How to fund a postgraduate degree or MBA

Further study can be expensive but there are ways for prospective students to seek assistance

Thinking about undertaking a postgraduate degree or MBA but unsure how you’ll afford it? Heading back to college to study either a postgraduate degree or MBA can be costly but there are scholarships, awards and State funding available to help prospective students.

Here is a list of just some of the funding options available to prospective students, with further details available on each institution’s own website. They also each have their own deadlines and eligibility requirements, and students are advised to apply early.


You may qualify for assistance under the Student Universal Support Ireland (Susi) system. Depending on your circumstances you could qualify for the flat-rate fee contribution of €3,500 if you pass the fee contribution means test. Or, if you meet the qualifying conditions for the special rate of grant for disadvantaged students, you could get all your tuition fees paid and essential field trips (up to €6,270).

Prospective students can check the scheme’s eligibility criteria on its website



Springboard provides free higher education courses for people who are unemployed or were self-employed and those looking to return to the workforce.

You can also apply for a Springboard course if you are working, but you must pay a 10 per cent contribution towards the course fee. There is a range of part-time courses from certificate to master’s degree levels, while most of the courses are part-time and last for one year or less.

Trinity College Dublin

Trinity offers studentships, scholarships and specific funded projects for research across all disciplines, normally covering tuition fees and providing a stipend.

Trinity Business School offer scholarships up to €10,000 per student undertaking a master’s programme. The social impact scholarships (also valued at €10,000) are available for candidates who have experience at an NGO, charity or social organisation.

There is also a variety of MBA scholarships available awarded on a first come, first served basis. Candidates who have excelled in their professional or personal achievements can be awarded up to €10,000, though amounts may vary.

University College Dublin

Each year a number of scholarships are available to students from a variety of backgrounds, including mature students, school-leavers from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds and those with a disability through UCD’s Access Centre.

There is a wide selection of scholarships available in the different educational departments, including the Doreen FitzGerald Caprani scholarship, worth €12,000, which is open to students undertaking any of the master’s programmes at the Sutherland School of Law.

UCD Smurfit School also has a large number of scholarships open to those wishing to undertake an MBA. The Women on the MBA Scholarship covers up to 50 per cent tuition fees.

Dublin City University

DCU operates a 10 per cent reduced Master’s Programme Fees Scheme. It is exclusive to all DCU graduates and outgoing final-year students from the university. It applies to students starting the first year of a full-time or part-time taught master’s programme.

Each year the Gaelic Players Association and DCU Business School co-fund two scholarships to the DCU Executive MBA and two scholarships to full-time master’s programmes.

Technological University Dublin

TU Dublin graduates, including those of its previous institutes (DIT, IT Tallaght and IT Blanchardstown), can avail of a 10 per cent discount on all graduate business school courses, except those funded by external bodies.

Supported by The Maria Wallace Foundation, the university has announced a scholarship for the MSc in Fashion Buying and Management course, covering fees and an allowance for living expenses.

The successful candidate for the scholarship must be someone with “exceptional potential to succeed” but would only be in a financial position to complete the MSc programme with the support of the scholarship.

University of Galway

There are a number of postgraduate scholarships available at the university, including its sanctuary scholarship programme, which is open to asylum seekers, refugees, vulnerable immigrant groups, and Irish Travellers.

The Hardiman PhD Scholarships are available for those pursuing research, and are fully funded for four years, with a stipend of €18,500 per year plus fees.

The taught master’s scholarship scheme offers awards of €1,500 to any person with a first-class honours degree who has been accepted on a full-time postgraduate programme at the university.

Among the college’s MBA offerings are the McGinty Scholarships, which are available each year to support two women – one physician and one allied healthcare professional in the MBA programme.

University College Cork

UCC offers an array of scholarships across various departments, including the Amneal pharmaceutical scholarship for those applying for the MSc research in pharmaceutics, which is valued at €23,700.

The O’Connor Scholarship is a €10,000 award available for one postgraduate student per year, in any discipline. However, to be eligible the individual must have been born in Ireland and must have a parent whose surname was O’Connor at birth.

Postgraduate students undertaking research programmes may be supported by research grants held by individual supervisors. Inquiries should be directed to individual supervisors in the first instance, according to the college.

University of Limerick

Each faculty has a selection of scholarships and fee awards, with varying closing dates and requirements.

The Faculty of Science and Engineering is offering 10 taught postgraduate fee waiver scholarships to the value of €2,000 for the 2023/2024 academic year.

Only EU applicants who have applied online for entry on to a full-time taught postgraduate programme by June 16th, 2023, will be considered.

A series of partial scholarships through the Limerick and Shannon Chambers of Commerce and 30 per cent Club are available for UL’s executive MBA programme.

South East Technological University

SETU Waterford provides five annual scholarships through their business school with scholarships available for the Master of Business Studies, the MSc in Digital Marketing and the Executive MBA programme as well as Master’s by Research (considered on a case-by-case basis).

Two annual scholarships have also been agreed with the Department of Sport and Exercise Science. The Carlow campus also provides two annual postgraduate scholarships.

Atlantic Technological University

ATU offer a number of academic, sports and cultural scholarships across its campuses in Galway, Mayo, Sligo and Donegal.

ATU Donegal’s partnership with the Gaelic Players Association provides for up to four fully funded, postgraduate places to male and female members of the GPA who wish to study there.

The value of each scholarship is up to €5,750 for one year only and will be delivered through a full or partial fee waiver where necessary.

The college also offers the 1916 bursary, which is to encourage participation and success by students who are most socio-economically disadvantaged and who are from groups most under-represented in higher education.

Maynooth University

Maynooth University provides scholarships of €2,000 to support full-time taught master’s study and are open to EU and non-EU citizens as well as to Maynooth and non-Maynooth graduates.

A 2.1 final honours undergraduate degree result or equivalent is the minimum requirement to apply, with the closing date June 30th, 2023.

The Department of Anthropology at Maynooth University offers a bursary to the value of €2,000 to its master’s programme for a student who is specifically interested in the area of material culture.

Irish Research Council

The organisation, which operates under the aegis of the Department of Education and Skills, offers a suite of interlinked programmes that funds researchers across all career stages and disciplines.

Though many applications for the forthcoming academic year have already closed, it is worth having a look at the council’s website with differing deadlines for certain programmes.

North/South postgraduate scholarships

The aim of the Universities Ireland North/South scholarship scheme is to encourage outstanding students from the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland to cross the Border to undertake postgraduate study and experience life in the other Irish jurisdiction.

This year, Universities Ireland will offer four scholarships, each worth €15,000. The history bursaries support students undertaking postgraduate study on a topic relating to the 1912-1923 period in Ireland, the decade of the first World War and the division of the island into the Irish Free State and Northern Ireland.

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times