Postgraduate study in engineering
Your postgraduate options in Engineering
Postgraduate study in engineering can be challenging, very time consuming but ultimately extremely rewarding once you have a clear path in mind. Make sure you carefully weigh up all your options before making your decision.
Due to the highly technical level of knowledge required, employers in the engineering sector put a great deal of value on the right postgraduate qualification. What's important on a further study degree can also be what's important on an engineering project; such as learning new skills quickly, managing and coordinating a project and defining, investigating and solving complex problems. But, your postgrad qualification doesn't automatically guarantee you a job of course, you'll still have to navigate the challenges of interviews and assessment centres. Before you start any further study in the engineering sector, it may be beneficial to obtain some experience in a work setting, as you will gain more insight into what your chosen sector actually involves, and if you're good enough, your employer may see enough value in you obtaining further qualifications to sponsor your further study.
There are a very wide range of postgraduate courses in engineering, check out www.gradireland.com/further-study to search for one that would suit you, but make sure you read as much about the course before you consider applying. Another excellent source of information is the national accreditation and representative body for the industry, Engineers Ireland (www.engineersireland.ie).
Choosing the right course and institution
One you've found the course that's right for you, you'll need to choose the right institution. That could mean continuing at your undergraduate University, in a setting you're familiar with, or perhaps you would benefit from a fresh start in a fresh setting. Your original University could possibly have more to offer in terms of supports and funding though, so make sure you make an informed decision. A departure into the world of postgraduate study will help you expand your horizons and build a new network of contacts and access to specialised academic expertise. Whether you're determined to build a career in industry or would prefer to stay in academia, your prospects will be greatly enhanced if you develop a range of skills that will complement yuour growing academic knowledge. Develop a strong knowledge of the commercial side of the industry and research the major players and trends there. Make sure you make the most of any opportunities to attend professional development courses, conferences or outreach courses, these will help develop your core skills and transferable skills, in addition to providing you with fresh insights into the industry.
Although a postgraduate qualification does not automatically open the doorto a fast-track career in engineering, statistics suggestthatthe employment prospects of postgraduates are better.
The number of engineering graduates going onto further study in this field has grown in recent years and there is a rich variety of courses available, from year-long taught postgraduate diplomas and Masters programmes to research based MPhils and PhDs. It’s also possible to do conversion courses in engineering, although these will usually require a primary degree in a related discipline. Funded Masters and PhDs are usually advertised on institution websites and often in the national press. Check the course database on gradireland.com/further-study for an up-to-date list. Many engineering graduates pursue postgraduate diplomas or Masters in finance, business and project management, enabling them to apply for engineering- and business-related roles upon graduating.
In spite of the downturn, recent years have seen much investment in research and development (R&D) activity across the island of Ireland. Both the Irish and UK governments are investing in collaborations between industry and academia to stimulate growth. Correspondingly it has become more and more common for institutions to collaborate with industry to provide courses that combine study with practical, handson experience, such as the PhD and MEngSc in Power Electronics and Energy Conversion offered by NUI Galway’s College of Engineering and Informatics. Both courses are delivered by the Power Electronics Research Centre (Perc) in Galway, one of six centres established under the Programme of Advanced Technology that operates as a partnership between industry, government and the university sector. Institutions and departments that offer postgraduate courses in engineering include:
- Dublin Institute of Technology, College of Engineering and Built Environment www.dit.ie/Postgrad/engineering
- Dundalk Institute of Technology, School of Engineering www.dkit.ie/ schools_and_departments/ engineering
- NUI Galway, College of Engineering and Informatics www.nuigalway.ie/engineering
- Queen’s University Belfast, School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering www.qub.ac.uk/ schools/SchoolofPlanning ArchitectureandCivilEngineering
- Trinity College Dublin, School of Engineering www.tcd.ie/ Engineering/postgraduate
- University College Cork, College of Science, Engineering and Food Science www.ucc.ie/en/sefs • University College Dublin, College of Engineering, Mathematical & Physical Sciences www.ucd.ie/engscience/ graduateschool
- University of Limerick, Faculty of Science and Engineering www.scieng.ul.ie
- University of Ulster, Faculty of Computing and Engineering www.compeng.ulster.ac.uk
- Queen’s University Belfast, School of Electrical Engineering www.qub.ac.uk/schools/eeecs Visit gradireland.com/furtherstudy for a comprehensive searchable course database, supplied by Qualifax.ie.