Irish Language & European Law

Course Outline
This course is open to Law graduates, or graduates who hold other legal qualifications, or whose degree contains a substantial component of law, with a very high standard of Irish at second level education (A in Leaving Cert Honours Examination or B2 TEG) and Law Graduates who have taken Irish language modules at third level. This course aims to revive and build on the student's previous Irish language experience to the extent that students are brought to a high standard (C1 TEG) during the course of the degree. The course offers students a specialised training in European Law, alongside gaining in-depth Irish language skills. Students spend part of the course in UCC and part of it on an intensive residential Gaeltacht week long course in the Waterford Gaeltacht, allowing students to immerse themselves in the language. Students graduate with a desirable qualification that is seen as a strategic combined language and law need in Europe.

The MA in Irish Language and European Law will be run by the Department of Modern Irish in collaboration with the School of Law. This collaboration builds on an existing and highly productive arrangement between the two disciplines.

Part 1 of this course consists of two semesters at UCC, starting in September and finishing in May. During the two semesters students complete 60 credits in total. 25 credits are taken in core modules. 35 credits are taken in elective modules, with 25 credits allocated to a selection of law modules and 10 credits allocated to a selection of language modules.

Part 2 of this course consists of a 15 credit intensive and fully-subsidised residential Gaeltacht course over the summer months, and a 15 credit research project on a subject combining a joint Irish-language and Law topic.

The intensive Gaeltacht module will be a feature of the course that will exploit an active and growing strategic outreach engagement between UCC and the Irish-speaking areas in its hinterland, and serve to enhance the student experience of Irish as a living, European language. The intensive residential courses to be conducted over a week at Coláiste na Rinne, in the heart of the Waterford Gaeltacht, will be crucial to the course objective of the transition in the standard of Irish of the students from B2 to C1 in Teastas Eorpach na Gaeilge (TEG).

The course will benefit Law graduates by bringing their standard and qualifications to level 9 overall, and will fast-track these graduates into new employment opportunities by enabling them to annexe linguistic ability in Irish to their primary degree in Law. It will also enable them to begin adding a third language to their portfolio, should they chose to do so. Graduates will then be well placed to apply for positions within the European Commission and European Parliament, the strategic need for which has been identified by the Higher Education Authority, which is funding this programme. The programme will also prepare graduates for work in either of the legal professions as bilingual lawyers or advocates.

Why Choose This Course
This course offers intensive training in spoken and written Irish to holders of legal degrees or other legal qualifications (solicitors, barristers), or degrees that include a significant element of law, and enhances those qualifications with a tailored suite of course modules in European Law. The course builds on the formal status of the Irish language within the European Commission and European Parliament, and particularly on the removal of the derogation by 2021 from the full use of Irish, thereby exploiting employment opportunities at both national and European level.

Entry requirements

Successful applicants will normally have an honours primary degree in Law (or a degree comprising a substantial component of Law) at 2.1 level (or the equivalent).

Applications from graduates whose primary Law degree is at 2.2 level will be considered based on the information in a supplementary statement and interview/assessment. Applications will also be accepted from candidates holding a qualification as a barrister or a solicitor in Ireland or the United Kingdom. A degree in Irish is not necessary but a high standard of Irish is required (e.g. an 'A' at the Higher Leaving Certificate Level or equivalent (B2 Teastas Eorpach na Gaeilge)). Applicants will be further required to present for interview/assessment with the Department of Modern Irish.

If you are applying with Qualifications obtained outside Ireland and you wish to verify if you meet the minimum academic and English language requirements for this programme please click here to view the grades comparison table by country and for details of recognised English language tests.

English Language Requirements
Applicants that are non-native speakers of the English language must meet the university approved English language requirements available here.

For applicants with qualifications completed outside of Ireland
Applicants must meet the required entry academic grade, equivalent to Irish requirements, please find our grades comparison by country here.

International/non-EU applicants
For full details of the non-EU application procedure please visit our how to apply pages for international students. In UCC, we use the term programme and course interchangeably to describe what a person has registered to study in UCC and its constituent colleges, schools, and departments.

Not all courses are open to international/non-EU applicants.

For more information please contact the International Office.

Assessment Info

1. Written examinations in the case of the core and elective modules, with the Irish-language modules incorporating continuous assessment and oral components.

2. The 15-credit intensive Gaeltacht course (GA6027) will be assessed by in-class examinations.

3. The 15-credit research project (GA6028) will be assessed jointly by representatives of the Department of Modern Irish and School of Law.

Subjects taught

Further details on the modules listed above can be found in our book of modules. Any modules listed above are indicative of the current set of modules for this course but are subject to change from year to year.

University Calendar
You can find the full academic content for the current year of any given course in our University Calendar.


1 year full-time

Enrolment dates

Start Date 7 September 2020

Post Course Info

Skills and Careers Information
What can I do after I graduate with an MA in Irish Language and European Law?
Students graduating with this degree will be equipped to compete for Lawyer-linguist positions within the European Commission and European Parliament. With the derogation on the full use of Irish in the structures of the European Commission and European Parliament due to be phased out between 2015 and 2021, the holder of this degree will be uniquely placed to capitalise on the anticipated huge increase in employment opportunities in that period and after.

In the case of domestic employment, they will also be enabled to add a professional qualification in the Irish language to their portfolio of skills, an important element in the area of Irish Constitutional Law in particular. In the wider, non-legally specific arena, the degree will enhance employment opportunities in areas such as print, broadcast and electronic media, particularly with reference to current affairs, and social and cultural commentary relating to Ireland and Europe. Students graduating with first class honours or high second class honours may avail of further postgraduate study opportunities in either Irish or Law.

Occupations associated with an MA in Irish Language and European Law
Lawyer Linguist
Legal Translator

Career Prospects?
A greater role for the Irish language in the EU

As a result of a regulation made by the EU Council (Council Regulation 2015/2264), the amount of staff in the Irish-langauge Units will increase steadily between now and 2022. According to an estimate given by the Directorate-General for Translation in the European Commission, more than 180 staff members with excellent competency in Irish will be required to satisfy the translation requirements of the principal institutions of the EU: 42 translator assistants, 103 translators and 6 heads of unit/department. A team of intrepreters will also be recruited and yet more employees will be needed to ensure a continuous supply of Irish-speaking professionals to meet the requirements of the European institutions.

The MA in Irish and European Law is aimed at people who wish to apply for the position of translator or lawyer-linguist in the institutions of the European Union. These are interesting, attractive careers with high salaries and good working conditions as well as opportunities for continual professional development. Translators earn in the region of €48,000 per annum, for example, and the starting salary for a lawyer-linguist is €5,500 per month. The important and meaningful work undertaken by translators and lawyer-linguists is increasing the status of the Irish language in Ireland and in Europe.

What is the role of a lawyer-linguist?
EU lawyer-linguists ensure that all new legislation has the same meaning in every European language. The job requires capable lawyers with outstanding linguistic abilities, who are experienced in drafting or translating, checking or revising legal texts. Lawyer-linguists must be able to discern precisely what EU legislation is intended to convey, and faithfully reflect that intention in their own native language.

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    Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

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