National Co-ordinator : Bernard Burke
Secretary : Brigid Toher



In 1991, the Department of Education introduced a European Social Fund aided Staff Development Scheme (Training of Trainers) under which funds were made available to promote training courses for academic staff in the Regional Technical Colleges and DIT. A range of courses were devised and developed by the colleges, using, where possible, available in-house expertise.

The Masters Degree Strand provides training in new and advanced technologies and in the management of these technologies. To date, six masters programmes have been developed and organised on a modular structure.

The Masters Degree Programmes

Programme Panels, consisting of experts in the appropriate discipline areas, have been established for each programme. These Programme Panels have shaped and focused the thrust and content of each programme; designing subject briefs, outlining objectives and learning outcomes, and making calls for proposals from lecturers within Colleges to design, deliver and assess courses meeting these briefs.

Each programme has been submitted to the NCEA for accreditation. Advanced Engineering Techniques and Management in Education have been validated. The remaining should be evaluated before the end of this year.

The Target Audience

The programmes have two main objectives:

Staff Development: to enable college staff to update their skills and knowledge in specific areas to an appropriately high academic level. This is achieved through participation in one or more single subject certified course modules. In this case, students will receive Single Subject Certification (at Masters level) through the NCEA ACCS mode.

Upgrading Staff Qualifications: to enable college staff to obtain Masters Degree qualifications. This is achieved by successfully completing four course modules and a substantial project or dissertation.

In both cases, the course modules and associated assessment are identical. Each course module comprises 75 hours of class contact activity (lectures, labs, seminars, etc.) taken over three or four blocks of three or four days each. These blocks are normally scheduled for September, Christmas/Easter holidays and May/June.

Each course module and the project is awarded credits and participants may accumulate credits under NCEA ACCS towards the award of a Masters Degree. The structure of the NCEA Masters Degree is shown in the paragraph below. The award classification will be based on a Grade Point Average rating as follows:

1st Class Honours 3.4
2nd Class Honours Grade 1 3.0
2nd Class Honours Grade 2 2.8
Pass 2.0

The Masters Degree Structure

Activity Direct Hours Expected Study Hours Other Hours Total hours Credits
Module 1 75 150 - 225 9
Module 2 75 150 - 225 9
Module 3 75 150 - 225 9
Module 4 75 150 - 225 9
Project - - 600 600 24
TOTAL 300 600 600 1500 60

Admissions Requirements

NCEA Masters Degree admission requirements normally specify an honours degree in an appropriate discipline. Allowance may be made in exceptional circumstances for prior experiential learning. It is required that an applicant's main employment it in a RTC/DIT college.


All participants taking modules must also take the prescribed assessments. These may consist of written examinations, mini-projects and practical assessments and are, in general, sympathetic with the experience of the participants.