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Trinity College Dublin

Postgraduate Study


What is it?

'Postgrad' can mean a number of things - Postgraduate Diplomas, Masters and PhD programmes.

  • Postgraduate Diploma
    • These may help you to become more 'vocational' - closer to fields of work, professions.
    • The subject area may be different to that studied in your first degree, eg, students with an undergraduate degree in Science choosing to do a postgraduate diploma in Business (sometimes these are called 'conversion courses').
    • Sometimes it is possible to 'convert' the diploma into a masters through further study.
    • An undergraduate degree is required, the quality of degree will depend on the postgraduate course.
  • Masters
    • May be 'research based' or 'taught'.
    • It takes less time and is less demanding than a PhD.
    • Taught programmes generally involve course work plus thesis, the average time to complete is 1-2 years.
    • A degree is required. The quality of degree required depends on the course. For research masters a first class or upper second class honours would generally be required but in some instances a lower second class honours may be accepted. For taught masters there is more variety in the quality of degree sought from lower second class honours / pass to first class honours.
  • PhD
    • An original contribution to knowledge.
    • It takes several years to write a thesis by research.
    • A very good quality first degree i.e. first class or upper second class honours, is needed.


Why do it?

On a further course of study you will develop your knowledge, personality, skills and interests which could help to prepare you for making a decision and getting a job.

Three reasons for pursuing postgraduate study may be:

  • "I really enjoy my subject and want to be even better at it"
  • "I have found out my job prospects will improve"
  • "I do not know what I want to do next - more time studying will give me the answer".

If the last options best describes you, postgrad study will not of itself resolve the future. However, you should develop your knowledge, personality and skills - and that way help yourself to make career decisions.

Learn more about the benefits of PhD study:


Where do I do it?

  • Some factors to take into account when choosing to where to undertake postgraduate study:
  • Explore the postgraduate programme through:
    • Internet - individual university web sites are very important.
    • Academic contacts - you will need a recommendation from them .
    • Recent graduates - see what TCD graduates have done. It's important to ask your predecessors for their opinion.
    • More information availableResearch your options through top tips at Destinations®.

How do I find out about it?

  • Find out about projects being completed at your university of choice.
  • Source information through prospectuses, directories and the internet. View Resources.
  • View Research vacancies for opportunities.
  • Courses available are continuously advertised but these are not necessarily the best courses or recommended. View postgraduate courses and funding notified to the Careers Advisory Service.
  • Attend the Postgradireland Fair. Details available at
  • Paid PhDs are often advertised in sector-specific journals.
  • There are many portals where you can find out about paid PhDs, for example in the UK, in France or in the United States.


Paying for it


  • Postgraduate Diploma and Masters with course work, you may have to pay in full. A few 'new skills' programmes may offer fee remission.
  • PhD: universities may have funds (studentships, scholarships) to attract the best. Some governments advertise these also, including the Irish Research Council.
  • Note: 1/3 postgraduate students are funded by parents initially


Below is a list of funding generally available annually and a list of those advertised to the Careers Service.

Some Annual Funding for Ireland:

  • Local Authority Grants:
    Postgraduate students may get financial assistance under the Student Grant Scheme with the cost of tuition fees for approved postgraduate courses in Ireland and Northern Ireland. To find out more go to the Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) website at
  • TCD Funding
    If remaining in College you should investigate TCD Funding.
  • Irish State Agencies offering Funding:
  • Advertised Funding
    Advertised Funding has a list of funding notified to the Careers Advisory Service.

For more annual funding see Resources.


Moving forward

Postgraduate information is available from two key sources:

  • Careers Advisory Service, Resources (Postgraduate Courses and Funding)
    Information consists of:
    • Directories
    • Web sites
    • Booklets
    • Advertised funding
    • Advice on pros/cons of doing postgraduate study
  • Your academic tutor
    Your academic tutor is your best resource for academic issues. Their contribution may include:
    • Advice on making an academic proposal that goes with a postgraduate research application
    • Academic contacts
    • Referral to recent TCD graduates / new 'postgrads'
    • Providing essential references
    • Reviewing Personal Statements


Action Plan

Six step plan to making an effective decision about postgraduate study:

    1. Talk to academic and Careers Service staff.
    2. Decide on the subject matter you would like to study.
    3. Decide on the type of postgraduate programme you want - taught or research.
    4. Consult directories and web sites.
    5. Clarify funding options.
    6. Find out more about:
      • - Closing dates.
      • - When offers are made.
      • - The timeframe for accepting offers.
    7. Complete the course application form. Follow the advice at completing application forms.
    8. Write a personal statement if required.

Where are TCD graduates?

  • What TCD Graduates Do includes useful information on courses and institutions where past graduates have studied.
  • Examples of postgraduate study being pursued by graduates & the funding source, include:
First Degree
Postgraduate Study
Source of Funding
BA (Mod) Philosophy & Politics Masters in Foreign Service, Georgetown USA Georgetown University Scholarship
BAI Mechanical Engineering MBA, Hull University, UK Employer support
BA (Mod) Science, Geology Masters Applied Environmental Geosciences, Tubingen German Government Award


Related Resources

  • gradireland Directory - . Postgraduate Directory of taught courses in Ireland & links to Irish, UK and international study sites.
  • Directory of courses & links to all UK university websites.
  • Fulbright Commission. All aspects of further study in US, applications and links to US university sites are available here..
  • 'Postgraduate Study & Research', (AGCAS), contains advice and information for postgraduate study in UK.

More resources on Postgraduate Study and Postgraduate Awards are available at this website.



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