Taking a postgraduate course in an English-speaking country is a desire of professionals from a wide range of fields. Such a programme can leverage your career and increase your chances of living permanently abroad. Ireland offers excellent postgraduate programmes in universities that are among the best institutions of higher education in the world.


Access to postgraduate courses in Ireland is quite simple: you should have a bachelor’s degree in your home country (most of degrees abroad are equivalent to Irish qualifications) and an English proficiency exam, especially IELTS. The admission process also considers your professional experience, and in some cases, it may be more relevant than your academic background.

Many people tend to compare what exists abroad with Ireland. In general, postgraduates in Ireland try to solve local industry problems. It is very common for courses to be developed in conjunction with large multinationals and local companies.


I would mention the four most common postgraduate courses in Ireland as follows:

  1. Higher Diplomas;
  2. Postgraduate or Graduate Diploma;
  3. Masters Degree 
    1. Taught Masters
    2. Research Masters
  4. Doctoral degree

There is still a fifth course called ‘Higher Doctorate Degree’ which will not be covered in this text.


Higher Diplomas are usually convertible courses and have a duration of one to two years. It is very common to find these courses in the areas of administration, IT and psychology. For example, you, graduate in math, want to move area and study IT. You can take another year (Higher Diploma) and get a qualification equivalent to an Irish honours degree.

Higher Diplomas are also very efficient if you want to change the area. There are many Higher Diplomas in Data Analytics, Fintech and Computing (computing or programming). Graduates from very different areas have access to these courses, as there is a clear demand of professionals in these fields in the market.


Postgraduate Diplomas and Masters Degrees (Taught Masters) may have the same programmatic content. They are divided into eight or nine disciplines distributed over two academic semesters. The difference between the courses is the final dissertation, which in most cases corresponds to another academic semester. For you to get a “master” title, you will need to take a research that is not very long. It may take you an extra academic semester. *

* Just to clarify, an academic semester has around 30 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) and it can take three to four months based on a full-time programme. One credit has an average of 30 hours which corresponds to lectures and assignments, unlike US and UK credits which account roughly for half of a European credit.

There are even convertible masters, similar to Higher Diplomas, as some masters in law, tourism and business for IT graduates. Engineering graduates benefit greatly from these courses because it is quite simple to migrate to another engineering field in just one year.


Masters in Ireland can be subdivided between taught and research masters – Taught masters endeavour to meet a labour market demand and, based on my experience, may represent about 90% of the masters in the country. Taught masters are more comprehensive within an area and are designed to solve local industry problems.  An MBA is an example of these types of masters in Ireland.

Research masters

“Research masters” focus on a specific topic. These programmes outline research. Unlike the “taught” courses, the student has more flexibility and is not directly subordinated to a programmatic content.

Taught masters

Taught masters are the most common postgraduate courses in Ireland. They are excellent in forming critical sense and personal development which are traits very desired by employers.


Masters degree and postgraduate diploma in terms of duration can be summarized as follows.

  • Postgraduate diploma – 60 ECTS
  • Taught masters – 90 ECTS a 120 ECTS
  • Research masters 120 ECTS

Finally, I highlight the doctoral degree which is an in-depth research on a specific topic, which lasts from three to four years. Research masters can be part of these courses.


The courses mentioned above greatly increase your chances of residing permanently in Ireland. When studying in Europe, you show your employer a command of the English language, a great capacity for personal development and a technical-scientific knowledge that portrays the local market.

Tuition fees

Tuition fees for international students regarding postgraduate courses in Ireland cost on average €12,000. Fees may vary depending on the university and programme.  This is an excellent investment as the average salary of a professional with such qualifications is around €32,000 per year. In one year, you may have a return on your investment with a big perspective of salary increase. In addition, international (non-European) students get two years of temporary work visa in the country (stamp 1G, check an article I wrote on that) which is a stepping stone to the permanent residence in Ireland.My name is Paulo Santiago, Education Consultant at Logos Global Education. I have been working with Higher Education in Ireland for over five years and I am well positioned to advise you on the best choice of programme to achieve your career goals. Our company has partnerships with many of the main colleges and universities throughout Ireland and we would be happy to assist with any query. Follow me on LinkedIn and Twitter @LogosEducation to find out more!

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