Plenty of options to fund further education

Tuition fees and living costs can mount up but there are options out there for students seeking funding

There are a wide variety of postgraduate funding opportunities available to those seeking to expand their education beyond undergraduate level.

The trick, however, can be figuring out how to navigate the various streams offered by third-level institutions and getting a grip on what might suit the individual student.

What follows is a rough outline of available options and how to find them, although it should be noted that while up to date at the time of going to print, some application deadlines may be nearing or even passed.

For a broad overview, potential postgraduate students can consult some handy online tools.


GradIreland. com offers a complete guide through choosing postgraduate courses, applications and advice on how it can help your career. Would-be students can also use the site to read up on costs and funding options as well as various potential locations for study. offers an insight into further and higher education possibilities, with information on course fees and details on eligibility requirements for free fees.

It also explains other options including the Fund for Students with Disabilities, the Back to Education Allowance and the Student Assistance Fund.

Ireland’s main universities have a substantial array of options, although candidates should always bear in mind looming deadlines and criteria for applications.

Trinity College Dublin (TCD) has a broad range of studentships, scholarships and specific funded projects for research across all disciplines, normally covering tuition fees and a stipend.

The college also offers a number of named benefactions and awards funded by largely private donations and bequests.

However, scholarships and funding for taught postgraduate courses are more limited and when available are advertised on the individual course web pages and the website of the Office of the Dean of Graduate Studies. The university website provides a full breakdown of opportunities.

University College Dublin (UCD) has well over 100 postgraduate scholarships, bursaries and awards varying in value.

Top-performing eligible candidates can apply in their chosen fields, with examples including the Achiever MBA Scholarship (€30,000); the Réalta Master in Engineering Scholarship (€7,500); the Caroline Walsh Bursary in Creative Writing (€6,300); Bachelor of Arts Graduate Scholarship (€2,540); Bachelor of Social Science Graduate Scholarship (€2,540); Graduate Scholarship – Actuarial and Financial Studies (€2,540); and the Intel Masters Student Scholarships (€3,000).

The university’s Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School also offers a range of full and partial merit and needs-based scholarships.

The Dublin City University (DCU) John Thompson Scholarship in digital marketing fosters links between digital marketing and online journalism by encouraging graduates of business, journalism and more diverse educational backgrounds to study digital marketing integrated with an appreciation of media and online journalism. The bursary offers full fees and a small contribution towards books and study expenses.

Its Business School PhD Scholarships combine scholarly theory-building with a strong applied research focus in several areas including accounting, economics, finance, entrepreneurship and marketing.

The San José Dublin Sister City Exchange Scholarship awards a lucrative taught masters scholarship to an engineering, physics or computer science graduate. The all-expenses-paid scholarship involves semesters spent in DCU and San José State University followed by an internship in a Silicon Valley based company.

The School Of Communications – normally targeting students of journalism, film studies and media studies among others – has up to five PhD scholarships with a tax-free stipend of not less than €14,000 plus fees.

Maynooth University is launching 60 awards of €2,000 each to support full-time taught Master's study available across all departments.

It is also running its John and Pat Hume Doctoral Awards scheme 2017 to 2018. There are three levels of award – doctoral fellowship, scholarship and studentship – offering up to €16,000 stipend per annum and full fees for four years of study plus expenses.

University College Cork (UCC) run Excellence Scholarships every year to a selected number of applicants who intend starting Masters and PhDs in the College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences.

Its Boole International Doctoral Scholarships in the Humanities and Social Sciences are for prospective doctoral students from non-EU countries.

The university also offers department-specific postgraduate funding and research grants which cover 100 per cent of fees.

The University of Limerick has funding potential for prospective research students who are advised to seek assistance in identifying potential streams.

There are also funding information available on its graduate school webpage while individual departments post their own updates.

PhD students are sought in psychology, arts and humanities, software engineering and business among others.

NUI Galway is advertising postgraduate funding in humanities; history; journalism; Irish; conference interpreting; film studies; and gender, globalisation and rights courses.

It also runs the Hardiman and Dr Tony Ryan PhD Scholarships which are fully funded for four years. A more extensive list of postgraduate funding avenues is available through its website.

Queen’s University Belfast has a wide range of studentships for postgraduate research programmes, which typically cover tuition fees and include a maintenance allowance.

It has a range of funding available through external sources for postgraduate research, while a limited number of scholarships and bursaries may be available for specific taught Master’s courses.

For the academic year of 2017/18, the Department for the Economy will begin its first year tuition fee loan of up to £5,500 (€6,457)per student for postgraduate study, it said.

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times