The University offers a comprehensive range of programmes in Irish in both part-time and full-time mode at a number of centres which serve a diverse constituency of students. The breadth of Irish language provision at Ulster and the practice amongst staff and students of using Irish as a primary medium of communication reflects the University’s strong commitment to cultural and linguistic diversity within Northern Ireland. The University’s Irish programmes play a vital role in preserving, sustaining and celebrating Ireland’s Gaelic literary and linguistic heritage as well as serving the demands of the Irish language sector within the local and international job market. At a personal level our programmes also fulfil the needs of individuals who wish to acquire the necessary competence to fully participate in the Irish language community as confident and independent users of the language. The Diploma programme has been designed to reflect the University’s vision of leading in the provision of professional education for professional life. The commitment to support graduates in gaining stimulating and fulfilling employment is one of the School’s primary concerns.
The Diploma in the Irish Language (Belfast, Magee, Cookstown) represents an exciting opportunity for a wide range of people to study the Irish language from a completely new beginning. Over the two years you will receive a solid grounding in the key areas of Irish pronunciation, conversation, grammar and reading and writing skills.
On completion, you will be able to display fundamental oral and written communicative skills in Irish, demonstrate a knowledge of Irish grammatical structure and be able to read selected items from the literature.
As well as serving as a possible pathway for entry to a BA degree in Irish, the course can be seen as a free-standing unit in its own right which will help open up third level education to a wider audience.
Also offered at as a validated course in Southern Regional College, Newry (contact SRC directly for further information).
Part-time (2 years). Classes normally take place from September to May every week (Monday 6.00pm - 9.00pm) with additional lectures/seminars either being offered every second Wednesday or in blocks depending on venue. The course includes on-line tuition and a full induction is provided for those with no computing experience.
Teaching, Learning and Assessment
Our highly experienced teaching staff use numerous different approaches to ensure all learning styles are catered for. All the language skills are taught in a holsitic way and based on material that shows Irish being used in everyday settings.
Not only will you work with bespoke resources in class, but you will have access to a range of online materials that will complement the learning in the classroom. Full training will be provided in the use of these technologies.
Assessments happen at the end of each semester. You will be assessed on the various language skills and feedback from these will help inform your own study.
The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.
Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:
the requirements of any professional, regulatory, statutory and accrediting bodies.
Attendance and Independent Study
As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until near the start date and may be subject to change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days of attendance will often be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.
Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.
The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.
Postgraduate Masters courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.
Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.
Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be via one method or a combination e.g. examination and coursework . Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Normally, a module will have four learning outcomes, and no more than two items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.
Calculation of the Final Award
The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6 (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).
Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Masters degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.
All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Masters degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.
Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.
The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.
Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (20%) or Lecturers (55%).
We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) by Advanced HE - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.
The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.
Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.
Figures correct for academic year 2021-2022.
High quality apartment living in Belfast city centre adjacent to the university campus.
Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.
Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.
This module takes new entrants to the course from ab-initio level to having a sound grasp of the basic structure of the language to include the acquisition of rudimentary communication skills.
Buntús Gaeilge 2
This module takes students from ab-initio level to having a sound grasp of the basic structure of the language to include the acquisition of rudimentary communication skills. Taken with IRS001, this module will allow the learner to achieve linguistic competence at level A2 of the CEFR.
Gaeilge Mheánleibhéil 1
This module will take students from CEFR level A1/A2 (achieved via IRS001 and IRS148) to level B1 and help them to make the transition from Basic Users to Independent Users of Irish.
Gaeilge Mheánleibhéil 2
This module will build upon IRS149 and consolidate students' skills at CEFR level B1, i.e. as independent users of Irish.
Standard entry conditions
We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.
GCSE profile to include a pass in English Language plus 4 other subjects at grade C or above (or equivalent).
English Language Requirements
English language requirements for international applicants The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.
Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.
Employment opportunities exist in a wide range of areas including education, the media, publishing, government, librarianship and various areas of business.
Work placement / study abroad
Fees and funding
Fees (total cost)
Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and EU Settlement Status Fees
England, Scotland, Wales and the Islands Fees
Scholarships, awards and prizes
Scholarships may be available for GAA members as part of the 'Gaeilge sa Chlub' Scheme.
Additional mandatory costs
It is important to remember that costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges) and normal living will need to be covered in addition to tuition fees.
Where a course has additional mandatory expenses (in addition to tuition fees) we make every effort to highlight them above. We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals, as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free Wi-Fi are also available on each of the campuses.
There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.
Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as a part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs, as well as tuition fees.
“I really enjoyed and benefitted from the Diploma course. I went from having virtually no Irish to being comfortable using Irish in everyday situations. The tutors understood that it was difficult for me to return to education and they really helped build my confidence.”
“Bhain mé sult mór as an chúrsa seo. Cé go raibh beagán Gaeilge agam ag tosú dom, chuidigh an cúrsa seo liom eolas a chur ar rialacha gramadaí na teanga agus cuid de na drochnósanna a bhí agam a dhíbirt as mo chuid cainte/scríbhneoireachta.”