniture company as part of their programmes, which are available at both level seven and level eight. Interested students could choose from furniture design and manufacture (AU681), furniture design, making and technology (AU683) and furniture making and architectural woodworking (AU682).

For those more interested in the creative sphere, ATU Sligo is the home of the Yeats Academy of Arts, Design and Architecture, a new creative hub that is set to open in September 2023.

It is a €17 million creative teaching space that will include performance facilities, two large black box studios, production design studios, costume design studios, computer-aided design and fabrication studios along with dance and rehearsal spaces.

The spokesman said ATU is built on the foundations of three institutes of technology, each with more than 50 years of experience.

“At ATU, we are harnessing the power of those legacy Institutions, building a new university that is fit for the future of higher education,” he said.

“We are expanding our capacity in research, with investment across multiple campuses to ensure we have state-of-the-art facilities to support our growing student population and provide research-informed teaching. Collaboration is built into the fabric of our TU, ensuring we grow in partnership with societal and economic needs of our unique region.”

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers is Health Correspondent of The Irish Times