MTU seeks to significantly raise number of southwest STEM graduates

Munster Technological University has six principal campuses in counties Kerry and Cork

Munster Technological University (MTU): Established in January 2021, MTU was created following the amalgamation of Cork IT and IT Tralee.


Anyone from Kerry will tell you it is the greatest country in Ireland. And following the designation of Munster Technological University (MTU) in January 2021, residents of the Kingdom have yet another reason to celebrate their home place: the region’s newest university.

MTU was founded from a merger of Cork Institute of Technology and IT Tralee, making it the first university to be established in the southwest since 1845.


The institution has six principal campuses: MTU Bishopstown, MTU Kerry North, MTU Kerry South, MTU Cork School of Music and MTU Crawford College of Art and Design, both in Cork City, and the National Maritime College of Ireland, situated in Ringaskiddy, Cork Harbour.

The National Martitime College of Ireland provides training and education for the merchant shipping industry and the non-military needs of the Irish Naval Service, with degree programmes in nautical science, marine engineering, marine electrotechnology and logistics.

At a flag-raising ceremony when the MTU first opened, then Taoiseach Micheál Martin said pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies spoke highly of the quality of graduates that came out of life sciences, engineering and other courses in the Cork and Tralee colleges over the past 30 years.

“Most people would say that the forerunners to this college, the institutes of technology and the regional technical colleges, were actually central to inward investment into the southwest by foreign multinational companies, as well, of course, as helping stimulate Irish companies,” he said.

Since the amalgamation, there are more than 18,000 students at MTU and more than 140 programmes of study.

Art and design, business, childcare, computer science, engineering, event management, health and leisure, humanities, media and communications, music, musical theatre, nursing, popular music, science, social care, theatre and drama are among the courses on offer at MTU’s six main campuses.

MTU has strong creative programmes in the MTU Cork School of Music and the MTU Crawford College of Art and Design, both in Cork City.

In terms of music performance, MTU has courses in Popular Music: Electric Guitar (MT 931), Popular Music: Electric Bass Guitar (MT 932), Popular Music: Keyboards (MT 933), Popular Music: Drums (MT 934) and Popular Music: Voice (MT 935).

Speaking in October last year at the launch of MTU’s first strategic plan, MTU president Prof Maggie Cusack said the development of MTU has been an unqualified success to date.

Since its establishment, demand from CAO applicants for MTU’s courses has been very strong, Prof Cusack said, while MTU’s total research expenditure continues to feature at the upper end of the scale across Ireland’s technological universities.

MTU also has a number of facilities to promote research, innovation and entrepreneurship.

The Rubicon Centre on MTU’s Cork campus and the Tom Crean Centre on MTU’s Kerry campus, both which Prof Cusack has described as integral to the university’s mission, are innovation hubs for start-ups and indigenous entrepreneurs.

Work on a new STEM complex on the Kerry campus is currently under way, with the multi-million-euro facility expected to be up and running by summer 2025.

The new building will include laboratories, agri-machinery workshops, classroom spaces and ancillary space, and seeks to “significantly enhance the number of STEM graduates for the region”.

There is also a heavy focus on sport at the MTU. The Kerry campus has a €19 million sports academy, which opened in 2019. It is an international-sized indoor sports arena that incorporates three parallel basketball courts, one centred basketball championship court with surround seating, nine badminton courts, two futsal courts, three volleyball courts and three indoor soccer courts.

MTU Cork, meanwhile, has a 1,200-seat, fully covered stadium that houses a two-tier elite gym, meeting or studio room, doctor’s room and eight dressingrooms that complement a floodlit sand-based multipurpose pitch.

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers is a reporter for The Irish Times