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Trinity College Dublin

Postgraduate Study

'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.
    • Sometimes it is possible to 'convert' into a masters.
    • A degree is required, the quality of degree will depend on the 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 honour / 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 degree, i.e. first class or upper second class honours, is needed.


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:


  • 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®.


  • 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 Awards
    If remaining in College you should investigate TCD Awards.
  • 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.

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

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. If considering a PhD, the "Should I do a PhD" is a useful guide.
    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.
  • 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 and 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



More resources on Postgraduate Study and Postgraduate Funding are available on our site.




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