When paying their way is not an option for graduates

University scholarships and bursaries can make further study a possibility for many

You may have to search long and hard, as many scholarships and bursaries are not widely publicised or promoted

You may have to search long and hard, as many scholarships and bursaries are not widely publicised or promoted


If you’re looking for funding that could make the difference between being able to pursue postgraduate study or not, the good news is there are far more sources out there than you might think.

The catch, of course, is that you may have to search long and hard, as many scholarships and bursaries are not widely publicised or promoted. Mining all the university websites is a good start, but also check out the websites studentfinance.ie and gradireland.com.

We’ve put together a small selection of potential sources of postgraduate funding still available for the academic year 2016/2017, of both taught courses and research-based study. These include universities’ own internal funds, State-sponsored schemes and a variety of external third-party funds backed by charities or foundations, and including options for overseas study.

The application deadlines for many other schemes and funds have already passed at the time of going to press, but as well as those detailed below, there still remain a good few with closing dates anytime between now and July.

You don’t have to be a high-achieving student in all cases, but it helps if you have at least a 2.1 in your primary degree.

University funding

The John and Pat Hume Doctoral Awards scheme is offering a number of scholarships providing fees support and €4,000 a year for four years of PhD research across all disciplines at Maynooth University.

There are also €5,000 Alumni scholarships for Maynooth graduates to do taught master’s courses at the university, with a further 60 scholarships worth €2,000 for all graduates.

Trinity College Dublin has no funding for taught postgraduate courses but there are a variety of studentships and fellowships for research students across all disciplines, including almost 40 funded by largely private donations, bequests and bursaries ranging from a mere € 63 to more than € 16,000 a year.

UCD has a number of small scholarships, bursaries and awards for top-performing prospective and current postgraduate students, such as the €6,300 Caroline Walsh Bursary in Creative Writing, while the Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School’s Aspire Scholarship programme offers three MBA and nine MSc scholarships for those who could not otherwise afford to study at the school.

NUI Galway has 100 postgraduate scholarships worth €2,000 each for those who have been accepted onto a full-time taught master’s programme and who have obtained a first-class honours primary degree, plus a number of other course-specific scholarships for high-achieving students.

There is a long list of school-specific and course-specific scholarships at UCC that will cover course fees, such as the “Excellence” fees scholarships for applicants who intend starting a taught master’s or a one-year research master’s (MRes) in the College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences.

UL has a number of course-specific scholarships for taught postgraduate programmes, such as those offered by the Kemmy Business School valued at € 2,000 each, as well as lucrative PhD scholarships in science and engineering worth up to € 23,500 a year for four years.

The Enterprise Partnership scheme, which awards co-funded postgraduate scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships to the most promising researchers in Ireland, is an Irish Research Council initiative in partnership with private enterprises and public bodies. See Research.ie.

The Central Remedial Clinic offers an annual scholarship for a student with a disability.

The scholarship is reserved for a student undertaking a postgraduate degree and is open to any academic discipline. The grant covers one academic year of study. See Crc.ie.

Northern Ireland

Queen’s University Belfast offers a wide range of annual university studentships for both taught and research programmes, which cover the full payment of tuition fees and include a maintenance allowance.

Queen’s also offers a number of other annual scholarships ranging from € 650 to €5,000, and links to further external funding sources.

Funding is available for both taught and research postgraduate study at the University of Ulster in the form of both studentships and scholarships, such as the Barnett Pharmaceutical Sciences Scholarship worth €10,000 for students on the MSc in Pharmaceutical Sciences programme.

North/South Postgraduate scholarships is a cross-Border scheme offering four scholarships worth €15,000 to high-achieving students from the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland who have been accepted on a recognised master’s degree or are entering the first year of a PhD at a university that is not in the same jurisdiction as the institution where they previously studied. See Universitiesireland.ie.

Universities Ireland will offer four “history bursaries” worth € 6,500 to students undertaking post-graduate study on a topic relating to the 1912-1923 period in Ireland, the decade of the first World War and the division of the island into the states of Ireland (Irish Free State) and Northern Ireland.

Overseas scholarships

The Fulbright Irish Student Awards are for Irish students and scholars to undertake postgraduate study and research at recognised colleges and academic institutions in the US.

The student grant – the value of which varies depending on a number of factors – is only available for one year but students may remain in the US for the full duration of master’s and PhD programmes. See fulbright.ie.

The German Government Awards scheme offers one-year grants for graduate students in any discipline who want to study at a German institution. The value is €750 per month plus an initial extra payment and a lump sum towards travel. See daad.de.

Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London, which offers courses to those who want to move into the art business, offers scholarships to applicants of all nationalities for certain MA courses and provides funding based on the income of its students. See sothebysinstitute.com.