In the right place, doing what is right for me

By: Mary Tobin who starts the MA in Applied Psychology (Mental Health) this September.

I came to UCC as a mature student to do a BA in Applied Psychology. The combination of college, family responsibilities, work, and voluntary commitments was a challenge to manage at times. Two of the things that sustained me through my degree were my passion for my chosen course of study – and sharing that course with some of the friendliest, funniest, and most interesting people who I’ve met. For me, having a second chance at education meant that I was determined to ride out the occasional wobble and keep trying to do my best and engage fully with my studies.

An important part of the BA in Applied Psychology is the independent research project. I was lucky to have both the freedom and the support from my academic supervisor to carry out a research study of my own design, on a topic about which I care, with a community-based sample. Taking on this intensive research work built on my practical skills (such as participant recruitment and analysis) but also built up my sense of myself as a researcher and someone who belongs in this academic space. The milestones in my educational journey were these rare but recurring moments of gradual realisation: Yes, I actually know what I am about and what I am talking about.

The choice to do a postgraduate degree in UCC was a straightforward one. My chosen course – the MA in Applied Psychology (Mental Health) – is the only Masters degree in psychology in Ireland which has an integrated six month placement supervised by a clinical or counselling psychologist. The School of Applied Psychology in UCC has been building links with Adult Mental Health, Child and Adolescent Mental Health, and Intellectual Disability Services, as well as other psychological service providers including counselling, addiction services, services for older adults, and those for other vulnerable populations. This means that I will have the opportunity to work in a supervised placement – an advantage for any psychology graduate planning to apply to clinical doctorate programmes.

As well as a placement, the MA will also allow me to keep developing my research skills on another independent research project. I will also have the benefit of taught modules which are tailored for students pursuing the clinical psychology route.

Although I am apprehensive – to say the least – about the financial challenges of a postgraduate course in UCC, I know from my undergraduate experience that I am in the right place, doing what is right for me.


The Philosophy behind choosing UCC

By: Conor Nolan who starts the Philosophy HDip in Arts this September.

Every good story needs a back story:

In 2013 I graduated from my primary degree in Management Science. The rationale I used to choose this course were pragmatic, it was a technical course which would lend proficiencies in business, mathematics and computer science. I surmised this would increase my employability and it did. However, something was missing. After running the gauntlet of the job market and some serious soul searching, I found I had not followed my passion but rather my rational mind. In my search to find my passion, I did not find one but many.


It was British Philosopher Alan Watts who acted as my career guide. I learned about the Philosophies of the East and found I had a great love of wisdom and a new path to travel. Upon enquiry into postgraduate courses in Philosophy I found UCC’s Higher Diploma in Philosophy which covered oriental philosophies while giving a comprehensive choice of modules in every area I wished to learn about. The icing on the cake was that it was in Cork! I am from Athlone and although I am well-travelled I had never been to the real capital of Ireland. I had heard the stories and the accent but I needed to experience it first-hand. I have walked the campus grounds and I was very impressed with the quiet and relaxed atmosphere.


Cork city is vibrant, the people are cordial and always ready to chat, I have had several great conversations with Cork natives since I have arrived. I have sorted accommodation and a part-time job, so the academic year is really shaping up to be one to remember. There was some planning to be done to make this transition to Cork, finances had to be organised, research into the course modules had to be completed and living arrangements had to be made. These pieces have fallen into place beautifully and now I am looking forward to enjoying college life and all that Cork has to offer. I have to bring some essentials for my time in Cork; a desk and chair for doing college work while at home, my bedside lamp for doing any late night reading, my laptop, pens and paper for recording any miraculous ideas I might have and perhaps a skull for my desk to remind me of the value of time! I leave you with a quote from the Philosopher that inspired me to take choose this UCC course in Philosophy.


The only way to make sense of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance

Alan Watts

The Beginning of Something Extraordinary

By:  Laila Shwaiki who starts the MSc. in Food Microbiology this September

It wasn’t that long ago that I was attending my last few months of lectures as an undergraduate at, what was at the time, my current university. As soon as I applied for the postgraduate course in UCC, I knew things were going to change. As the months went by and my final exams were completed, I knew I had done my very best to try and get the grades required to be accepted into a place that could possibly be my life for the next year. As the summer months flew by, so did my desire for Cork and all its opportunities it had waiting for me. Once I knew my destination for the next 12 months, my next step was looking for a place to live. Anyone who has ever had the opportunity of searching for accommodation will agree with me when I say that it is one of the many unpleasant struggles of becoming a new student in a completely new environment. For me, it was a battle that I proudly conquered after many months of searching.

Many people have questioned my decision of choosing UCC as my next step for my studies; and all of the people that wondered this were never given the chance to experience the profundity and history that leached through the walls of the buildings and onto the rich grounds of the campus that preserves the culture that surrounds UCC. Other people who know UCC understood immediately why I chose a city so far from my comfort zone. I attended NUIG for four long and unforgettable years and got to explore every inch of its campus. UCC, to me, gave off that same intensity that I got from my first visit at NUIG. The history, the culture, the elegance of the buildings and the old but modernised feel that the whole campus was able to give me instantly won me over.

Two weeks before the big move and the next step in my journey was deciding what to bring with me to this new city. Like any person, personal belongings are a must in any big move; but what type of emotional baggage was I going to be bringing with me and what should stay behind? As a 21-year-old woman moving away from all her friends and family, what type of mentality should I have as I embrace the city life alone? Will my current mental state that has allowed me to get through the first part of my life be enough? As my new path for a new beginning edges closer, I’m finally beginning to understand that maybe there’s nothing extraordinary that I need to be bringing with me, because I know that UCC is going to give me everything I really need. And maybe more.

3 Reasons I’m going back to UCC to do a postgrad

quad-with-red-ivy By: Tim Kelly who starts the MSc Information Systems for Business Performance this September.

Quick question, what’s your plan when you graduate? Are you going to undertake a masters? maybe work? or travel? This is a question that reverberated throughout my mind as I undertook my final year of commerce, I expect many others thought about it as well. In fact, it wasn’t till June I decided to do a Masters and why did I go back to UCC? Well that was easy…….


“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”

W.B Yeats

Truthfully, undertaking a Masters is a huge commitment not only of money (Thank God for the Credit Union) and time (a full 12 months). Thus I wanted to make sure when I return to college, the college would be well respected and a great institution to learn. Just last year, UCC was named the Sunday Time’s University of the Year.

As for my course, I minored in Information Systems throughout my BComm so therefore I will be undertaking a Masters in Information Systems for Business Performance (ISBP).  Its a healthy mixture between I.T and management skills and has been consistently ranked as one of the best postgraduate courses in Ireland. Just recently it won the Best Postgrad IT course in Ireland for the third time.


Another big factor in returning to UCC is I set up the Judo Club and it’s recently about to reach the 5 year mark. The Club has grown a lot to become the biggest college judo club in Ireland where it won Best Men & Women’s Team and 26 medals at the 2016 Intervarsities. I have been doing Judo for about 16 years and I’m glad UCC granted me the opportunity to set one up.

I even helped out in the Clubs Executive where I acted as the Martial Arts Representative in 2014/15 which helped me understand how each club is run. I may also be biased as I won a Bene Merenti award for my work.

JudoMain Campus

As a former BComm student, I’m fully aware of how spoilt I’ve been in regards to classes on main campus. It’s undeniably beautiful and for anyone who’s grown up on Harry Potter, the west wing and Aula Maxima are Hogwarts.  Of course, the Harry Potter society  really took it to the extreme with their House Sorting ceremony.

HARRY pOTTEROf course, main campus hosts the most activity as well particularly during R&G week and Freshers week. These events turn campus into a lively affair where you’ll meet everyone you know. My preference is those early summer days on campus where you can sit out and enjoy the sunshine on campus, they’re rare but spectacular.

Student CentreThose are my top three reasons why I’m returning to UCC next month. I hope you enjoyed them, and if you want to let me know why you’re thinking of doing a postgrad just tweet me at TK_174 (don’t forget to use the hashtag #uccpostgrad :))


The College of Medicine and Health Postgraduate Student Committee has organised three new events:

pg society

  1. The ‘SPEAK’ Workshop

Open to all postgraduate students at UCC.

A Monthly Meeting ‘Our aim is to improve public speaking skills.’ The meeting will run for two hours on a Tuesday Evening.

DATE: Tuesday 9th February 2016
VENUE AND TIME: Room 2.25 in Brookfield Health & Science Complex from 6:30 pm-8:30 pm.


Workshop involves:
Short presentations, giving positive feedback and thinking on your feet
Tea and Coffee Provided

2. Writing a Good Research Paper

Open to all College of Medicine and Health postgraduate students at UCC.

Workshop presented by Professor Ivan Perry.

DATE: Wednesday 17th February 2016
VENUE AND TIME: 3.04 Western Gateway Building, 12 noon to 2.00 pm

3. Social Media for Academics & Researchers

Open to all College of Medicine and Health postgraduate students at UCC.

Workshop presented by Dr Darren Dahly.

DATE: Wednesday 4th May 2016
VENUE AND TIME: G04 – Western Gateway Building, 11.00 am

The ‘SPEAK’ Workshop for Postgraduate Students

Postgraduate Student Committee, Graduate School of Medicine & Healthpg society


The ‘SPEAK’ Workshop

A Monthly Meeting

‘Our aim is to improve public speaking skills.’

The meeting will run for two hours on a Tuesday Evening

Third meeting is Tuesday January 12th

Room 2.25 in Brookfield Health & Science Complex from 19:30-21:30



Workshop involves:

Short presentations, giving positive feedback and thinking on your feet

Tea and Coffee Provided

Postgraduate Architecture Students Win European Architectural Medal



UCC/CIT Architecture (MA) students Kieran Cremin and Eoghan Horgan’s project “Entangled City” was awarded a European Architectural Medal in Architecture (Prize for Innovation) in December 2015.

“This prize is a fitting and well deserved acknowledgement of our student talent and their incredible work ethic; all of which, well hidden behind modest exteriors” (Jason O’Shaughnessy, Master of Architecture Course Director).

The project addresses the cultural dissonance between Prague’s history and present day tourist industry. You can view the full project and the Jury comments at this link.

Well done also to our student Aisling Byrne who was also shortlisted for the European Architectural Medals ‘Best Diploma Project’. You can view Aisling’s project here.

Find out more about the UCC Postgraduate Architecture (MArch) here.

European Architectural Medals – Best Diploma Projects is an annual European competition that awards excellence in crossing the threshold from education to profession. The competition is organised by:

  • University of Architecture and Urbanism Ion Mincu (UAUIM)
  • European Association for Architectural Education (EAAE)
  • The Architects’ Council of Europe (ACE)

Find out more here


UCC RESEARCH: Development of InAlN/GaN high electron mobility transistors for space applications

phd student research university college cork

By Dr Matt Smith, Researcher, Tyndall National Institute

In recent years the discovery of hundreds of extra-solar planets has led to the consideration of Jupiter as a gas-giant archetype, and the emerging field of astrobiology has refocused the search for extra-terrestrial life on its larger moons.

Proper investigation of the Jovian system is currently limited by the stability and reliability of the electrical components used to process experimental data aboard unmanned probes and transmit back to Earth. In this work I investigate InAlN/GaN high electron mobility transistors (HEMTs) as a candidate for future missions, such as the European Space Agency’s upcoming Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer, based on the recent successes of the established AlGaN/GaN HEMT technology. InAlN HEMTs showed good suitability for space applications through electrical characterization after exposure to high temperatures and gamma radiation and by extended bias stressing. A comparison between InAlN and AlGaN HEMTs, both in various stages of development, highlighted the great potential of the material system to provide space-ready electronics. The physics behind HEMT operation was explored, leading to optimisation of device performance and reliability and culminating in the realization of InAlN HEMTs manufactured in a typical AlGaN HEMT production environment. The success of the project sets the stage for wide-scale implementation of GaN-based electronics in the space industry, which is expected to occur in the years to come, and circumvents the major obstacle of electrical failure from mankind’s route to exploring and understanding the universe at large.

UCC Postgrad Image of the Year 2016 – ENTER NOW!



Competition Terms and Conditions

The closing date for entries for the next competition is midnight on January 8th 2016.

  1. This competition is open to UCC current/registered postgraduate students on part-time or full-time, taught and research courses for academic year 2015/2016.
  2. Each entry must be accompanied by one paragraph, no more than 150 words explaining the image.
  3. All information detailing how to enter this competition forms part of these terms and conditions. It is a condition of entry that all rules are accepted as final and that the competitor agrees to abide by these rules. The decision of the judges is final and no correspondence will be entered into. Submission of an entry will be taken to mean acceptance of these terms and conditions.
  4. Entries should be submitted by via email to Entries must be labelled with the entrant’s name and image files must be at least 72 dpi and between 1MB and 3MB. Entrants should include a) name b) student number and c) email address.
  5. All entries must be received by the advertised closing time and date.
  6. All images submitted must be the work of the individual submitting them and must not have been published elsewhere or have won a prize in any other photographic competition. It is the responsibility of each entrant to ensure that any images they submit have been taken with the permission of the subject and do not infringe the copyright of any third party or any laws. Entrants must warrant that the photograph they are submitting is their own work and that they own the copyright for it.
  7. Copyright in all images submitted for this competition remains with the respective entrants. However, in consideration of their providing the image for this competition, each entrant grants a worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual licence to UCC Graduate Studies to feature any or all of the submitted images in any of their publications, their websites and/or in any promotional material.
  8. One entry allowed per person. Late, illegible, incomplete, defaced or corrupt entries will not be accepted. No responsibility can be accepted for lost entries and proof of transmission will not be accepted as proof of receipt. Entries must not be sent through agencies or third parties.
  9. The winning entry will be that that is judged to be the most visually appealing, original and self-explanatory.
  10. First prize is a €150 One4all voucher. Second prize is a €50 One4all voucher.
  11. All prizes are non-transferable and there are no cash alternatives.
  12. Events may occur that render the competition itself or the awarding of the prizes impossible due to reasons beyond the control of UCC and accordingly UCC may at its absolute discretion vary or amend the promotion and the entrant agrees that no liability shall attach to UCC as a result thereof.

Masters in Teaching Chinese to Students of other Languages

How one UCC postgraduate student found our MA in Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages

  • Learner-centred
  • Communicative
  • Interactive

chinese studies 2

By Alana Eileen Dooley

During the previous three to four months I have extended my understanding on a variety of pedagogy. I have also sculpted myself into being a type of teacher that I greatly wanted to be and this Masters programme has facilitated me in doing so. During the past few months I have observed on-site and off-site language classes, attended several presentations by a variety of independent and government official bodies, gained the skills necessary to teach, and I have also achieved a basic understanding of in-depth Action Research which can be applied to my future learning. To summarize this Masters programme in three words I would use: learner-centred, communicative, and interactive.