Postgraduate Study Trends

postgrad courses irelandThe postgraduate sector has been in a state of uncertainty during recent years, the cutting of postgraduate student grants has been one issue to have an impact, as has the large numbers of graduates not finding their place in the employment sector.

A recent report by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) on the first destinations of students after they have graduated shows the rate at which further study options have been chosen and, unsurprisingly, there was an increase in the number of graduates applying for further study in 2009 at the height of the recession; with 44% of graduates applying for further study and employment levels decreasing.

Since then, the number of graduates applying for further study has normalised and figures from 2012 show that 37% of graduates applied for further study while 52% were employed nine months after they graduated.

Seamus McEvoy, head of career services at UCC says that applying for postgraduate studies gives students a time to grow up and decide what they want to do. It also appears that having a postgraduate qualification ensures a better income.

Eilis O’Brien, communications director at UCD, says that there is a link between the qualification a student achieves and the amount of money they earn. She say that students with postgraduate degrees tend to earn more within a shorter period of time. While the cuts to the postgraduate grants have been tough on students, particularly those who do not have any other financial support, McEvoy says that students seem to be choosing postgraduate study regardless, viewing it as a necessary extension of their degree.

ICT skills are very valuable for students to have, according to O’Brien, and there is a good success rate in students being employed having completed graduate degrees and conversion courses in this area. O’Brien also advised graduates to think beyond the big postgraduate courses to the smaller ones in many different areas.

Below are just some of the postgraduate course providers to consider when choosing a course:

PCI College is located in Dublin but also has branches in Athlone, Cork, Kilkenny and Limerick. It is Ireland’s leading provider of training in counselling and psychotherapy and offers a range of postgraduate courses including Postgraduate Certificate in Psychology and Postgraduate Certificate in Child and Adolescent Counselling and Psychotherapy.

IADT Dun Laoghaire offers courses in creative and technology based areas and there is a large selection of postgraduate courses to choose from such as MA in Public Culture Studies, MSc in Cyberpsychology and MA in Screenwriting for Film and Television. There is also the opportunity to apply for an MA in Broadcast Production for Radio and Television. For more information on how to apply for this contact the college directly.

The Communications and Management Institute (CMI) is based in Dublin and offers a wide range of postgraduate courses that are industry focused and career orientated. Courses available include Management Postgraduate Diploma, HR Management Advanced Diploma and Management Studies Graduate Diploma.

The Institute of Public Administration (IPA) works to increase co-operation and understanding between public servants and the public and helps in the continual development of the public sector. The IPA also provides a range of courses such as a Doctorate in Governance, a Postgraduate Diploma in Public Management and Master of Arts and a Postgraduate Diploma (and Master of Economic Science) in Policy Analysis.

NUI Galway is one of the country’s leading centres of academia and offers a large selection of postgraduate courses such as a Masters of Arts in Adult Learning and Development, Postgraduate Certificate in Biomedical Science and Practice Based Play Therapy.

Author: Fiona McBennett