Institutions of Higher Learning and Fields of Study
Mitchell Scholars may study or conduct research at institutions of higher learning including the seven universities in Ireland, the two universities in Northern Ireland, and two of the Institutes in Dublin:
- Dublin City University
- Dublin Institute of Technology
- Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design & Technology
- National University of Ireland, Galway
- National University of Ireland, Maynooth
- Queen's University Belfast
- Trinity College Dublin
- University College Cork
- University College Dublin
- University of Limerick
- University of Ulster
The following is provided to give students a general idea about the universities and the fields of study Mitchell Scholars may pursue. Applicants are responsible for obtaining additional information about the institutions and programs which interest them by contacting those institutions directly. Prior to applying, prospective applicants should study the academic system of the institutions in order to determine if their plan of study is feasible, and that they have the undergraduate background for the programs which they propose.
EDUCATION IN IRELAND is a searchable database of programs available to international students. It is a tremendous resource and can aid in your research regarding program and university selection. In addition, each of the Irish and Northern Irish universities has a webpage listing the available one-year post-graduate programs at their schools.
The Education System in Ireland
Ireland has a long and reputable tradition in education, dating back to the middle ages when it held the position of one of the principal education providers to the western world. Today education is held in very high regard in Ireland and this is reflected in the priority given to it by successive Governments and by the fact that it has one of the highest participation rates in the world. In addition, parents take a keen interest in educational standards and considerable attention is paid to educational issues in the national media, thereby strengthening Ireland's reputation for providing a very high quality system of education.
Overall responsibility for education in Ireland lies with the Minister for Education and Science who is a member of the Irish Government and responsible to the National Parliament.
While the Irish education system is provided by a combination of State and private institutions it is substantially State-funded and State-regulated. Primary and secondary education is largely free to Irish students and third level education is heavily subsidized.
The Academic Year
The university academic year runs from September to June, typically divided into three terms. In recent years, however, some institutions have introduced a two-semester system.
Mitchell Scholars will be provided with living accommodation (meals are not included). Accommodations at the universities vary but, in general, accommodation will be in a shared apartment in a dedicated, on-campus development, or in an individual room in a Hall of Residence.
There are seven universities in Ireland -- Dublin City University, Trinity College, and University of Limerick, and the four universities of the National University of Ireland (NUI). The NUI is organized on a federal basis but the constituent universities -- University College, Dublin; University College, Cork; National University of Ireland, Galway, and National University of Ireland, Maynooth -- enjoy a large measure of autonomy. The Royal College of Surgeons and St. Angela's College of Education for Home Economics are also recognized colleges of the NUI. There are two universities in Northern Ireland, Queen's University Belfast and University of Ulster, which has four campuses (please see below).
In addition to undertaking research in a wide range of disciplines, the universities offer degree programs at Bachelor, Masters and Doctorate level - in a wide-variety of disciplines, such as humanities, scientific, technical, engineering and mathematics fields , and in social and behavioral sciences. A range of undergraduate and postgraduate diplomas is offered.
Masters degrees are usually taken by course work, research work or some combination of both. Doctoral degrees are awarded on the basis of research. Universities award their own degrees using external examiners to ensure consistency of standards. There is also a national Higher Education Authority (HEA) which oversees the work of the universities on behalf of the Department of Education and Science.
Institutes of Technology & Other Institutions of Higher Learning
In addition to the universities, there are thirteen Institutes of Technology which complete the Irish higher education system. Spread regionally, the Institutes offer a large number of sub-degree and undergraduate degree courses. With the exception of the Dublin Institute of Technology which awards its own degrees, the Institutes' awards are made by the National Council for Educational Awards. Further information concerning the accredited post-graduate courses conducted by the Institutes may be obtained by contacting the NCEA at Mountjoy Square, Dublin 1 or the DIT at Pembroke Street, Dublin 2.
The Education System in Northern Ireland
A number of universities in the United Kingdom are among the oldest in the world. The UK also has one of the world's strongest systems for assuring quality in education as universities are subject to scrutiny by the Quality Assurance Agency, a national organization charged with auditing academic standards. Northern Ireland's academic and other educational standards are acknowledged to be among the best in the UK, and for this reason foreign students are attracted to study there.
The Academic Year
The two-semester academic year in Northern Ireland runs from September to June.
Queen's University of Belfast, the older of Northern Ireland's two universities, was founded as a university college in 1845 by Queen Victoria and became a fully independent university in 1908. The University of Ulster was formed in 1984 by the merger of two earlier institutions -- New University of Ulster (founded in 1965) at Coleraine, which also incorporated the 19th century foundation of Magee University College of Londonderry, and Ulster College, a large technologically-oriented polytechnic at Jordanstown with a smaller campus specializing in Art and Design in Belfast.
At Master's level, universities award two basic types of degree: the taught master's and the research master's. The program for the taught master's typically takes one year to complete and consists of coursework and a dissertation. The program for the research master's may take up to two years to complete and is research-based. The PhD differs from its American counterpart in having a smaller coursework component and putting an emphasis on independent, self-directed research. It also offers students a flexible program allowing them to pursue their own interests and produce original research of a high standard. Typically, a PhD program can be completed in three to four years. Sometimes a student is registered for a master's degree first with the study counting towards the PhD.
The right to award degrees in the United Kingdom is conferred by Royal Charter or Act of Parliament. Apart from its two universities, the only other degree awarding institution in Northern Ireland is the Presbyterian Theological Faculty.