Funding your postgrad or MBA
There are a wide variety of funding opportunities available to those seeking to expand their education
For students hoping to begin a postgraduate next year, now is a good time to begin researching. Photograph: iStock/Getty
If you’re considering a post-grad or an MBA as your next step, how to fund it will no doubt be top of your priorities.
Scholarships for both taught and research postgrads are available from all universities, as is funding from other bodies and institutes. The following is an outline of just some of the scholarships and funding on offer. A full list of all prizes and bursaries is available from each of the institutes’ websites and from individual departments.
All have various deadlines and application requirements, so it is imperative that you follow up with the relevant department as soon as possible and submit your application on time. For students hoping to begin a postgraduate next year, now is a good time to begin researching as some applications will close later this year or early next year.
State funding is available for postgraduate courses through the Student Universal Support Ireland system. Even if a student has received Susi funding before, they will need to apply again for their postgraduate course. Applications for the upcoming academic year open at the beginning of April. Your first port of call should be the Susi eligibility reckoner (susi.ie/eligibility-reckoner-app/), which provides an indication of your possible eligibility for funding based on the information you provide to a series of questions.
Sixty taught masters scholarships worth €2,000 each are available to students undertaking full-time programmes at MU. A 2.1 is required to be considered for them and the scholarships are open to MU and non-MU graduates with applications open on March 10th. More information is available at maynoothuniversity.ie/postgrad. Last year 30 John and Pat Hume Doctoral Scholarships were granted by the university to PhD entrants. The top level of funding provides an up to €18,000 a year stipend plus fees for four years of PhD research. There are also lower levels of funding available. The scholarship is open across all disciplines and to both professional doctorates and part-time students. For more visit: maynoothuniversity.ie/jphawards. MU also offers Graduate Teaching Studentships and Doctoral Awards with teaching support experience across various disciplines each year.
UCC offers a range of scholarships and prizes, with funding ranging from €250 up to €28,000 across its colleges. The €10,000 O’Connor Scholarship is open to UCC graduates taking a postgrad in any department but is restricted to students, born in Ireland, who have a parent with the surname O’Connor. For Arts students, there are a number of scholarships with many covering course fees while for history students in particular there is the Michael Joseph McEnery memorial prize worth €12,000. Female business students are eligible for 30% Club scholarships worth €12,000 and €27,000; while the FDC Group scholarship, worth €12,500 is open to students undertaking particular business related courses. There are some very sizeable Science, Engineering and Food Science scholarships available, the largest ones being the Lilly Research Scholarship worth €22,000 and the John Sisk research scholarship in civil engineering worth €20,000. While there are less scholarships available for health and medicine students than in other departments, there are still a number of them available with the Amneal pharmaceutic scholarship the most valuable at €23,700. See https://www.ucc.ie/en/scholarships/postgraduate/ for more details.
NUIG’s taught masters scholarship scheme offers awards of €1,500 to anyone with a first-class honours degree who has been accepted on to a full-time programme at the university. For those undertaking research, the Hardiman PhD Scholarships are fully funded for four years, with a stipend of €16,000 per year plus fees. The scholarships offer opportunities for suitably qualified individuals to pursue a structured PhD focused within five key areas of research: humanities; biomedical science and engineering; informatics, physical and computational; environment, marine and energy, and social science and public policy. A number of other postgraduate scholarships varying in value are also available across a range of disciplines, such as business (new for 2020 are 14 postgraduate business scholarships), technology, health sciences, and old and middle Irish. Those undertaking the professional master of education in order to teach through Irish at second level can also apply for a €2,000 bursary. For more visit nuigalway.ie/postgraduate_scholarships/.
University of Limerick
UL offers a number of postgraduate scholarships. Ten taught scholarships are available through UL’s Kemmy Business School and 10 from the faculty of science and engineering, each offering €2,000 towards fees. Students hoping to study any of the taught MA programmes at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance can apply for one of the €1,000 Stepping Stones scholarships available, while the academy also offers a limited number of full and/or partial fee waivers for research students at MA and PhD level. The school of allied health offers two structured PhD scholarships paying fees for four years (€17,284 in total), while the school’s interprofessional education PhD scholarship is worth €92,768 in total over a four-year period. There are also a number of physical education and sport sciences scholarships on offer. See https://www.ul.ie/gps/about/funding-your-postgraduate-degree#scholarships for more information.
Dublin City University
DCU offers a wide range of scholarships across its schools. The John Thompson scholarship in digital marketing offers full fees and a small contribution towards books and study expenses, while the school of communications has up to five PhD scholarships with a tax-free stipend of not less than €14,000, plus fees. The 30% Club is offering a fee scholarship to female engineers or computer scientists studying on a full- or part-time basis in DCU’s faculty of engineering and computing and to part-time MSc programmes in the business school. The Intel scholarship worth €3,000 is available to graduates who plan to enter either the MEng in electronic and computer engineering or the MEng in mechanical and manufacturing engineering, while the UrbanVolt scholarship is available to one DCU masters student who demonstrates an innovative and entrepreneurial mindset.
The San Jose-Dublin Sister City Programme Exchange Scholarship, valued at more than $50,000, awards a taught masters scholarship to an engineering, physics or computer science graduate. There are also a number of other scholarships available, such as sports, aviation and alumni scholarships. For more details on all scholarships visit the postgraduate section on each of the schools’ websites.
UCD has a wide range of postgraduate scholarships, bursaries and awards varying in value. Top-performing eligible candidates can apply in their chosen fields for awards such as the Kay Mahon bursaries in archaeology (up to €6,000); the James Healy law scholarship (€5,000 plus fee waiver); and a number of graduate scholarships up to €4,135 plus a tax-free annual stipend of €750 from the school of politics and international relations. Through the 30% Club, two scholarships for female applicants are available on the Master of Public Policy, one full time (€7,315) and one part time (€9,520). Other scholarships include the Réalta engineering scholarship (€7,500); the Kevin B Nowlan Scholarship in Irish/Modern European History (€5,500); the Helga and Hugh Staunton Scholarship for Postgraduate Studies in German (€5,000); the Margaret MacCurtain Scholarship in Women’s History (€4,500); the Annie Fanning Scholarship for the MA in Irish Literature and Culture (€3,000); and UCD - Intel Masters Scholarships in Engineering and Science, each to the value of €3,000. Business students can apply for a range of full and partial merit, and needs-based scholarships, for those who demonstrate the ambition to study at UCD but who need some financial help. UCD College of Social Sciences and Law offers 16 different scholarships for full fee support for taught postgraduate programmes for access students with economic need, up to the value of €10,000. For more information on all scholarships contact the respective schools and colleges within UCD.
Trinity College Dublin
Trinity College Dublin offers a broad range of postgraduate taught programmes and research opportunities. For taught postgraduate courses, new scholarships, ,worth up to €5,000 each, are available to local and European students (EU Excellence Scholarships), in addition to similar scholarships for international students. For further details please see. Scholarships are also available for specific subject areas (eg E3 Excellence Scholarships, Energy Science scholarships). Details can be found on individual course web pages. For postgraduate research students, Trinity offers studentships, scholarships and specific funded projects for research across all disciplines, normally covering tuition fees and providing a stipend. The university also offers a number of named benefactions and awards funded by largely private donations and bequests. For more visit www.tcd.ie/study/postgraduate/scholarships-funding.
North/South Postgraduate Scholarships
Universities Ireland, the body which promotes collaboration between universities in the North and the Republic, offers four scholarships (which last year were worth €15,000 each) to students who have been accepted to undertake a recognised masters degree or are entering the first year of a PhD programme at a university on the island of Ireland and meet a number of eligibility requirements as detailed on its website: universitiesireland.ie.
Irish Research Council
The Irish Research Council manages a range of interlinked programmes funding researchers across all career stages and disciplines. Applications for 2020-21 have already closed but those with an eye on 2021-22 should monitor the council’s website, as funding opportunities typically open at different times during the year and close at various dates from the summer onwards. See research.ie/.
The Fulbright Awards are open to Irish citizens to study or undertake postgraduate research in the US for a period of four months up to a year. See fulbright.ie for more. Other sources of funding that prospective 2021-22 students should look out for include funding from the Irish Cancer Society, Teagasc and Science Foundation Ireland.
A master of business administration is one of the most expensive post-grads you can do with some courses costing up to and more than €30,000. Outside of this are the other costs to consider such as accommodations, transport and materials etc.
Like taught and research postgraduate students, there are also a number of scholarships and bursaries available to those undertaking an MBA, some which cover full or partial tuition fees and in each case it is advised to make contact with the university or institution you intend applying to and finding out what opportunities may be available to you.
Typically all universities offer some scholarship or bursary for those applying for MBAs and they are typically listed on the same page as all other postgraduate scholarships. For those who are working and considering undertaking an MBA, there may be funding available through your employer, though these typically tend to be multinationals but showing the value of the MBA to your company may be a way to get at least some financial assistance.
As with other postgraduate courses you can also claim money back on your course through Revenue while postgraduate funding for Level 8 to 10 is available from Susi for a maximum of four years.
- Nora-Ide McAuliffe