Technological Universities: 9 popular areas of study

TUs have a focus on vocationally and professionally oriented science and technology programmes, from engineering to agriculture

Education is an ever-evolving sector, with new areas and fields of study constantly coming on stream. But, in recent years the mode of study has also changed, particularly with the creation of technological universities.

Technological University Dublin, known as TU Dublin, was the first of its kind in Ireland, having been designated in 2019 to replace what was previously known as Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), and amalgamating with IT Tallaght and Blanchardstown IT.

Munster Technological University (MTU), a merger of Cork Institute of Technology and Tralee Institute of Technology, was designated in January 2021, while Technological University of the Shannon Midlands Mid-West (TUS) was designated in October 2021, which saw Athlone IT and Limerick IT come together.

In 2022, two new technological universities were established: Atlantic Technological University (ATU), consisting of Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, Institute of Technology Sligo, and Letterkenny Institute of Technology, designated in April 2022; and South-East Technological University (SETU), consisting of Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) and Institute of Technology Carlow (ITC), which was established in May 2022.


The TUs offer a wide variety of courses for prospective students, with many of the courses requiring lower CAO points than the traditional universities. Here, we provide a breakdown of some of the most popular areas of study in TUs around Ireland.

1 Engineering

The job outlook for engineers continues to be bright, with a high demand for those with skills in the sector. But engineering is a wide, umbrella term, with many TUs offering a variety of specialisms within the field.

There are particularly positive prospects for engineers specialising in software and IT, medical devices and pharmaceuticals, construction and the energy and environmental sectors.

TU Dublin has, to name but a few, courses in automation engineering (TU701), building engineering (TU703), aviation technology (TU721), electronic engineering (TU808) and mechanical engineering (TU822).

In ATU there are courses in agricultural engineering (AU648), civil engineering (AU638), energy engineering (AU646), and software and electronic engineering (AU642).

Setu offers the opportunity to study aerospace engineering (SE714) and engineering in electronic systems (SE708), among others; MTU has courses in civil engineering (MT832) and chemical and biopharmaceutical engineering (MT838).

TUS has a course in automotive engineering and transport management (US915) and engineering for robotics (US829).

2 Culinary

Ireland is known for its excellent food, and TUs offer many different culinary courses.

Offered at a range of different levels, culinary arts will be accessible to students who have ascertained a variety of academic achievements.

TU Dublin has a culinary arts programme (TU742), a botanical cuisine course (TU941) and culinary science (TU944). ATU offers a national chef de partie apprenticeship and a level-six culinary skills course.

In Setu, prospective students can opt for a level-six higher certificate in culinary arts (SE938) or a level eight bachelor’s in culinary arts (SE923).

MTU offers a variety of courses, such as culinary arts – professional chef, gourmet culinary techniques, and culinary arts. Meanwhile, TUS has a four-year, level-eight course in culinary entrepreneurship (US931).

3 Hospitality and tourism

For outgoing people with a passion for networking and talking to people, a career in hospitality or tourism could be an excellent outlet for utilising those personality traits.

Tourism is Ireland’s largest indigenous industry and the biggest regional employer, making it an exciting option for those would would like to reside in places other than the country’s large urban centres and cities.

ATU offers a part-time, three-year, online course in hospitality management, as well as a one-year, level-eight degree in kitchen management. TU Dublin offers a level eight degree in international hospitality and tourism management (TU952), as well as languages and international tourism (TU967).

In Setu, students can undertake a three-year, level-seven course in tourism and hospitality services (SE924), while in MTU a level-seven hospitality management (MT554) course is available, as is a beverage industry management course (MT553).

TUS has a course in hospitality management, which includes an international placement (US932).

4 Sports and leisure

For those who are active or who want to turn their passion for sports into a career, there are a variety of offerings in the technological universities around the country in this field.

TUS offers a level-seven (US796) and level-eight (US959) course in applied sports science with performance technology, a sports development and performance (US954) course and a sports science with exercise physiology course (US951).

For those wishing to study in the capital, TU Dublin has a course in sports and leisure management (TU955), sports management and coaching (TU935) and sports studies (TU737). Further south, Setu has a level eight degree in sports, business and coaching (SE910), recreation and sports management (SE906) as well as various programmes that are sport-specific coaching degrees.

ATU has a common entry course in sport and exercise (AU320), a sport and business degree (AU903) and a level-seven diploma in physical education studies. MTU has a degree in sport and exercise management (MT910), inclusive sport and physical activity (MT914) and coaching and sport performance (MT913).

5 Gaming

People who enjoy gaming often seek to turn that passion into a career. Those with a technical aptitude can pursue degrees in several areas within the gaming sector, which continues to grow from strength to strength.

In TU Dublin, there is a level-eight degree in game design (TU984), while Setu also has a four-year level eight programme in computer games development (SE616).

In ATU, prospective students could opt for animation and game design (AU617), computer game development (AU260), and games development on the Sligo campus (AU848). For those nearer to the Shannon, TUS has a programme in game art and design (US806) on the Clonmel campus.

6 Early education and care

For people who are kind and caring, a career in early education could be an ideal area to study. Passion and a love for learning are key traits required to succeed in early education and to inspire the young people in your care.

Most TUs have courses in this sector, spread across the education qualification levels, meaning there are many pathways available for those seeking to pursue a career, without being prohibited by extremely high Leaving Cert point requirements.

ATU has a level-six, level-seven and level-eight (AU390) course in early childhood care, health and education on its Donegal campus, as well as an early childhood education and care course in Mayo (AU695)

In TU Dublin, prospective students can choose from early childhood education (TU995) on the Grangegorman campus, or the early childhood education and care on the Blanchardstown campus (TU989).

In the more southern parts of the country, Setu offers two courses in this field: early childhood care and education (SE911) in Waterford and early childhood education and practice in Wexford (SE912).

MTU, meanwhile, has a course in Montessori education (MT970) as well as a course in early education (MT971).

7 Architecture and design

In a country in which housing and house building dominate the news agenda most weeks, people who are interested in the sector have positive job prospects as there is high demand.

In TU Dublin, there is a four-year, level-eight programme in architectural technology (TU831), a five-year programme in architecture (TU832), as well as level-seven (TU703) and level-eight (TU825) courses in building engineering.

ATU also offers these courses, with a level-seven (AU537) and level-eight (AU637) in architectural technology, a five-year course in architecture (AU925) as well as level-seven (AU820) and level-eight (AU926) programmes in interior architecture and design.

Setu offers three programmes in this field: a five-year bachelors of architecture on the Waterford campus (SE701), a level-seven architectural technology course on the Carlow campus (SE717) and a level-eight architectural technology course on the Carlow campus (SE702).

Down in the south of the country, MTU has a level-seven (MT760) and a level-eight (MT860) course in interior architecture and a course in architecture (CK606).

8 Computing

In an increasingly digital world, computing is an area with never-ending potential. For those with an aptitude for computers and technology, there are a variety of educational paths available, with more and more new areas of study coming on stream every year.

Cloud computing (TU865) is available at TU Dublin, as is computer science (TU856) as well as common-entry computing (TU859), among others.

In TUS, immersive digital media and spatial computing (US825) are available to prospective students, as is software design with artificial intelligence for cloud computing (US822) and mobile web computing (US826).

In MTU, there is a level-seven (MT703) and level-eight (MT803) in common entry computing, a course in computing systems (MT802) and software development (MT800). ATU, meanwhile, has a course in applied computing (AU360), and level-seven (AU846) and level-eight (AU956) in computer networks and cyber security.

9 Agriculture

Given the importance around sustainability and climate action, agriculture is undergoing significant transformation. Many of the TUs in Ireland offer programmes in the area, some of which seek to help tackle the difficult challenges facing the planet in the years to come.

In ATU, there is a level-seven (AU557) and level-eight (AU657) course in agriculture and environment management, a common entry agriculture course (AU371) and a level-seven (AU548) and level-eight (AU648) programme in agricultural engineering.

MTU has a course called agri-biosciences (MT879), as well as the usual agriculture (MT750) and agricultural science (MT877) programmes. Across the country, SETU has two courses in this field: organic agriculture (SE517) and sustainable farm management and agribusiness (SE503).