A round-up of popular courses in universities around the country

We list the top five courses and focus on a sample course from each college featured

UCC’s top five courses

MA in Global Cultures and Languages

MSc in Molecular Cell Biology with Bio-innovation

MSc in Radiation Therapy


MSc in Food Business and Innovation

Law – LLM (Environmental and Natural Resources Law)

Spotlight on Environmental and Natural Resources Law

The Environmental and Natural Resources Law (LLM) is a new programme which takes advantage of a concentration of legal expertise in the field at the university's School of Law, which ranks in the top 100 law schools globally. The school's academic staff currently hold advisory roles with a wide range of Irish and international agencies and organisations, including the European Environment Agency; the Environmental Protection Agency; the International Union for the Conservation of Nature; an Bord Pleanála; the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; and the Aquaculture Licences Appeals Board.

The LLM offers a wide variety of legal topics ranging across traditional areas of environmental law, policy and regulation, as well as planning and land-use law, heritage protection, international environmental law, marine environmental law, natural resources law and human rights law. It aims to prepare graduates for a variety of careers in the broader environmental regulatory space, including in the legal professions, governmental and regulatory agencies, environmental NGOs, compliance roles in industry, academia and environmental consultancy.

It seeks to integrate theoretical and practical aspects of the application of environmental and natural resources law, and to connect module content with legal and regulatory frameworks operating locally, nationally, regionally and globally. To the greatest degree possible, the programme is based on flexible workload arrangements, to suit recent law graduates and environmental professionals alike.

EU fees: €7,130-€3,630 (year one part-time); €3,630 (year two part-time)

For more information see: ucc.ie/en/ckl48/

DCU’s top five courses

Professional Master of Education

MSc in Computing

MSc in Psychology

MSc in Public Relations and Strategic Communication

MSc in Management

Spotlight on MSc in Elite Sport Performance (MESP)

This new, two-year, part-time, distance-learning MSc provides students with an opportunity to complete a programme of study focused on the theories and practice of sports performance and develop an advanced understanding of research methodologies and reflective and critical skills.

It’s aimed at both early-career professionals working in sport, and those with aspirations to work in this environment, who are motivated to extend their knowledge and understanding of elite sport performance and deepen discipline-specific expertise through postgraduate study.

The programme’s part-time and flexible nature enables students to consider how their learning and knowledge impacts professional practice in elite sport performance environments, and ensure the acquired knowledge and understanding gained through the master’s supports their development in their specific working context.

The course provides an opportunity for postgraduate study for appropriately qualified early-career sport professionals across relevant sport performance disciplines (eg, sport science and coaching) and to acquire advanced subject knowledge in this field. It offers candidates the opportunity to engage in interdisciplinary study that allows them to investigate issues in elite sport performance.

Fees: €4,500 per annum

For more information see: dcu.ie/scienceandhealth/msc-elite-sport-performance

Maynooth University’s top five courses

MSc Data Science and Analytics

M.Ed./PG Diploma in Educational Leadership and Management

MSocSc. Social Work

Professional Master of Education (Secondary)

MSc Strategic Marketing

Spotlight on MA Creative Writing

Maynooth University's new Creative Writing MA is led by Belinda McKeon, recipient of the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize and the Irish Book of the Year Award. This MA combines workshops, seminars and one-on-one mentoring of writing projects, with options in modules from across the faculty, such as writing for screen media. Students work on short pieces of writing and a longer project.

Teaching focuses on guiding students to further develop their voice as a writer and on enriching their interests with new perspectives and a grasp of stylistic approaches. Tactics for editing and revision are taught in tandem with exercises aimed at deepening students’ relationships to their creative processes, equipping them for careers in professional editing, professional writing and the creative industries.

Maynooth English has a vibrant writing community, including a highly popular poetry/poetics reading and discussion series led by poet-critics Dr Catherine Gander and Dr Karl O'Hanlon, and teaching by Dr Oona Frawley, whose Flight was the first novel published by Tramp Press and was nominated for major awards. Maynooth English also has three writers in residence on staff each year. For 2021-2022, the Kildare County Council arts writers in residence are Oisín Fagan and Ryan Dennis, and the 2022 Arts Council writer in residence is novelist Louise O'Neill. With access to this expertise, students can develop their own networks to sustain their writing practice beyond the MA degree.

UCD’s top five courses

MSc or Prof. Dip. Data Analytics

MA in Journalism and International Affairs

ME Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering FT

MSc in Food Business Strategy

MSc Criminology and Criminal Justice

Spotlight on MSc or Prof. Dip. Data Analytics

Data analytics is one of the major growth areas of the past decade, with huge ongoing demand for graduates with these valuable skills in a wide range of industries, and currently a shortage of qualified graduates. In 2014, UCD launched a three-year, part-time MSc in data analytics, with students also having the option to exit after a year with a fully-accredited professional diploma in data analytics. The course has been fully online from the outset, offering the ability for students to balance a career or other responsibilities with further study.

Those who are successful in completing the course are highly employable in fields as diverse as pharmaceuticals, finance and insurance, as well as cloud computing. Prospective employers include any company that requires detailed, robust analysis of data sets, such as Google, eBay, Facebook, Amazon, Janssen, Merck, GSK, Bank of Ireland, AXA, EY, Accenture and Deloitte.

Fees: ProfDip Data Analytics: €190.10 per credit

Fees: MSc Data Analytics: €140.20 per credit

For more information see: ucd.ie/online/courses/dataanalytics/

Trinity College Dublin’s top five courses

MSc Finance

MSc Digital Marketing Strategy

MSc International Management

P.Grad.Cert. 21st Century Teaching and Learning

P.Grad.Cert. Statistics (online)

Spotlight on MSc in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Technology (online)

Want to become a medicine quality expert from the comfort of your home or place of work anywhere in the world? This year Trinity College Dublin launched its newly digitalised MSc in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Technology.

The move online for the first and most successful course of its kind in Ireland builds on 30 years of experience. The upgrade has been informed by wide consultation with regulators, industry and academic leaders.

The course is offered to graduates who wish to become medicine quality experts or satisfy the European Union educational requirements for the role of the qualified person responsible for the manufacture of human and veterinary medicinal products in compliance with regulatory and legal standards. TCD challenges its students to explore topics relating to pharmacology, drug discovery, pharmaceutical testing and regulatory affairs in a flexible way.

More than 500 students have successfully completed the older version of this course, many of whom now hold global or senior positions in multinational companies around the world. Course graduates are at the forefront of manufacturing, veterinary products, biologicals and other high-tech therapeutics including Covid-19 vaccines. The digitalisation of the programme is led by Dr Bernard Naughton, assistant professor at the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and a researcher in medicine quality and healthcare management.

NUI Galway’s top five courses

MSc Business Analytics

MSc Clinical Research

LLM (International and Comparative Business Law)

MSc Environmental Leadership

MA (Global Media and Communications)

Spotlight on Master/Postgraduate Diploma in Health Sciences (Children’s Palliative/Complex Care)

The increasing numbers of children living with complex and palliative conditions present many challenges for various health care settings. This postgrad is designed for practitioners working in community care, community specialist palliative care, neonatal, disability, hospital and children’s hospice teams. It is the only programme offered in Ireland in this internationally recognised speciality.

The programme, facilitated by both teaching teams at NUI Galway and UCD, aims to provide students with the necessary in-depth evidence-based knowledge, skills and competencies to provide quality care to highly dependent children as they live with life-limiting illness and may face the end of life. The master's programme is offered full time over two academics years with the option to exit with a postgraduate diploma following completion of the six modules in year one.

Delivered across 10 days of face-to-face teaching and a minimum of just 500 clinical hours, the programme offers an innovative and flexible approach to learning, making it possible to combine working full time with studying. The course is approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland and graduates have found employment and promotion opportunities nationally and internationally in clinical nurse specialist roles (neonatology, palliative care, paediatric palliative or specialist complex care,) specialist community home care, disability or liaison roles and/or children’s hospice employment. For enrolment in 2022-2023 a number of new Health Service Executive scholarships are available to nurses working in relevant settings (especially adult community palliative care).

University of Limerick’s top five courses

MA in Technical Communication and E-Learning

MSc Bioprocessing (online)

Professional Doctorate in Human Performance and Innovation

MA in International Tourism

Professional Diploma in Law and Technology (online)

Spotlight on MSc in Machine Learning for Finance

This MSc at UL's Kemmy Business School blends applied, practical financial theory with advanced computer science. Launched in 2020, it is the first, fully online programme of its kind in Ireland. The business school, which is triple accredited and in top 1 per cent of business schools worldwide, blended its award-winning finance postgraduate programme with its expertise from the MSc in artificial intelligence to develop this programme for graduates and professionals needing to upskill and reskill within the financial services industry.

The programme is particularly attractive for banking and finance professionals seeking a career edge. It gives them an opportunity to leverage existing skill sets and knowledge, with the potential of machine learning and the power of ‘big data’ to increase and expand their business opportunities. Those attracted to the course generally come with applied quantitative and technical skills, often combined with strong financial knowledge.

The two-year, part-time programme is delivered fully online via online lectures, tutorials and webinars. Assessment is based mainly on assignments and project work with a practical rather than theoretical focus. A Kemmy Business School Equality and Diversity Athena Swan scholarship opportunity is open for female candidates enrolling on this course for September. Other funding opportunities for those in employment may be available through ICBE Business Excellence Skillnet.

For more see: ul.ie/gps/machine-learning-finance-msc-onlineFees: €7,780 per year

Nora-Ide McAuliffe

Nora-Ide McAuliffe

Nora-Ide McAuliffe is an Audience Editor with The Irish Times