Graduate Taught Courses
Graduate taught courses, such as Graduate Certificates, Graduate Diplomas or taught MA or MSc courses are usually taken by students who hold an undergraduate degree. The majority of the course will involve taking taught modules. In order to graduate with a Masters you will typically need to complete a dissertation.
National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ)
The NFQ is a ten-level system (1–10) giving an academic or vocational value to qualifications obtained in Ireland. UCD Graduate Courses have associated levels assigned to them in accordance with this framework.
Graduate studies at UCD offer a modularised and credit-based curriculum:
Each module has a credit value typically ranging from 2.5 to 15 credits. This is calculated based on the total student effort. The total student effort includes time spent in-class - at lectures, seminars, laboratories, tutorials or workshops - and time spent on projects or assignments, as well as examinations. It also includes an estimate of independent study time.
One credit represents 20-25 hours of total student effort, therefore a standard 5 credit module represents 100-125 hours of student effort.
NFQ Level: 8
Duration: Typically 1 year
Transfer & Progression: Masters Degree/Graduate Diploma
Also known as conversion courses as they allow the student to gain knowledge in an area not covered by their undergraduate degree.
Graduate Diploma - Level 9 (60-80 Credits)
NFQ Level: 9
Duration: Typically 1 Year
Transfer & Progression: Masters Degree or it can be offered as a completely separate course.
NFQ Level: 9
Duration: Typically 1 or 2 years depending on the course of study.
Transfer & Progression: Doctoral Degrees (Subject to School Admission Policy)
The normal requirement is a second class honours degree, grade one (2:1). You should check the specific entry requirements for the course that you intend to apply for. Some courses may require a higher standard for entry.
For applicants who do not have the required minimal entry standard, a year-long qualifying course may be available. In addition, many Master’s programmes have an associated Diploma course which, if passed at an appropriate honours level, may provide part of the necessary academic qualification for entry.
Recognition of Prior Learning
Credit may be awarded within a course for certificated or experiential prior learning, achieved outside of that course. This is subject to Board approval. Please see Recognition of Prior Learning Policy
English Language Requirement
Courses in UCD are taught in English. Applicants must achieve the minimum standard in a recognised English language test. Please note, some courses may require a higher standard for entry. Please check the entry requirements of the course that you intend to apply for.
UCD's graduate taught courses can be applied for online* With some exceptions, courses open for application on 1 October each year and generally remain open to applications until all places are filled. Some courses have specific closing dates please check with your course co-ordinator for more details.
*Applications for the Professional Master of Education and the Grad Diploma in Public Health Nursing need to made through the PAC website.
Resources to help you with your application
*Applications for the Professional Master of Education and the Grad Diploma in Public Health Nursing need to made through the PAC website.
An application fee is required for most application types. This is payable during the application process using credit or debit card. The application fee is €50 (2016/2017) regardless of the number of courses you apply for.
Once you submit your online application, a list of required documents will be emailed to you. The documentation required varies depending on the course you have applied for.
- Assess the academic abilities and motivation of the applicant
- Usually written in the referee’s own words unless a specific format has been requested
- Applicants can request copies of any references submitted as part of the application process under the Freedom of Information Acts, 1997 and 2003.
Things to include:
- Explain why you are applying for your particular course:
- what attracts you to that subject area,
- how your studies and/or work experience has influenced you,
- career plans etc.
- Detail any work experience.
You may include your personal statement within the application form. If your answer is longer than 300 words please upload a document and indicate that this has been done in answer to that question.
- States the results of all the subjects for each year of your degree.
- Transcript is not the parchment and will not be accepted in place of a Transcript.
- Transcripts can be requested from your University.
- Via the upload facility which is available once the application has been submitted.
Documents may also be sent to:
Martin Hurley, Online Applications, Tierney Building, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
Application Review Process
Your application will be assessed, in the first instance, on the basis of the information you provide on your application form and the supporting documentation that you provide. Some programmes have specific application requirements and for some you may be required to attend for interview. Please note it is important to include all documents otherwise your application will be considered incomplete.
You can check the application status and whether your documents have been received by logging in and viewing your application.
UCD operates a rolling admissions policy for graduate taught courses with decisions being taken as soon as possible after receipt of completed applications. In general courses will remain open until such time as all places have been filled. However please note that some programmes may have specific closing dates. Please consult the course coordinator for more details.
View application FAQs here.
If you're planning to apply to a PhD programme in UCD you must research your target programme and contact a potential supervisor before you begin the application process.
Here are a few tips for how to start looking for a potential supervisor in UCD.
- UCD Graduate Studies Course finder link and find the research programme that best matches your skills and qualifications.
- Find a Researcher link facility. Here you can input a keyword associated with your preferred area of research and find a researcher working in that area
- What We Research link page to view the strategic research priorities of UCD
- UCD Schools webpages link to view the research being undertaken and the academic members of staff working in each area
- UCD Graduate Studies Scholarship Website link where funded graduate research positions are advertised
Once you've identified one or two potential supervisors, you should contact them by email. All supervisors receive many potential applications by email and so an email out of the blue is completely normal. Always customise the email to the specific member of staff. Here are some items to include in your initial contact email.
- Your name
- Academic background
- Academic awards or highlights
- Research experience
- Why you wish to enter doctoral studies
- Why the academic member of staff’s area of research will match with your research goals (cite the academic’s publications)
- Make it clear that you are familiar with their work and how their research interests mesh with your own
- A research proposal, if appropriate
- Ask them specifically if they are accepting new graduate students for the coming academic year.
Once you have the agreement of an academic member of staff to support your application to take a place on the School's PhD programme. In some schools you will apply via the UCD online applications system www.ucd.ie/apply in others, there will be a paper-based application process. The School will be able to advise you what the required application process is. You will be asked to provide your contact details, curriculum vitae and support documentation which may include:
Normally a proposal should be between 1,500 and 2,000 words and will include the following:
- A working title of the topic area:
- General overview of area: brief abstract of the general area of study and identify the discipline(s) within which it falls. You might also refer to the way in which your own background gives you competences in your chosen area.
- Identification of the relevant literature: demonstrate that you are aware of the debates and issues raised in relevant bodies of literature and demonstrate that your proposed area has not been studied before, so you need to identify your niche which will lead on to the thesis preparation.
- Key research questions: Since you need to demonstrate that the topic can be completed within the normal time period allowed, you need to demonstrate that it is manageable, and so focus on key questions within your niche area.
- Aims and objectives: State specific objectives of the research to be undertaken.
- Methodology: You need to demonstrate an awareness of the methodological tools available to you and show some understanding of which would be suitable for your research.
- Timescale/research planning: You need to demonstrate an awareness of the need for planning and the timescale of the research. Please try to prepare a realistic timescale.
- Bibliography: You should include a short list of references to key articles and texts included in the application.
- Avoid: Broad topic areas which would be unmanageable as research topics; Vague descriptions of research areas and Subject areas where your chosen School has no expertise.
The most important thing is to explain why you are applying for your particular programme: what attracts you to that subject area, how your studies and/or work experience has influenced you, career plans etc. The UCD Supporting Statement should also include details of any work experience. You can prepare your answers offline and copy and paste them in subsequently. You can enter a maximum of 32,000 characters in answer to any one question. If your answers are more than 2,000 characters in length you must save them in a word document which you can then upload after your application has been submitted, otherwise your answers will not be visible to the assessors.
A transcript is a document that states the results of all the subjects of all years that you did in your degree. Please note that the transcript is not the parchment that you would have received in your graduation. If you do not have a transcript, you can request this from your University.
Certain programmes will look for references that are able to provide details about your academic abilities and motivation. In some cases there will be specific referee forms available on the School site, however, in cases where references are required, the more normal request is for the referee to provide a letter of reference in his/her own words. UCD comes under the terms of the Freedom of Information Acts, 1997 and 2003. In the context of the Online Applications system, this means that an applicant can request any documentation presented as part of the applications process, including sealed references sent directly by the referee to the institution.
Your application will be reviewed by the School Graduate Committee and then the College Graduate School Board to determine your suitability to take a place on your chosen PhD programme. Your application will be assessed on the basis of your academic qualifications, the alignment of the proposed research with the Schools academic strategy, your personal statement and, where relevant, your English language proficiency. Only when you have been approved by the College Graduate School Board will you be eligible to register to the PhD programme. For this reason it is prudent that you make your application about two months prior to your expected start date. You can register for a PhD in UCD in September, January or May.
Welcome to University College Dublin and congratulations on being offered a place in one of Europe’s leading research intensive universities.
After you receive an offer you must respond to it by accepting or declining the offer. Full information on accepting/declining your offer will be provided in your offer email.
You must accept your offer in order to reserve your place at UCD. You may be required to pay a non-refundable deposit which will then be deducted from your fee obligations. Generally offers must be accepted and the deposit paid within 15 working days of date of the offer.
Types of Offer
An Unconditional Offer or Full Offer means that you have met all the entry requirements for the course.
A Conditional Offer means that you will be accepted if you meet certain additional requirements.
Meeting the Conditions of your Offer
English language condition
Teaching in Irish Universities is through the medium of English; therefore all applicants from Non-English speaking countries are required to demonstrate a high level of competence in English language.
If your offer is conditional upon obtaining a degree, the offer letter will state the level required. When your degree results are known, please upload a certified copy of your results. We may also ask for original transcripts to be mailed. Official translations must be provided with the original/copy documents where documents are not in English. Any offer will be conditional until we have received satisfactory original transcripts. Applicants who wish to have their original documentation returned should forward a stamped addressed envelope.
A deposit of €500 is payable to secure a place on most courses. Deposits are non-refundable. The deposit amount will be deducted from your fee obligation.
Proof of identity
Applicants should be aware that, if admitted to a course, they will be required to present either their birth certificate or passport as part of the registration process.
Deferring an Offer
If you are thinking of deferring your offer please contact the relevant school in the first instance.
A charge of €500 (effective since 2011) will continue to be applied to any applicant who receives a deferred offer of a place on a graduate taught course.
The charge will be set against the tuition fees for the subsequent year and is not an additional financial imposition on the applicant. Deferral students will no longer be required to submit an application for the subsequent term. Instead the Applications unit will manually transfer the application to the subsequent term, for any student who has received a deferred offer and paid the deferral charge.
An offer will subsequently be issued to the applicant who then needs to accept the deferred offer for the new term, as normal. This deferral procedure will also be applied to applicants of any other category of course type opened on the UCD Applications system. Such applicants will also be required to pay a deferral charge unless the course in question is one which does not require an application fee payment. The deferral charge may constitute the non-refundable deposit paid against a confirmed offer, in which case, if the applicant does not take up the deferred entry place the deposit paid/ deferral charge will be forfeited.
In cases where an applicant has been granted a deferral but the deferral charge is not paid within a specified timeframe at the discretion of Admissions/ School/ delegated authority, the deferred entry place will be forfeited and an application can be made the following year as normal and assessed in competition with other applicants. There is no onus on schools to offer a deferral facility if they do not wish to do so. Similarly if a school wishes to exclude specific courses from this process this is at their discretion. In the latter case the school should contact the Applications unit regarding the major codes which should be excluded.
Once you accept an offer the next step is Registration. Registration for the majority of programmes takes place in August and is done online. You will receive notification via email when Registration opens. Typically for courses starting in September, registration will open in August.
Paying your fees
On acceptance to a graduate programme students are required to pay fees. A detailed breakdown of your fee obligation as well as payment options is available on the ucd fees website.
Students may pay fees by semester:
- If you are on a 1 semester programme all fees must be paid in advance
- If you are on a 2 semester programme you may pay your fee in halves by semester
- If you are on a 3 semester programme you may pay your fee in thirds by semester
Please see payment dates for further information.
If you require a visa to study in Ireland, visa application requires that you pay the greater of €6,000 or half the tuition fee
How do I pay fees?
- If you have an Application Number or a Student Number you can pay directly by credit or debit card using UCD’s online payment facility. A receipt will be emailed to you at your default email address or another that you specify.
- Students making payments from outside Ireland may also pay UCD directly by International Bank Transfer to:
UCD Fees Account, Bank of Ireland,
College Green, Dublin 2. Ireland.
IBAN : IE82 BOFI 9000 1720 6115 11
Swift Code: BOFI IE 2D
If you use a direct payment method you will need to contact UCD for receipts relating to Visa applications etc. This may take some time; therefore we urge international students to use the PaytoStudy option to expedite payment and visa applications.
If you pay online you will be emailed a receipt. You may also print your own receipt for the current year.
For further information on UCD Fees website
Please note if you are a student from outside the European Union (EU) you may be required to apply for a study visa to travel to and study in the Republic of Ireland. To find out if you need a visa please visit www.inis.gov.ie. Please see the following department of justice web site for more information, http://www.justice.ie For further information that may be of interest to international students please visit: UCD Global
Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB)
All non-Irish nationals who are not citizens of the EU/EEA or Switzerland, must register in person with the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) after arrival and after completion of registration at UCD. The GNIB will issue you with a residence permit/GNIB card. For further information please visit: UCD Global
Working in Ireland
The Application Course Finder lists all courses available on the application system. Courses currently accepting applications are marked as ‘Open for Applications’.
In the Application Course Finder, you can refine the list of courses by using keywords or selecting from the Course Type, Discipline, College or Special Groups menus before searching. This will display all relevant courses in alphabetical order. You can click on the course title for more information.
To apply, please use the Apply button for that course. Please pay particular attention to the term and application type when applying.
Not all graduate research courses use the UCD online application system. You should check the course information for the correct application procedure. Please visit the UCD Graduate Studies website or the relevant School website.
If you select one of the menu options (for example, a particular discipline or Special Group), it will refine the search. Please be sure you have selected the correct option.
If you have already started an application for a particular course and search for it again, that course will not have an Apply button next to it in the Course Finder search results.
To return to an application you have already started, please log in to your application account on the UCD Applications website by clicking on the Sign in to Existing Account link and then selecting My Applications.
With some exceptions, courses open for application on 1 October each year and generally remain open to applications until all places are filled. If there is a specific closing date for applications to a particular course, it will be listed in the Course Finder.
If a closing date is not listed there, the relevant School may be able to advise you further. Please click here for UCD Schools’ contact details.
To confirm whether there is a known opening date for a course that is currently closed to applications, please contact the relevant School directly.
To return to your the application account, please go to www.ucd.ie/apply, click on the ‘Sign in to Existing Account’ link and then select ‘My Applications’ to access the login screen.
Why do I see a ‘your login rights have expired’ message when I try to log in to my application account?
This message means that your new application record was merged with an existing UCD student number/applicant ID.
You will receive an automatic email when your application record is merged, explaining how to log in to your account in future. If you still experience a difficulty logging in, you can contact the UCD Applications team.
Both your applicant ID number (which is your unique reference on the system) and application number (which is the unique number of the individual application) are listed in the Personal Details section of your application.
To access your application account, please go to the UCD Applications website, click on the Sign in to Existing Account link and then My Applications to log in.
You can also find your applicant ID number in the automatic email you receive when you create an application account. Please check your junk/spam folder in case it was misdirected.
It is not possible to change the course after the application has been submitted.
If you have applied for the wrong course, you can use the Withdraw button in your application to cancel it. You can create a new application for the correct course by clicking on the Start a New Application button in your application account.
You will not need to enter all of your details again; personal/contact details and previous education/employment details are saved in your application account.
Please do not use the Withdraw button if you wish to edit your application; this button will cancel your application and it is not possible to start a second application for the same course.
With the exception of your contact details, it is not possible to edit the information included in an application after you submit it.
If there is additional information you wish to include, you can upload it as a Word document in the Additional Documentation section of the checklist.
Please do not use the Withdraw button if you wish to edit or amend your application; this button will cancel your application and it is not possible to start a second application for the same course. If you withdraw your application by mistake, please contact the UCD Applications team.
With the exception of your contact details, it is not possible to edit the information included in an application after you submit it. If there is additional information you wish to include, you can upload it as a Word document in the Additional Documentation section of the checklist.
If you have not submitted the application, it will not go forward to be assessed and you can simply disregard it.
If you have submitted the application, you can use the ‘Withdraw’ button (which is beside to the application status in your application) to cancel the application.
An application fee is payable for each term (e.g. for entry in September). You can make as many applications as you wish for the same term, with one application fee payment.
If you apply for a different term (e.g. for entry in January), that will require a separate application fee payment.
The application fee is €50. You can pay the application fee by credit or debit card in the checklist section of your application.
The UCD Fee Payments office provides tips for those who encounter a difficulty making payments and information on alternative methods of payment.
Bank of Ireland, College Green, Dublin 2
Bank Sort Code: 90-00-17
Bank Account Number: 20611511
IBAN Number: IE82 BOFI 9000 1720 6115 11
When making payment by bank transfer, applicants must include their applicant ID/student number as a reference.
The preferred method is the upload facility in your application checklist (except for the work reference required for Nursing and Midwifery). Where documents are not in English, you must provide official translations.
Alternatively, you can post hard copy documents to the following address:
University College Dublin
Applicants posting hard copy documents for the Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School should use the following address:
Smurfit School Admissions
UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School
Please note that it is the applicant’s responsibility to submit and complete their application on time, including all required supporting items. Failure to do so may mean that the application cannot be considered.
Why does the email I received after submitting my application include required supporting items, when I have already provided them?
The automatic email includes a list of all required items for the course selected. This is for information purposes; the list will be in the email even if you have already provided some or all of the items.
You can view your application, including the checklist, by going to the UCD Applications website, clicking on the Sign in to Existing Account link and then selecting My Applications.
If reference letters are listed in your application checklist, you should note that some courses require that hard copies of letters be submitted. If hard copies are not required, the letters can be uploaded in your application checklist.
In cases where hard copies are required, either you or your referees can send the reference letters to the UCD Applications team. We will upload them to your application. Our postal address is:
University College Dublin
Normally, academic references should be received in sealed envelopes written on headed paper. Some courses use specific reference forms, which can be found on their website.
Please ensure your referee includes your full name and your application number or applicant ID number so that we can match the letter to your application.
Please note that UCD comes under the terms of the Freedom of Information Acts, 1997 and 2003. In the context of the UCD application system, this means that an applicant can request any documentation presented as part of the application process, including sealed references sent directly by the referee to UCD.
A transcript is the document that states the results of every subject you did in each year of your qualification.
Please note that the transcript is not the parchment that you received at your graduation. If you do not have a transcript, you can request it from your university/college/institution.
To confirm whether there is a deadline for supporting documentation, please contact the relevant School directly.
UCD Applications uploads the supporting documents we receive, in order of receipt. After we do this, you will be able to see the documents in your application checklist.
We aim to upload documents as quickly as possible following receipt; due to the large volume of documents we receive, the checklist may not be updated on the day your documents are received.
If documents were sent to another office/unit, they may not be uploaded to your application checklist. You should contact the relevant office/unit directly to confirm receipt.
UCD operates a rolling admissions policy for graduate taught courses, with decisions issued as soon as possible after a submitted and complete application is received. An application is incomplete until you provide all required items on the checklist (including the application fee, if applicable).
Generally, courses will remain open to applications until all places are filled. Please note that some courses may have a specific closing date for applications. Please consult the Course Finder or contact the relevant School directly
No confirmation email issues when a conditional offer is accepted. You can view your updated application status in your account.
To return to your application account, please go to the UCD Applications website, click on the Sign in to Existing Account link and then My Applications to log in.
A deposit is payable to secure a place on most courses. Deposits are non-refundable. If you receive an offer and a deposit is payable, it will appear in your application checklist. You can pay the deposit using a credit/debit card or one of the alternative methods of payment.
Generally, you must accept an offer and pay the deposit within 14 days of the offer date, unless indicated otherwise in your offer letter.
Any request to extend the deadline for accepting an offer should be made directly to the office that issued the offer. Please see your offer letter for relevant contact details.
UCD has a comprehensive payments and refunds policy. Students who accept an offer of a place in UCD also accept the terms and workings of this policy.
Please contact the relevant School directly to request a refund of a deposit payment.
In accordance with the Distance Selling Regulations, application fees are refundable upon written request within 14 days from date of receipt of payment. Please include your UCD student number/ applicant ID number. If the request is in accordance with the Distance Selling Regulations, the refund will be processed and the relevant application(s) cancelled.
Please note that by submitting an application, you consent to the University proceeding with processing your application. If the University issues a decision in respect of your application within 14 days, you will lose your right to cancel and request a refund. This is because the application process will have been fully performed by the University.
If your application is successful, an offer will be entered on the system. You will receive an automatic email to say there has been activity in your account.
When you accept a full (i.e unconditional) offer, a UCD student record will be created for you. If you have an existing UCD student number, you will continue to use it. If you do not have an existing UCD student number, one will be created for you.
You will receive an automatic email confirming your acceptance and informing you of your UCD student number.
Please contact the Student Desk team using the Student Desk Connector
As the UCD Applications team does not assess the applications, unfortunately we are unable to provide feedback on a decision. Generally, you should contact the School office directly to request feedback. Please click here for UCD Schools’ contact details. Non-EU applicants should contact the International Office.
Please click here for details of the deferral policy. The granting of a deferral is at the discretion of the relevant School. Please click here for UCD Schools' contact details.
Please see the contact details on the UCD Applications website.