Higher Education Institutions – Education Ireland MY

Higher Education Institutions

The higher education system in Ireland is broad in scope and encompasses the university sector, the technological sector, the colleges of education and private, independent colleges.The institutions which fall within the first three groupings are autonomous and self governing, but substantially state funded.

The number participating in higher education in Ireland has increased significantly in recent decades with over 60 percent of students who complete second level now going on to higher education – one of the highest participation rates in the world. Entry to third level education for Irish students is competitive and based upon performance in the final secondary school examination, the Leaving Certificate. Entry requirements for oversea students are determined individually by each institution and are generally based on national examination performance and English language aptitude.

A number of institutions are authorised to confer their own awards.These institutions include the Universities, the Dublin Institute of Technology and a growing number of the Institutes of Technology. The Higher Education and Training Awards Council (HETAC) is authorised to make awards in the non-university sector. HETAC makes awards and sets and monitors standards at all levels of higher education and training up to doctorate level. Therefore, a number of institutes of technology and private, independent colleges provide programmes whose awards are made by Hetac.

The qualifications system in Ireland has been modernised with the introduction of the National Framework of Qualifications. Students are encouraged to use the National Framework Qualifications to identify the qualification they will achieve before making decisions. The NFQ is a system of ten levels, the ten levels capture all learning from the very initial stages to the most advanced. It is designed to incorporate awards from all kinds of learning wherever it is undertaken. The transparent nature of the NFQ allows students to compare and contrast qualifications and to plan their education and training and career progression. It aids employers in recognising and understanding the level and standard of qualifications, acting as a tool for identify ‘appropriate fit’ qualifications for specific roles.

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In exploring whether a course meets your needs, it is essential that you find out what qualification is awarded at the end of the course. What do you need to know about a qualification? You need to know what its level and type in the National Framework of Qualifications. You also need to know who is the awarding body and what progression routes are available after completing the programme. This information will help you to judge whether a course will lead you to the outcomes you expect. For more information please visit www.nfq.ie

All recognised Irish awards are included in the National Framework of Qualifications. The Framework was established to assist the national objective of moving towards a “lifelong learning society” by ensuring the existence of a single coherent, easily understood award system for all levels of education and training available in Ireland Today. The Framework is maintained by the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland (NQAI). The quality and standard of all Irish educational awards made by authorised institutions and HETAC are fully recognised globally.

 

The following academic awards can be achieved at Irish higher education institutions:

  • Higher Certificate: Two year full-time course
  • Ordinary Bachelors Degree: Three year full time course
  • Honours Bachelors Degree: Normally a three or four year course
    • The Bachelors grading system works as follows:
      • First
      • Upper Second (2:1)
      • Lower Second (2:2)
      • Third
      • Pass
      • Fail
  • Graduate Diploma: Designed for graduates seeking a vocational reorientation – usually a one year course.
  • Masters degree: Either by research or through a taught programme. Normally one-two year(s) duration.
  • Doctorate (PhD): Usually takes a minimum of three years of original research. Doctorates are usually awarded pass or fail, with distinctions in rare cases.

The academic year typically runs from September to June and is divided into either two or three semesters with holidays in December (Christmas) and April (Easter).

Most universities run a semesterised system and modularisation has been introduced in the majority of colleges to allow greater flexibility for students. Teaching at undergraduate level generally involves a programme of lectures supplemented by tutorials, practical demonstrations and laboratory work (where relevant).

The academic year typically runs from September to June and is divided into either two or three semesters with holidays in December (Christmas) and April (Easter).

Most universities run a semesterised system and modularisation has been introduced in the majority of colleges to allow greater flexibility for students. Teaching at undergraduate level generally involves a programme of lectures supplemented by tutorials, practical demonstrations and laboratory work (where relevant).