The popular postgraduate courses in universities

Whether you want to further your career or broaden your educational horizons, there are hundreds of postgraduate options– which are the top university courses?


What interests you? Saving the world from climate change? Exploring the inner workings of human sexuality? Becoming a master interior architect designing historic houses? Taking over the business world with an MBA? Or maybe you just want better opportunities in your current career?

College graduates once stood out from the pack. Now, a postgrad qualification is what really sets a jobseeker – or entrepreneur – apart.

There are hundreds of postgraduate courses in Ireland’s third-level institutions (see pages 8-11) in every conceivable area, including arts and humanities, law, business, medicine, science, technology, engineering, maths, agriculture and architecture. Here, we profile some courses from Ireland’s seven universities, a selection of institutes of technology (IoTs) including the “big five” (DIT, CIT, WIT, GMIT and LIT), private colleges such as DBS and Griffith College, and a range of others including RCSI and our largest teacher training college, St Patrick’s Drumcondra.

For the universities and the IoTs, we list the most popular courses (those with the largest number of students on them, rather than the courses with the highest number of applications).

Trinity College Dublin


Top five courses

1. Professional Master’s in Education (PME)
2. Master of Business Administration (MBA)
3. Project Management
4. Implementation Science
5. MSc in Health Services Management

Spotlight on . . . Professional Master’s in Education


The professional master’s in education (PME) is a required qualification for those who want to work as postprimary school teachers in the Republic of Ireland and is a recognised teaching qualification within the EU.

The two-year full-time PME programme is a course of professional development for teaching with a significant academic dimension.

There are 142 students enrolled on this two-year, full-time course. Applicants must be university graduates with an honours bachelor degree that includes, as a substantial component, at least one subject that is taught at Leaving Cert level.

The course includes foundation disciplines of education including assessment, inclusive education, history and policy of Irish education, philosophy, sociology and psychology.

Students choose, as their main subject, one specialisation from: English, modern languages, science, religious education, Irish, maths and history. There’s a school placement and a substantial school-based research project in the second year. Cost: €5,898


Top five courses:
1. MSc Management Suite (Business/Cloud Computing/Digital Marketing/Strategy)
2. MSc Computing
3. Professional Master of Education
4. MSc Biomedical Diagnostics
5. MA Journalism


Spotlight on . . . MSc Management

DCU has a suite of three master’s in management courses: digital marketing, management and strategy. With a combined enrolment of 107 students, they’re the most popular postgraduate courses in the university.

The Msc in Management (Digital Marketing) can be taken on a full-time basis over 12 months or part-time over 24 months. With big data and technology revolutionising marketing and communication, the course equips students with skills and knowledge to work in the digital ecosystem. The course costs €7,950 full-time and € 13,000 part-time .

The MSc in Management (Business) is a one-year, full-time course focused on management innovation.

It is designed for non-business graduates who will be prepared for managing and leading organisations, with core and elective subjects including accounting, economics, marketing, consulting skills and business process innovation. The course costs € 7,995.

Finally, the MSc in Management (Strategy) is a one-year, full-time course which aims to develop graduates who can identify and analyse the best available data to make better strategic decisions for organisations.

Strategy and leadership, technology management and consulting skills are among the core and elective options. The course costs €7,995.

Maynooth University

Top five courses:
1. MSc Business Management
2. MA Community and Youth Work
3. MSc Immunology and Global Health
4. MA Military History
5. MSc Geographical Information Systems and Remote Sensing

Spotlight on . . . MSc Business Management

One-year full-time, two-year part-time This is a one-year conversion master’s open to BA and BSc graduates from all disciplines and to those with substantial business experience without a business degree. The MSc Business Management introduces students to a range of topics such as organisational behaviour, strategy, marketing, business ethics and international management and develops their knowledge to postgraduate expertise.

Students access leading business thinking, apply contemporary management theory and practices, research business solutions through team and individual assignments and a business research project or dissertation with industry partners including AIB, House of Ireland, Ernst & Young, Intel and others. The programme is intensive and fast-paced, bringing students on a high growth learning experience over 12 months full-time or 24 months part-time.

Modules are over two semesters with the business research project during May and August.

Candidates must have a minimum 2.2 honours degree in a non-business discipline. Applicants without a degree but with at least 10 years’ relevant work experience including at least three years in a management position, will also be considered. Cost: €7,800



Top five courses:
1. MSc Nursing (Psychosocial Interventions in Mental Health Care)
2. MSc in Occupational Therapy (Professional Qualification)
3. MSc Speech & Language Therapy (Professional Qualification)
4. MSc in Work and Organisation Psychology/ Behaviour
5. MSc in Project Management

Spotlight on . . . MSc Nursing (Psychosocial Interventions in Mental Health Care)

This programme gives registered nurses the chance to develop and enhance their knowledge and skills to implement evidence-based psychosocial interventions in a range of mental health settings. Students learn how to use evidence to inform their nursing practice in monitoring, co-ordinating and managing care; critically review innovations and developments in nursing; collaborate with multidisciplinary teams; critically evaluate and conduct research around specialist and advanced nursing; and more.

Entrants must be registered nurses who have worked for at least a year and have a primary degree or evidence of other recognised prior learning.

There are currently 36 students enrolled in this two-year programme. Although it is listed as full-time, it is taken on a part-time basis. Students take six modules in year one and a research dissertation in year two. They also have to fulfil 1,100 hours of clinical practice. Students attend the university for 13 days in year one and one introductory day in year two, as well as meeting their academic supervisor throughout the year.

Modules include health research, clinical practice, psychosocial interventions, and promoting quality and safety in health care. Cost: €4,200 per annum


Top five courses:
1. Professional Master of Education – (Post-Primary Teacher Training)
2. MSc Information Systems for Business Performance (MSc)
3. MSc in Biotechnology
4. Master’s in Public Health (MPH)
5. MA in Applied Psychology


Spotlight on . . . MSc Biotechnology

This one-year course is designed to provide students with the theoretical and practical skills for employment in the biomedical research, biopharmaceuticals, agrochemicals and biotechnology industries. Some students also go on to study for a PhD. There are currently around 40 students on this course, which includes modules in advanced molecular microbial biotechnology, cell and molecular biology, functional foods for health, genetic engineering and biopharmaceuticals. Students attend six months of lectures, lab sessions, career workshops and industry seminars before going on to complete a six-month research project.

This is UCC’s most popular MSc course. The curriculum is industry-led, and students can complete a six-month placement in industry or an academic research laboratory. Each year, more than 70 per cent of UCC’s students gain employment while about 20 per cent of graduates progress to international PhD s.

Applicants must have a minimum 2.2 honours degree or equivalent in subjects related to the Msc programme. Consideration will also be given to graduates with relevant industrial experience. Cost: €7,000

NUI Galway

Top five courses:
1. MSc Regenerative Medicine
2. MSc Toxicology
3. Master of Accounting
4. MSc (Occupational Health & Safety)
5. MSc (Software Design & Development)


Spotlight on . . . MSc Software Design & Development


This course is designed for students with little or no IT experience, with training in software development techniques, tools and essential academic foundations.

The programme provides students with the skills, conceptual frameworks, methods, technologies and experience of software development for a career in the IT industry.

Students cover a range of topics including databases, software engineering, Java programming, internet programming, computer networks, research methods and career routes. It also develops students’ research capabilities and allows them to pursue a substantial research project in an aspect of computing.

Graduates find careers in the software industry or sectors such as telecoms, medical informatics, energy informatics, digital media, banking and consulting. Graduates have gone on to work in a range of big companies including Ericsson, Starlight Solutions and Fidelity Investments.

There are 43 students enrolled in this two-year, full-time course. The programme is sponsored by the Graduate Skills Conversion Programme, an initiative of the Higher Education Authority. Students can leave the programme after one year with a higher diploma.

Applicants must have a minimum 2.2 honours degree or equivalent. Cost: € 3,500 per annum



Top five courses:
1. Msc in Computer Science
2. Msc in Forensic Computing and Cybercrime Investigation
3. Msc Management
4. Professional Master’s in Education
5. Master of Architecture


Spotlight on . . . Master of Architecture


This two-year, full-time programme equips students with the ability to tackle complex design problems in challenging contexts and fulfils the requirements for the second part of professional education in architecture. Students undertake studio projects, academic writing and practical experiments which develop their professional capacities while also emphasising research and critical enquiry.

Students learn to perform to a high level as an architect, devise and develop creative solutions to complex problems, engage through architecture with contemporary societal and environmental issues, and to work in teams with related disciplines. There is a strong emphasis on research and on critical, reflective practice with teaching delivered in small, intensive groups. This programme is hooked into a well developed and extensive international exchange network, with more than 60 per cent of students availing of study abroad options.

Applicants will usually have a bachelor’s level architecture degree or another approved equivalent with a minimum of six semesters of architectural education. Applicants with a UCD Bachelor of Architecture degree or an approved equivalent from another institution can apply for direct entry to year two. Graduates go on to work in architectural practice and other professional creative practice, as well as in policy and consultancy. Cost: €6,920

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection


Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.