Further Study

People choose to undertake upon further study for different reasons. Further study provides a chance to progress to a higher qualification, learn new skills, or a way to continue studying a subject you love. Whatever you decide, it is important to think about whether progressing to further study will benefit your career in the long run.

For more, read on or consult our handouts.

Why do further study?

Advanced Entry

If you have already completed a third level course (e.g., a Certificate or Diploma) and are looking to progress onto a Diploma or Degree course, you can apply to third level institutions using their Advanced Entry Application process. Each college will have it's own application procedures therefore it is important to contact the admissions office of each institution directly. See our Advanced Entry handout

Postgraduate study

Often called ‘graduate study’ it refers to any course of study, usually Level 9 or 10, which can be undertaken after completion of an undergraduate degree (normally at level 8).  Before you make a decision about postgraduate study you need to clarify your motives and what it is you want to achieve. It depends on your career objective, but postgrad study can be very intensive in terms of your time, effort and money so you should ask yourself:  

  • Are you interested in the subject?
  • Do you want to become more specialised in an aspect of your primary degree?
  • Is a professional postgraduate qualification essential for your career e.g., law, teaching, psychology etc., and helpful in others e.g., journalism, human resource management, politics, economics?
  • Do you want to increase your skills? 
  • Will it improve your employment prospects?
  • Do you want to change career direction or achieve a complementary qualification and do a conversion course

There are many good reasons to choose postgraduate study. A bad one is that you cannot think of what else to do or to assume that it will automatically enhance your job prospects.Whatever your reason, make sure you research your options before embarking on a postgraduate qualification.

What are your options?

Advanced Entry

If you have already completed a third level course (e.g., a Certificate or Diploma) and are looking to progress onto a Diploma or Degree course, you can apply to third level institutions using the Advanced Entry Application Form. Each college will have it's own application procedures therefore it is important to contact the admissions office of each institution directly. See our Advanced Entry handout.

Postgraduate study – a postgraduate diploma or certificate, a Master's or PhD/Doctorate, may be through a taught course or through research.

See the National Framework of Qualifications for further information on the 10 levels of nationally agreed standards of qualification.


These are typically Postgraduate Certificates, Diplomas and Masters Degrees and are similar in format to undergraduate courses. Certificates may be shorter than diplomas. Diplomas may run for an academic year as do the taught elements of most masters and are normally full-time programmes.


These are almost invariably Master’s and Doctorate programmes. Some require a Masters as a prerequisite. The best-known research qualification is the PhD,   Other possible courses are MA and MSc degrees by research and the MPhil, which are sometimes taken before embarking on a PhD.  Research masters normally takes between one and two years to complete full-time, while the minimum time required for a PhD/Doctorate is three years.

Conversion Courses:

A conversion programme enables graduates of one discipline to acquire a qualification in a different discipline at Postgraduate Diploma and Masters Level. Having studied a particular degree you may decide that you wish to change your career path and consider undertaking a conversion programme at DIT

Conversion courses are typically, one-year taught postgraduate courses and can be found in most subject areas, with a high concentration in business, arts and computing  A conversion course can also provide an opportunity if you didn’t feel you reached your full potential at undergraduate level to redress the balance.

For a list of courses see Postgradireland  www.postgradireland.com

Partially funded ICT Conversion Courses  - The aim of the Graduate Skills Conversion Programme (GSCP) is to provide graduates with the opportunity to acquire qualifications for employment in the ICT area.  A composite/funded fee applies to all courses under the programme.  http://www.hea.ie/en/skills%20funding

Training for Professional Recognition/Accreditatio:

Many industries require professionals in their area to complete specific training programmes in order to gain full professional recognition (e.g. chartered status), or as part of continued professional development (CPD). Engineering and Accountancy would be examples of two such professions. Professional recognition/accreditation (and often the related training) would typically be managed by recognised professional bodies in the respective industries. Training may either be completed prior to taking a position in the industry, in the earlier years of a career or ongoing throughout a career.  Employees may also be required to make submissions/reports/logs or complete interviews or presentations in order to demonstrate the required knowledge and skills.

See the College-Specific ‘Useful Links’ handout for your course area for a list of professional bodies.

Researching your options

Postgraduate programmes are offered by public and private colleges in a number of different ways: You will normally need a 2.1 Honours Degree in a relevant field in order to progress to postgraduate study. A 2.2  Honours is often the minimum requirement.

Find out what is available and choose the best option to suit your needs. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you want to do a taught or research programme?
  • What do you want to do – a diploma, masters ore a professional qualification?
  • Do you want to study full-time, part-time or by distance learning?
  • When should you undertake graduate study – immediately after graduating or later on?
  • What are the application procedures and what fees and funding are involved?
  • Find out too about:
  • the reputation of the programme - talk to lecturers, past graduates, possible employers
  • the employment record of past graduates - the careers service will have 1st destination statistics of those who have already graduated from the course
  • what facilities are available to you
  • What is the financial cost


Courses with the same name don't necessarily have the same content - get prospecti, talk to course tutors in the institution you are applying to and in your own institution.

 There may be a requirement to spend some time outside the college in a work placement, or carrying out projects, etc.

Where can you study?





There are many reasons to look overseas for your postgraduate study. You may wish to study with a world-class academic in your subject; research may be more easily carried out in the country to which it relates; fees may be lower or funding more readily available; you may already have friends or family there or you may just wish to live as a student in a different country and culture.

Whatever your reasons, postgraduate study in another country is a real possibility and many overseas universities actively encourage applications from international students. However, you need to begin planning earlier than you would for study in Ireland. 



How to apply

The most popular postgraduate study options can be oversubscribed and you will be accepted only if your application stands out. Choose your path well in advance and engage in activities which demonstrate that you have the skills and commitment required. Above all, your application should show that you are genuinely committed to your area of study.  

It is best to apply early. Closing dates vary from course to course. Some may be as early as December/January. Others stay open for applications until August. November, prior to the year of entry is a good time to start making enquiries. Application forms usually become available around December. By February you should be starting to narrow down your choices.

An exception to this is the Graduate Diploma in Education for primary http://postgradireland.com/course/7368 and secondary teaching qualification www.pac.ie.

Some colleges use their own application forms, however many ask that you apply through the Postgraduate Application Centre www.pac.ie.

Closing dates for application to overseas universities may be as early as November or December prior to entry year.  For the USA and Canada, early application up to fifteen months in advance of the entry date, along with an early sitting of the GRE (or the Graduate Management Admission Test – GMAT – for business courses) is essential.

The deadline for applications for scholarships and grants is often earlier than the normal closing date.

Personal Statement

Most applications require a personal statement and it is a very important part of your application. In your statement, you will be expected to prove your commitment and skills in relation to the course and your chosen career. You are also usually asked to name your referees or send a reference.

Fees and Funding

Fees can vary from course to course and from institution to institution. The level of fees may depend on whether labs, special equipment or highly expert training is required.

You need to also take into account the cost of living - food, travel, accommodation, etc.

  • Postgraduate Diplomas & Masters - you may have to pay in full. 
  • PhD - universities may have funds (studentships, scholarships) to attract the best. Governments advertise these also, including Irish agencies, such as, IRCSET and IRCHSS.


  • The best source of information on funding is the college postgraduate office or department to whom you are interested in applying.
  • Many students financing part or all of their studies themselves, e.g. bank loans.
  • Check out available scholarships

Funding sources and scholarships


  • How to Apply for Funding
  • How to Fund your Course
  • Funding From Research Councils
  • Funding Outside Ireland  
  • Cross Border Costs and Funding  
  • Funding your Research  
  • New Grant Applications 2012
  • Postgraduate Funding - is there any still out there?
  • Opportunities Abroad for Postgraduate Research/Study & Other Offers  See Department of  Education and Skills
  • The Graduate Skills Conversion Programme (GSCP) The aim of the programme is to provide graduates with the opportunity to acquire qualifications for employment in the ICT area.  A composite fee applies to all courses under the programme.  http://www.hea.ie/en/skills%20funding
Scholarships and other useful sources of funding in Ireland
  • Irish Research Council  Employment Based Postgraduate Programme 2015 Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship 2015 and Enterprise Partnership Scheme 
  • Provides awards for postgraduate research in Science, Engineering and Technology with an emphasis on innovation
  • The Arts Council - www.artscouncil.ie
  • The Arts Council expresses its support to the artist in a variety of ways, through grant-aid to organisations, events and production companies, and more explicitly through awards and schemes where the primary relationship is between the artist and the Council.
  • Combat Poverty Agency Fellowships - https://www.welfare.ie/en/Pages/home.aspx
  • Support for students undertaking postgraduate research on poverty.
  • Department of Education & Skills - www.irlgov.ie/educ
  • The Department provides a number of scholarships to students wishing to study in Ireland.
  • Enterprise Ireland - www.enterprise-ireland.com
  • Enterprise Ireland offer funding through their postgraduate awards programme for scientists and engineers.
  • Health Research Board - www.hrb.ie
  • The HRB is the lead agency in Ireland supporting health research. The Research Funding and Policy Division funds health research in other organisations and contributes to the development of research at national level.
  • The Ireland Funds - www.irlfunds.org
  • The mission of The Ireland Funds is to be the largest worldwide network of people of Irish ancestry and friends of Ireland dedicated to raising funds to support programs of peace and reconciliation, arts and culture, education and community development
  • National Disability Authority-http://nda.ie/
  • For postgraduates from any academic discipline to promote research on disability, rehabilitation and related matters.
  • O'Reilly Foundation Scholarships - www.oreillyfoundation.ie
  • PhD Scholarships, with preference being given to Business Studies, Law, Marketing, Media Studies, Technology and the Arts.
  • Royal Irish Academy - www.ria.ie/awards/awards.html
  • The Academy awards approximately sixty research grants each year in both the humanities and the natural science. Includes Eoin O'Mahony Bursary in History.
  • Science Foundation Ireland - www.sfi.ie
  • SFI provides grants for researchers from around the world and based in Ireland, for outstanding research visitors, for conferences and symposia, and for collaboration with industry.
  • Teagasc - www.teagasc.ie/research/pgradfellows.htm
  • Irish Agriculture and Food Development Agency Walsh Fellowships. For topics on all aspects of agriculture, horticulture, food, agri-food economics, rural development and rural environment, as well as specific topics identified for priority funding each year.
  • Funding for studying abroad
  • Postgradireland www.postgradireland.com