Irish Studies Degree Programs: Online and Campus-Based Programs

Learn about what undergraduate and graduate Irish studies programs are available and get information on potential Irish-related courses and career possibilities for Irish studies minors, majors and graduate students. Schools offering European History degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Kinds of Irish Studies Programs are Available?

Many institutions offer undergraduate Irish studies minors through their English or cultural studies departments in lieu of full Irish studies degree programs. These minors are generally completed on campus, but online courses in related Irish studies topics may be available depending on the institution and department. While courses are often geared toward students majoring in liberal arts subjects like politics, history, English or cultural studies, Irish studies minors are generally open to all undergraduates.

In most Irish studies minor programs, you'll complete 6-8 courses, or about 15-20 credit hours. Curriculum structure is usually flexible, allowing you to focus your minor on the area of Irish culture that most closely aligns with your professional goals. Mandatory courses for minors are generally basic and may cover the following:

  • Irish poetry and literature
  • Irish film, music and popular culture
  • Historical and contemporary Irish culture
  • Irish language and vocabulary

Many Irish studies minors also offer study abroad programs, allowing you to learn about Irish culture while taking courses at a university in Ireland. Completion of a study abroad program will generally count toward several of the credits required for your minor.

Degrees OfferedBachelor's (uncommon, although Irish Studies minors are available) and master's degrees
Common CoursesIrish literature, folklore, history, religion, politics, society/culture, language
Other RequirementsStudy abroad programs in Ireland may be available
Career OptionsVaries, but common occupational fields include liberal arts and humanities, politics/government, education, research and business

What Will I Learn in a Bachelor's Degree Program?

Undergraduate Irish studies majors are scarcer than minors. Some major programs may include 'Irish language and literature' in their titles instead of 'Irish studies.' You may be able to find an Irish studies bachelor's degree program offered in conjunction with another area of cultural studies or in conjunction with a master's degree program in Irish studies. Such programs may not allow you to attach the Irish studies component to your degree plan until you've achieved sophomore or junior standing. Courses required for an Irish studies bachelor's degree program are similar to those in a minor. Topics such as art, architecture, music, literature, folklore and religion may be covered.

What Topics Are Covered in a Master's Degree Program?

Master's degree programs in Irish culture, typically the Master of Arts (M.A.) format, emphasize multidisciplinary education. Some programs require you to formally declare an area of specialization. Regardless of whether or not you declare a degree focus, you can generally choose electives in the area of Irish studies that interests you most, such as literature or history. You can also take elective courses offered by a related department, such as political science.

As a student in an Irish studies master's degree program, you'll typically take core courses in Irish culture, literature, history and language. The language courses cover both historical and modern Irish, since it has evolved greatly over the years. Elective courses offered by Irish studies departments may include:

  • Irish dance and music
  • Catholicism
  • Playwriting
  • Immigration
  • Irish art
  • Contemporary sociology

Some programs also offer courses dedicated to specific events or individuals that are significant in Irish culture, such as James Joyce, Celtic music or the Great Famine. You'll need to either take an in-depth comprehensive examination or write and present a relevant thesis before becoming eligible for graduation.

What Can I Do with My Degree?

Career options for Irish studies degree program graduates vary according to the level of education attained. However, many colleges and universities report that Irish studies graduates find work in international politics, business or a liberal arts field. If you're interested in exploring the business or political arena, potential career options may include e-commerce, conflict resolution, and translation or interpreting. If you're more interested in liberal arts, your career options may include theatre, dance, journalism or public relations. Master's degree holders can become teachers of Irish studies or language; however, you may need to complete additional courses and requirements to earn teaching certification.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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