TUS signifies the beginning of a journey in higher education

Technological University of the Shannon has a ‘highly practical’ element in its many courses

Technological University of the Shannon (TUS): Established in October 2021 following the merger of Athlone and Limerick ITs.

Website: Tus.ie

What’s in a name? That of the Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands and Midwest, known as TUS, is replete with meaning. TUS echoes the Irish word “tús”, which means start, as for many students who attend the university it is the beginning of a new educational journey. The geography of the region, meanwhile, is linked by the river Shannon, representing the “flow of knowledge and ideas” that students enrolled in the institution will experience.

The new university, which officially opened in October 2021, has six campuses, spread across four counties and three provinces, a network of towns and urban centres – and one river.


The principal campuses are located in Limerick and Athlone but the new technological university also has campuses in Thurles, Clonmel and Ennis. It is expected to contribute €420 million to the region’s economy annually.

TUS has 15,602 students, 10,083 of whom are full time, 4,979 part time. The majority (13,233) are undergraduates, with 1,829 in postgraduate education. There are more than 150 undergraduate courses, more than 60 postgraduate courses and around 700 research postgraduates available through the university.

TUS has more than 250 global partnerships with universities and higher-education partners around the world, allowing it to provide students with a global experience through Erasmus, study-abroad placements and outward mobility.

Orla Thornton, director of marketing and communications at TUS, says that what makes TUS unique is its “focus on the student experience”.

“Our students enjoy small class sizes and plenty of one-to-one interactivity with faculty and student support staff,” says Thornton. “At TUS, students are on a first-name basis with their lecturers and peers. Our students continually rate a strong sense of community and belonging as one of our greatest attributes.”

There is a “highly practical” element to the university’s courses, Thornton says, with the majority featuring live projects or work placements, as well as opportunities to study abroad.

“An example of this is our embedded capstone project in our Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Digital Marketing,” she says. “The capstone project gives final-year students an opportunity to put their knowledge into practice through the design and implementation of a fully fledged digital marketing strategy for a host brand.”

Students have worked with brands including DPD Ireland, Panelto Foods, Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Kash Beauty and Sidero, says Thornton.

While technological universities might not bring the arts to mind, the Athlone campus has a long history in the creative sector. The annual RTÉ All Ireland Drama Festival takes place there, while there are three theatres off campus, a new purpose-built multidisciplinary arts centre, Luan Gallery, and the Abbey Road Artists’ Studios all nearby.

Having been in existence for more than 170 years, Limerick School of Art and Design proudly boasts recognition as one of Europe’s leading fine-art, design and creative-media schools. The school operates across three TUS campuses – at Clare Street and George’s Quay in Limerick city and in Clonmel, Co Tipperary – and offers Level 8 and Level 9 courses.

TUS is committed to expanding access to higher education to everyone who would benefit from it, including making campus a more autism-friendly environment, says Thornton. Earlier this year the university opened three sensory lounges to support autistic students in managing stress and combating sensory overload while on campus.

“These new quiet spaces are purposely located in low-traffic areas, where autistic students can escape to, sit down and recharge until they are ready to rejoin their peers,” she adds.

As well as its academic offering, TUS also has an excellent social side. Students can join clubs for hillwalking and orienteering; there’s a film society; and, for young people seeking to resume their education after having children, the university has a young parents club.

The Athlone campus is home to a €10 million international sports arena which features a six-lane 200-metre indoor running track, a sprint track, jump pits, pole-vault area and shot-putt area, and which can accommodate 2,000 spectators.

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers is Health Correspondent of The Irish Times