How to fund your postgraduate education

Awards, scholarships and grants are available to help fund your masters or PhD

If you’re considering a post-grad or an MBA as your next step, how to fund it will no doubt be top of your priorities. State funding, scholarships and research grants are all options that should be considered.

The following is an outline of just some of the scholarships and funding on offer. A full list of all prizes and bursaries is available from each of the institutes’ websites and from individual departments.

All have various deadlines and application requirements, so it is imperative that you follow up with the relevant department as soon as possible and submit your application on time. For students hoping to begin a postgraduate next year, now is a good time to begin researching as some applications will close later this year or early next year.



State funding is available for postgraduate courses through the Student Universal Support Ireland (Susi) system. Even if a student has received Susi funding before, they will need to apply again for their postgraduate course. Applications for the upcoming academic year open in April. Your first port of call should be to check the eligibility criteria (, which provides a list of criteria that must be met to be eligible for funding. These include criteria such as residency and nationality, come and the course being run in an approved institution.

Maynooth University

Sixty taught masters scholarships worth €2,000 each are available to students undertaking full-time programmes at MU. A 2.1 is required to be considered and the scholarships are open to MU and non-MU graduates and this year's applications opened on March 9th. More information is available at

Last year, 28 John and Pat Hume Doctoral Scholarships were granted by the university to PhD entrants. The top level of funding provides up to €18,000 a year stipend plus fees for four years of PhD research. There are also lower levels of funding available. The scholarship is open across all disciplines and to both professional doctorates and part-time students. For more visit: MU also offers additional Doctoral Awards with teaching support experience across various disciplines each year.


The Puttnam Scholars programme is open to all UCC postgraduate and offers mentoring and coaching sessions with Oscar-winning producer David Puttnam along with a €1,000 bursary.

The College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences offers The Boyle Postgraduate Scholarship in German (€2,500); the SLLC Excellence Scholarships [MASTERS](fees covered); the Michael Joseph McEnery Memorial Scholarship (€12,000); and the Ann Moloney Bursary (€1,000).

Female business students are eligible for 30% Club scholarships worth €10,000 and €12,500; while four FDC Group scholarships, worth €12,500 are open to students undertaking particular business related courses.

The College of Business and Law offers EU Merit Based Scholarships for students on fulltime taught masters programmes who achieved the highest first class honours in their undergraduate degree. Two new scholarships are being launched for the academic year 2021/22: the MSc Food Security Policy and Management Award (€7,630) and the Glanbia MSc Food Business and Innovation Scholarships (€10,630).

The David John Barry Fellowship (€7,000), an annual postgraduate research fellowship is offered to a graduate of an Irish university, in the areas of food technology and marketing.

There are some very sizeable Science, Engineering and Food Science scholarships available, such as the Lilly Research Scholarship (€22,000), the John Sisk Research Scholarship (€20,000), the John Murphy Postgraduate Research Fellowship in Civil Engineering (€8,250) and the Dr Elmer Morrissey Memorial Scholarship (€1,500).

The College of Medicine and Health offers the Ainsworth Scholarship, the value of which varies. A full list of UCC scholarships can be found here

NUI Galway

NUI Galway's taught masters scholarship scheme (for EU students) offers awards of €1,500 to anyone with a first-class honours degree who has been accepted on to a full-time programme at the university. This scheme opens to accept applications in April. For those undertaking research, the Hardiman PhD Scholarships are fully funded for four years, with a stipend of €16,000 per year plus fees. The scholarships offer opportunities for suitably qualified individuals to pursue a structured PhD focused within five key areas of research: humanities; biomedical science and engineering; informatics, physical and computational; environment, marine and energy, and social science and public policy. A number of other postgraduate scholarships varying in value are also available across a range of disciplines, such as business (postgraduate business merit scholarships), technology, health sciences, and old and middle Irish. Those undertaking the professional master of education in order to teach through Irish at second level can also apply for a €2,000 bursary. For more information visit

University of Limerick

UL offers a number of postgraduate scholarships. Ten taught scholarships are available through UL's Kemmy Business School and 10 from the faculty of science and engineering, each offering €2,000 towards fees. The Irish World Academy of Music and Dance offers a limited number of full and/or partial fee waivers for research students at MA and PhD level. The school of allied health offers scholarships worth €3,000 to students undertaking the MSc Nursing Studies programme. Five scholarships worth €1,000 are available to students undertaking MAs in School of English, Irish and Communication: while another five bursaries of €1,000 are available to students undertaking MAs in the school of Modern Languages and Applied Linguistics.

Sports scholarships are also available to support top athletes in pursuing and excelling in their sport while studying at UL. See for more information.


The John Thompson scholarship offers a full fee waiver to one MSc Digital marketing student. The 30% Club offers €10,000 to a female recipient from DCU Business School for part-time executive Masters programmes or the Executive MBA. It also offers one full-fee scholarship to a female student studying a masters programme on a part-time basis in the School of Computing, Electronic Engineering or Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering. There are two Executive MBA scholarships in conjunction with the Gaelic Players Association (GPA) at DCU Business School.

There are 20 full PhD scholarships on offer across all seven schools in DCU’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences with full fees and an annual stipend of €16,500 for four years.

The Intel scholarship (€3,000) is available to graduates who plan to enter either the MEng in electronic and computer engineering or the MEng in mechanical and manufacturing engineering. The UrbanVolt scholarship is available to one DCU master's student who demonstrates an innovative and entrepreneurial mindset. The GPA and the Faculty of Engineering and Computing will co-fund one scholarship to the value of €3,000.

There are also 10 postgraduate scholarships, offered by the GPA, jointly supported by DCU Sport and Wellbeing and offered across all faculties within the university.

The San Jose-Dublin Sister City Programme Exchange Scholarship, valued at more than $50,000, awards a taught masters scholarship to an engineering, physics or computer science graduate. There are also a number of other scholarships available, such as sports, aviation and alumni scholarships. For more details on all scholarships visit the postgraduate section on each of the schools’ websites.


The Sutherland School of Law’s Doreen FitzGerald Caprani scholarship (€12,000) is open to students undertaking any of the nine masters programmes at the school. In addition, the school has a number of bursaries worth €4,000 to help fund fulltime study in the LLM, MSc (Criminology and Criminal Justice) and the MSc in International Law and Business.

In the School of Politics and International Relations, there are a number of graduate scholarships up to €4,135 plus a tax-free annual stipend of €750. The School of Philosophy offers one Newman MA Scholarship per annum, which covers full (EU) fees and is open for application to anyone applying for the MA in Philosophy (General Stream). The School of Sociology also has graduate bursaries available (€2,000).

Other scholarships include the Réalta Master in Engineering scholarship (€7,500), the Helga and Hugh Staunton scholarship for postgraduate studies in German (€5,000); the Margaret MacCurtain Scholarship in women's history (€4,500 and a medal); the Annie FanningScholarship for the MA in Irish Literature and Culture (€3,000); and the UCD - Intel Masters Scholarships in Engineering and Science (€3,000).

Fifty per-cent reduction in tuition fees are available through the Norman CT Liu MSC Aviation Finance Scholarship and the ICBC Leasing Aircraft Leasing Scholarship. The MSc Marketing and Retail Innovation Scholarships (€5,000 bursary); the Cormac Costelloe Dell Financial Services Scholarship (100% tuition fees), and the James Healy Masters Scholarship in Law (LLM) (€5,000 plus fee waiver) are also on offer.

Students in the Smurfit School of Business, including MBA students, can apply for a range of partial and full scholarships across its programmes.

UCD also has a significant scholarship scheme available to under-represented students via UCD Access and Lifelong Learning. For more information on all scholarships contact the respective Schools and Colleges within UCD.

Trinity College Dublin

Trinity College Dublin offers a broad range of postgraduate taught programmes and research opportunities ( For taught postgraduate courses, European Excellence Awards worth up to €1,000 each, are available to Irish and European students. ( Scholarships are also available for specific subject areas (eg E3 Excellence and Business Scholarships). Details can be found on individual course web pages. For postgraduate research students, Trinity offers studentships, scholarships and specific funded projects for research across all disciplines, normally covering tuition fees and providing a stipend. The university also offers a number of named benefactions and awards funded by largely private donations and bequests.

North/South Postgraduate Scholarships

Universities Ireland, the body which promotes collaboration between universities in the North and the Republic, offers four scholarships (which last year were worth €15,000 each) to students who have been accepted to undertake a recognised masters degree or are entering the first year of a PhD programme at a university on the island of Ireland and meet a number of eligibility requirements as detailed on its website:

Irish Research Council

The Irish Research Council manages a range of interlinked programmes funding researchers across all career stages and disciplines. Many applications for 2021-22 have already closed but those with an eye on 2022-23 should monitor the council's website, as funding opportunities typically open at different times during the year and close at various dates. See

Fulbright Awards

The Fulbright Awards are open to Irish citizens to study or undertake postgraduate research in the US for a period of four months up to a year. See for more. Other sources of funding that prospective 2021-22 students should look out for include funding from the Irish Cancer Society, Teagasc and Science Foundation Ireland.


A master of business administration is one of the most expensive post-grads you can do with some courses costing up to and more than €30,000. Outside of this are the other costs to consider such as accommodation, transport and materials etc though some part-time courses going forward may adopt a more hybrid approach which would lead to reduce travel/accomodation costs.

Like taught and research postgraduate students, there are also a number of scholarships and bursaries available to those undertaking an MBA, some which cover full or partial tuition fees and in each case it is advised to make contact with the university or institution you intend applying to and finding out what opportunities may be available to you.

Typically all universities offer some scholarship or bursary for those applying for MBAs and they are usually listed on the same page as all other postgraduate scholarships. For those who are working and considering undertaking an MBA, there may be funding available through your employer, showing the value of the MBA to your company may be a way to get at least some financial assistance.

As with other postgraduate courses, you can also claim money back on your course through Revenue while postgraduate funding for Level 8 to 10 is available from Susi for a maximum of four years.

Nora-Ide McAuliffe

Nora-Ide McAuliffe

Nora-Ide McAuliffe is an Audience Editor with The Irish Times