There are a number of reasons why you might want to undertake further study after your initial course. For example:
- it might be required for entry to your chosen profession (as in the case of teaching, social work, medicine etc.)
- it can allow you to “convert” to a new discipline, e.g. computer science, business, law etc
- you want to specialise in a particular area
If you are considering further study there are some key questions you need to ask yourself:
- what is your motivation? Will further study bring you closer to achieving your career goals or are you just enjoying college so much you don’t want to leave?!
- are you genuinely interested in the subject you are planning to study?
- what are the employment prospects for graduates of the programme?
- how will you fund your studies?
Application deadlines and processes for graduate study programmes differ so you need to make sure you check the relevant dates and requirements for any programme you are considering. For most programmes you will be required to complete an online application form, provide a transcript of your academic results and give two academic references. Some applications will also require you to complete a personal statement (also referred to as statement of motivation).
If you are planning to complete further study in the USA you may be required to sit a standardised test in advance; for example the Graduate Management Admissions Tests (GMAT) or Graduate Record Exam (GRE). If you are planning to do graduate entry medicine you will also need to complete a standardised test. In Ireland the Graduate Medical Schools Admissions Test (GAMSAT) is used. Make sure you factor these types of requirements into your application timeline.
In the Career Development Centre resource room we have a range of publications proving advice and guidance on graduate study applications, including practice GMAT and GRE tests.
Whether you are choosing to study full-time or part-time, funding can be an issue for many postgraduate students due to course fees rising annually and funding opportunities becoming scarce. For some, part-time work can be a good way to support your studies whilst also developing your skills at the same time.
You can find information on student grants available in Ireland on the Citizens Information website. The Irish Research Council manages a suite of inter-linked research schemes, funding scholars at various career stages, including postgraduate study. It’s also worth checking with the university you are planning to attend whether there are any scholarships or bursaries you might be eligible for.
If you would like to research graduate study options, you may find the following resources helpful:
Interviews with Reseaechers - conducted by gradireland, in partnership with the Irish Research Council to help students considering undertaking postgraduate research to understand better what is involved; the different Programmes available; funding; skills development; and potential careerpaths open to them after completing their research.
postgradireland.com - find postgraduate courses and research programmes at universities and colleges in Ireland, Northern Ireland and beyond, plus advice on making effective applications and funding options
Prospects - browse thousands of postgraduate research and taught courses throughout the UK and find information on making applications and funding options
Masters Study Portal - find and compare postgraduate degrees from top universities worldwide
Education USA – information on graduate study in the USA
Top Universities - discover the world's top universities with the QS World University Rankings® – the most widely read university comparison of their kind
UCAS: How to write a personal statement - tips on writing an effective personal statement