Advice from Valerie Leahy, Postgraduate Recruitment Officer.
So you’re thinking about embarking on a postgraduate course. It’s an important decision, and financing your graduate studies may seem a daunting prospect. Here are 11 funding to show you that it may not be as difficult as you think, and ultimately it will be a real investment for your future prospects!
- Know the costs
Start by researching the cost of any courses you might be interested in, and remember to budget for your living expenses as a postgraduate student too. Having this detail well in advance can help you plan for funding your postgraduate studies. Our Fees Office will be exhibiting at our upcoming Postgraduate Open Day, so you can chat to them there too about course fees.
- Taught Masters Scholarship Scheme…
At NUI Galway we reward excellence! If you have a First Class Honours undergraduate degree, you’ll get a €1,500 postgraduate course fee reduction on any one-year full-time Masters’ programme. It’s worth noting this especially if you’re an undergraduate, so you have time to get on that 1:1 pathway, knowing your efforts will be rewarded with a merit-based scholarship.
- Hardiman Research Scholarships
If you’re thinking about research studies there are further scholarship options. At NUI Galway, you can apply for our generous four-year Hardiman scholarships (register your interest here). Our Graduate Studies Office, who administer these, will be exhibiting at Postgraduate Open Day on Tuesday 6th November and you can meet them there.
- Course-specific scholarships
Some of our courses offer specific scholarships (e.g., Old & Middle Irish; Technology Management). We list these on our Scholarships website, and it’s updated often with details of any new scholarship opportunities, so it’s a good idea to bookmark the site and check it regularly.
If you got a grant for your undergraduate degree, it’s possible that you’ll receive some grant aid for your postgraduate course too (assuming you’re “moving up”–from a QQI Level 8 course to Level 9, or from 9 to 10). SUSI, the national grants authority, will ultimately let you know your grant eligibility. The application system opens to accept applications in April.
- Springboard courses
The Government provides many free and reduced-fee postgraduate courses within their Springboard scheme. It is well worth checking this out to see if your programme is one of their 245 featured courses. There is an opportunity to meet some of our Springboard course directors at Open Day.
- Consider your mode of study
NUI Galway offers a range of part-time, online, and blended learning programmes which would give you the option to balance working while you study. If this option is right for you, you can pick up a prospectus at Open Day.
- Can your employer help?
If you’re working, many employers may fully or partially fund your course- especially when the new qualification enhances your skills. Talk to your Human Resource Department or manager to see what further education options they may sponsor.
- Pay in stages
At NUI Galway you can pay your postgraduate fees in three stages: you pay a deposit once you accept your course place, you then pay 50% of outstanding fees at Registration, and can opt to pay the final payment then later on. So staging the payments like this makes it imminently more affordable.
- Education loans
Finally, you may opt for an education loan. Check with your bank if they offer a deferred payback scheme (some will allow you to start repaying after your postgraduate studies, when you’re working and can perhaps better afford the repayments). The Credit Union offers a very competitive 5.5% Special Education Loan interest rate and Bank of Ireland will be exhibiting at the NUI Galway Postgraduate Open Day with loan information.
- Claim tax relief
You can claim tax relief on fees (including the student contribution) that you have paid for third level education courses. More information is available from Revenue.
Finally, the pay-off! In choosing to do a postgraduate course, you are investing in yourself and your future prospects. All the research indicates graduates who invest in postgraduate study not only enhance their learning but also increase their employability. Our Career Development Centre team will be at Postgraduate Open Day to help advise you and will run a personal statement workshop at 3pm. Many courses application forms require a personal statement with your application.