Is it too late to apply for a postgraduate course in teaching?

Ask Brian: There are still options available for both primary and post-primary

I am completing my BA in Irish and Spanish and, given the likely turmoil in the private sector due to the pandemic, am strongly considering applying for teaching. It is too late to apply for teaching in either primary or post-primary?

Having spent over 40 years in the classroom at both second and third level, I can honestly say that I loved every minute of it. Helping young people grow their understanding of your subject matter and watching some of them decide to shape their careers around my subjects is truly energising.

Income level and lifestyles may be important factors in occupational choice, but how you feel when the clock goes off in the morning is 10 times more important. It will be a key determinate factor in your ongoing overall physical and mental well-being.

Primary and post-primary teaching are very different in terms of the nature of your daily working experience. Obviously, you would be teaching a far broader curriculum at primary than your current subjects of Irish and Spanish. Whereas at post-primary, you would probably be teaching exclusively these subjects.

It is too late in the current academic year to apply to the Postgraduate Application Centre (PAC) in Galway (, which handles applications on behalf of the Irish universities who offer postgraduate masters in education (PME) programmes in second-level teaching.

Trinity College Dublin also offers PME programmes and it has extended its closing date for maths, applied maths, Gaeilge and modern languages to Sunday next May 31st, 2020. If you want to go down the PAC route for September 2021 , you will be able to apply from early November next, with the application process closing in February next.

Teacher supply

You are fortunate in that your degree subjects are both contained within the list of priority subjects identified by the Government as currently requiring increases in teacher supply (other subjects on this list are mathematics, applied mathematics, physics, chemistry, German, French, and Italian).

With regard to the PME in primary education offered by DCU and Mary Immaculate College, the application dates are also closed for the current year. Applicants should apply in the autumn through the Postgraduate Applications Centre (PAC).

One route you can still consider for both primary and post-primary is Hibernia College, which offers a two-year professional masters in primary and post-primary education.

Hibernia College ( has two distinct entry seasons: spring and autumn. Applications will open in mid-June with final deadline mid-July. Interviews will run until mid-August, with a course starting date in early September.

All qualified candidates who apply before the final deadline will be called to interview.

So, if you are interested in starting a primary or post-primary teacher training programme this year, you have until this Sunday to complete a Trinity post-primary application, or you can log onto the Hibernia college website where its open days, road shows and online webinars for its autumn 2020 enrolments are available.