Saturday, 4 April 2015

Contact us / how to apply / fees and funding 2015 - 16

NB: The Maynooth fees office says:

"While undergraduate students and recent graduates in Ireland may be familiar with the student contribution for undergraduate study, this is not applicable for postgraduate study in Ireland." In other words the only cost above and beyond the stated fee is a €100 levy on registration; the €200 paid when accepting the offer of a place is part of the total course fee stated.

Who should apply?
We are keen to have a mix of backgrounds and abilities on this course, so please don't assume that this course isn't for you! We very much welcome activists who want to go back to education, as well as students who are keen to get involved in movements, mature students as well as traditional ones, and people with different community or movement points of reference. Students come from a range of different countries and ethnicities, genders and sexualities.

Contact details:
For general information and queries, please contact the Dept. of Adult and Community Education, NUI Maynooth, Co. Kildare, Ireland at or (+353-1) 708 3784.

To apply to this course, you need to go through Ireland's online application system for postgraduate courses at The PAC code for the MA is MHA64. The deadline for applications is May 29th 2015, but we suggest you register for PAC well in advance so you can see what information they will be looking for. Our form asks you for two references. These can of course be the usual academics etc., but for this course they can also be activists or community educators etc. who can talk about your practitioner knowledge and skill.
The basic requirement for entry is a BA with a 2:2 result or higher, or the equivalent of a BA. If you are in doubt about whether you meet this requirement, please email us at the address above.

Along with the usual information for the online form, we will look for a short (one – two pages) statement about any aspects of your experience which you feel are relevant to the course, and what you are hoping the course will be able to offer you that will benefit your practice. The personal statement isn't a test! We want to tailor the course to bring out what students already know and can share with each other, and what their priorities are in terms of learning needs, and we can't do that if we don't know where students are coming from.

Fees and funding
You will probably need to set aside some time to find out about funding possibilities. 

Ultimately fees are set by government policy on higher education, according to which Irish and other EU students are partly subsidised while those from outside the EU pay what is calculated as the full cost of their education. The state has been running down support for postgraduate education as part of a broader politics that aims to make higher education in general a paid-for privilege rather than a right.

The system is complicated and takes time to explore. Below are some starting points:

From the state

The Student Finance website has some useful information on this. All student funding from the state is now processed and administered through the newly centralised system SUSI (Student Universal Support Ireland). This system has a number of well-publicised problems but it is important to say that delays in SUSI did not prevent students taking part in the course - they simply had to spend more time than they should have done trying to get the system to work.

There are two ways postgraduates may qualify for student grants. 

1) Low-income applicants in receipt of one of a number of specified social welfare benefits may get a fees grant up to €6,270 (which would more than cover CEESA fees).

2) A flat rate, means-tested fee contribution of €2,000. The initial income threshold is €31,500 but there are a number of other factors taken into consideration when assessing eligibility, including how many family members are in full-time study. has a calculator here to help you determine if you qualify.

All applications are made through Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) and the process will probably open around mid-May for the 2015 - 16 academic year. It is important to say that the grant covers a range of different nationalities and statuses.

SUSI Helpdesk contact details:, tel. 0761 08 7874, facebook

There is more detail and clarification at the Student Finance site here.

If you are already in receipt of state benefits / supports, the type you have (e.g. Jobseekers, Lone Parents, Back to Education etc.) can make a big difference in terms both of what funding might be available to you but also in terms of whether you will be able to maintain your existing benefits while studying. (NB also that information-gathering is now very centralised so your new student status will show up where it might not have before!) If you are currently on benefits, we strongly recommend that you talk to your local Citizens Information Centre well in advance of taking the course to discuss your options. Some people may be in a position to change from one type of benefits to another but this takes time.

From the university:

There are two funding sources at NUI Maynooth; for more details see this page.

1) Taught Masters Bursaries at a value of €2,000. There are 60 of these which will be shared across all taught MAs in Maynooth. To apply you must have achieved a minimum 2:1 in your undergraduate degree and have been in receipt of a SUSI or city / council Higher Education Grant for your undergraduate studies. The extended deadline for these is June 1st 2015.

2) Maynooth Alumni Scholarships at a value of €5,000. These are open to NUIM graduates (including 2015 graduates). The extended deadline for applications is also June 1st 2015.

It is also worth doing a search online as there are a limited number of specific scholarships and bursaries offered on the basis of criteria like the area of research (e.g. this site) or the North/South Postgraduate Scholarships which support students from Northern Ireland pursuing postgraduate studies in the Republic. Again Student Finance has a good starting list of possibilities.

Beyond this, there are grants, supports and even occasionally scholarships, for fees and for maintenance, as well as tax relief on fees, student medical entitlements and support for students with disabilities. You can find information about these from Citizens' Information, the HEA's Student Finance site, and the Graduate Studies page on funding and finances. You can also contact the Maynooth Fees and Grants office.
International students will find useful information on funding and many other practical issues at the Irish Council for International Students.

Tuition fees have not yet been set for the academic year 2015 / 2016, but should be in the region of €4,800 (the 2014-15 rate) for Irish and other EU students; for non-EU students the tuition fee is likely to be in the region of €13,000. There is also a €100 levy on registration. For EU students, half of the tuition fee is payable prior to registration and the other half is usually payable before February 1st. There is also a "Postgraduate Easy Payment Plan" in which you pay 40% of the total fee plus the €100 levy prior to registration and the remainder in 7 equal instalments by direct debit - this is available only to those who don't have any grant or other internal / external funding. For non-EU students resident overseas, the full fee is payable before registration. In either case €200 of the fee is paid when accepting the offer of a place.

Up-to-date information is available via Graduate Studies and the Fees and Grants Office.

Finally, you can find practical information for prospective Maynooth students at this page, including access students, mature students, international students, and childcare.

The basic message that we hear from CEESA students is that postgraduate study is not easy but is doable for people from a wide range of different situations and backgrounds. As a team we are committed to supporting people in difficult personal circumstances to be able to complete the course.

For some history of how austerity-related cuts have affected access to postgraduate study see this post.