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Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Social Data Science - Frequently Asked Questions

Before Applying

Should I apply through Trinity Direct Application or through Springboard+?

There are two ways of applying for the Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Social Data Science.

  • You may be able to make an application through the Springboard+ website, managed by Ireland’s Higher Education Authority. The Springboard+ website will offer subsidized places for a limited number of eligible applicants. Eligibility is determined by the Springboard+criteria which include nationality and residency criteria – please see current information available here and here.
  • You may make a Trinity Direct Application through the Trinity Application portal.

Applicants are requested to apply through one system or the other, applications cannot be considered through both systems.

How will the programme be affected by COVID-19?

Our overall objective is to make sure that the 2021-22 year feels as uch as possible like the course would feel during a normal (COVID-19-free) year. It is difficult to predict what College and government guidelines will be by September 2021. We hope that all modules will be able to be held in person, but we cannot exclude the possibility of classes being held online. However, regardless of the situation, you can be certain that the academic and administrative staff will make sure that all lectures, seminars, and tutorials run smoothly.

Departmental updates will be listed here, please contact the HCI and Postgraduate Programmes Coordinator if you have any questions. You can find details of the College-wide arrangements here.

Where can I find the online application system?

Please note that there are two ways of applying for the Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Social Data Science.

  • You may be able to make an application through the Springboard+ website, managed by Ireland’s Higher Education Authority. The Springboard+ website will offer subsidized places for a limited number of eligible applicants. Eligibility is determined by the Springboard+criteria which include nationality and residency criteria – please see current information available here and here.
  • The Trinity Direct Application portal can be accessed here.

Applicants are requested to apply through one system or the other, applications cannot be considered through both systems. We recommend that you look at the Admissions Requirements page before beginning your online application.

Can I pursue the Postgraduate Diploma programme on a part-time basis?

No, the programme is currently offered on a full-time basis only, with teaching activities taking place during the daytime.

Can I continue working while taking the Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Social Data Science programme?

The Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Social Data Science programme is demanding and requires a full-time commitment if students are to get the best out of their education experience. It is not compatible with continuing with paid employment, or any similarly demanding non-academic obligations.

Can I pursue the Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Social Data Science programme through distance learning?

Students must expect to be resident in Dublin throughout the one-year taught Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Social Data Science programme at Trinity College Dublin and attend all taught classes and other relevant events.

What sort of qualifications do I need to be admitted to the Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Social Data Science programme?

Candidates should have an undergraduate degree from an established college or university. A background in the social sciences, computer science, or statistics will be an advantage but not a necessity. Candidates are not expected to have significant quantitative research methods training, although some prior basic knowledge of statistics will be required. Admitted students will have taken at least an Introduction to Statistics module (or equivalent, e.g., a research methods module which covers applied statistics) in their undergraduate training. Students must also fulfil the College entry requirements and international students must also fulfil the international student requirements.

Candidates should normally have achieved an upper second class honour degree, or higher from an established university. GPA scores of at least 3.3 out of 4, or equivalent, will be expected from international applicants. Students whose qualifications do not meet these standards may still choose to apply and the Department will then consider whether such applications demonstrate sufficient preparation for the postgraduate study of applied data science to merit admission. However, the Department cannot enter into a discussion of individual circumstances or qualifications in advance of a formal application being made.

There is no flexibility on the language requirement. Students who do not fulfil the minimum language requirements will not be considered.

How competitive is admission to the Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Social Data Science programme?

You are encouraged to apply early as competition for the limited number of places is intense; applications are assessed and course places offered on a rolling basis.

What are the requirements for the students who do not speak English as their first language?

Regarding English language requirements, the programme follows the standardised requirements set by Trinity College; in summary, if an applicant has not been educated through the medium of English, they must provide English language test scores. Note - there is no flexibility on the language requirement, and students who do not fulfil the minimum language requirement cannot be considered. In exceptional circumstances, English language test scores can be submitted after submission of the rest of the application.

Where can I find information on visa requirements?

General information on visa requirements can be found on the Citizens Information website. Details of visa requirements for international students coming to Trinity College Dublin are listed here. For non-EU students, it is possible to stay and work in Ireland following course completion using a Stamp 1G visa; see the Trinity Careers Service and the Department of Justice and Equality site for details.

Where can I find information on financial supports for students?

The Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Social Data Science is an HCI Pillar 1 funded programme, so students who are eligible may apply through Springboard+.

The Department is not in a position to offer scholarships/fee waivers to incoming students; prospective applicants are recommended to investigate funding/scholarship options before making an application e.g. see information on the Citizen's Information site, Trinity College Postgraduate scholarships, and funding supports offered in home countries (in the case of international students). It may also be possible to claim tax relief on tuition fees, see the Revenue site for details.

What other expenses, above and beyond fees, should I expect as a student living in Dublin?

Please see the Global Relations website for details regarding the cost of living in Dublin. Of course, the cost of living will vary depending on the student's lifestyle and living standards.

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Application Process

Are there any guidelines for the writing sample to be submitted with an application?

The writing sample can be a paper written for a previous course, or a chapter from an undergraduate thesis if you are writing one. It is expected to be somewhere between 12 and 20 pages long. A sample of academic or research-related writing - an essay or term paper, for example - is much preferred, but where the applicant cannot provide a sample of academic writing, other writing samples (e.g. a technical or business report) will be accepted.

Are there any guidelines for the motivation letter/personal statement to be submitted with an application?

There is no required length for the letter, a single page would suffice.

I'm having an issue with the online application system, who should I contact?

  • Enquiries regarding the Trinity Direct Application portal functionality should be directed to Academic Registry.
  • Enquiries regarding the Springboard+ Application portal functionality should be directed to Springboard+.

When supplying references, do they have to be from academic referees?

Academic references are preferable, but where these are not available professional references are acceptable also.

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After Submitting an Application

I have an offer of a place from another programme and I need an early decision from Trinity - what can I do?

Ensure that all your application documentation is in place and contact the Associate Course Director, Dr Constantine Boussalis, with details of your other offer.

I have been made an "unconditional offer" – what happens now?

Congratulations! You have three weeks to accept the offer and if you choose to do so, you must then make a non-refundable deposit of €500 to reserve your place in the programme. If you do not make a deposit, you may lose your place. We look forward to seeing you in September!

I have been made a "conditional offer" – what happens now?

Congratulations! You will need to submit your missing documentation - for example your final grade transcript for your undergraduate degree - as soon as you receive it and then Academic Registry should formally issue you with an unconditional offer. You can accept your offer while it is 'conditional', it can be updated to 'unconditional' only when the outstanding documentation is in place.

I have been offered a place on the programme and cannot accept the offer within the specified time - what can I do?

Please contact the Course Director, Dr Constantine Boussalis.

Why has no decision been reached on my application?

Your application can be assessed only after ALL materials have been received, including letters of recommendation, writing samples etc. When all materials are received, your application will be assessed together with other applications which are completed at the same time and a recomendation made. The recommendation must then be reviewed by Academic Registry, who will make a course offer via the application portal as applicable.

Can I have feedback on my application?

We regret that we cannot offer feedback on unsuccessful applications.

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Incoming Students

I have been admitted to the programme and would like to make plans for travel/the summer. When does the programme begin?

There is a University-wide orientation for postgraduate students (see the Graduate Studies Website) and the Department hosts a course orientation in mid-September each year, at which attendance is required. Postgraduate Diploma module classes begin in late September.

What equipment do I need to have for the course?

Students are expected to bring their own laptop (Mac/Windows/Linux) for use in seminars and tutorials throughout the course; note - tablets are not suitable.

When and where is the orientation for new Postgraduate Diploma students for 2021-22?

The orientation meeting for Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Social Data Science 2021-22 students will take place in September 2021 - details will be confirmed and communicated to incoming students closer to that time.

What modules will be taught in the Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Social Data Science programme in the next academic year?

The Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Social Data Science programme includes training in computer programming, research design, applied statistical analysis, machine learning, and other specialized modules using quantitative research methods. Please see the Course Content page for further details.

Are there any opportunities to work as a Teaching Assistant in Trinity's Political Science Department while participating in the Postgraduate Diploma programme?

It is possible for Postgraduate Diploma students to work as Teaching Assistants in the Political Science Department. Please note your interest in your cover letter. This opportunity may be especially relevant to applicants who have previously been undergraduate students at Trinity.

What kind of career does the course prepare students for?

The Applied Social Data Science postgraduate diploma award from Trinity is expected to provide students with a competitive edge in the job market. There is extraordinary demand for data science degree holders in the private, public and non-profit sectors. While pure data science degrees (computer science only) are in significant demand, there is also a clear growing need for employees who can combine computational methods and social science research methodologies.

There is high demand for social scientists who can apply machine learning and statistical methods for data-driven solutions to challenges faced by governments, political groups, and civil society organizations. For instance, political organizations seek employees who can use computational approaches to analyze large-scale digitized collections of political communication, including social media feeds of elected officials, transcripts of parliamentary debates, and government agency press releases. Government agencies seek employees with experience in applying statistical forecasting methods to predict international conflict, terrorism, and disease outbreaks. Non-profit organizations are keen to hire people who are able to apply machine learning and natural language processing methods to help create data-driven solutions for disabled people. These are just a few examples of the jobs our graduates can pursue with the knowledge that they will have gained from the programme.

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