In Blog, Irish Universities

Ireland has seen an explosion of new degree offerings in recent years.

As more and more multi-national companies select Ireland for their regional headquarters, the demand for a wide range of key skilled workers has intensified. So, it’s no surprise that the range of degrees being offered by Irish universities continues to diversify to support key sectors – such as Financial Services, Life Sciences, Pharmaceutical and Technology – in the continually growing Irish economy.

There are a number of traditional degrees that remain popular amongst international students, such as, Accounting & Finance, Law, Engineering and Medicine. However, there are some key emerging degrees which are growing in popularity.

Let’s discuss the five top trending degrees in Ireland!

1. Data Science & Analytics

The World Economic Forum predicts that by 2022data scientists and analysts will become the number one emerging role in the world. Furthermore, a career in data science can allow you to work across a range of sectors and skills are in high demand. To help you get career-ready, University College Cork offer a BSc (Hons) Data Analytics & Science degree which provides an education in data storage, manipulation and interpretation using mathematical sciences and computational methods to assist us in solving complex real-world problems.

The course at UCC is one of two such programmes offered in Ireland and amongst a dozen offered worldwide. Plus, an integral part of the programme is a core work placement module undertaken in Year 3 – to give you real-life experience and start your networking for when it comes to looking for employment post-graduation.

Pathway programme: International Foundation Year – Engineering & Technology programme

Possible jobs: Data Analyst, Big Data Solutions Lead Engineer, Data Scientist, Business Intelligence Analyst, Technical Product Manager, Consultant, Big Data Architect, IT Operations Manager

Average salary: According to Glassdoor data, a data scientist working in Ireland earns an average of €50,000 per year – with a graduate salary starting around €35,000.


2. Pharmaceutical Sciences

Ireland is recognised as a popular pharmaceutical European location – as a result there are a large number of both international and local companies in the Pharma industry in Ireland. But it’s not all white coats!

Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) offer a popular BSc (Hons) in Chemical and Pharmaceutical Science which strives to ensure graduates are ready for immediate employment in the pharmceutical, chemical, biomedical and biotechnology sectors. The programme focuses on the practical application of chemistry and includes Medicinal Chemistry, Forensic Analysis, Quality Management, Pharmaceutical Science and Analytical Techniques.

Pathway programme: International Foundation Year – Science programme

Possible jobs: Development Chemist, Research and Teaching, Quality Assurance, Regulatory Affairs, Manufacturing

Average salary: According to, the average salary for someone working in pharmaceutical research and development is approximately, €46,000


3. Liberal Arts

For students who aren’t into number-crunching and sciences, there are still opportunities for you to develop vital career skills whilst remaining flexible to explore different areas of interest. This is where the Liberal Arts degree with Mary Immaculate College offers a unique study abroad experience. The degree is purposefully structured to remain flexible with students studying four different subject majors in First Year and then focus of two of these majors to study to degree level as joint honours. Subject offerings include languages, Drama & Theatre Studies, Media& Communication Studies or Psychology.

Pathway programme: International Foundation Year – Business programme

Possible jobs: The sky is the limit with graduates finding employment in a wide range of sectors including Academic Administration, Arts Bodies, Publishing, Film Industry, Tourism, Television & Radio, Public Service, Social Services, International and EU Organisations, Region and Local Community Development and so on.


4. Software Development/Engineering

Programming is at the very core of IT and with the continuous growth in the tech sector, there is an ever-growing demand for skilled software developers and engineers. So, getting the right start is very important and this is something where Munster Technology University (MTU) in Cork excels.

The BSc (Hons) Software Development degree with MTU provides students with an in-depth knowledge of modern software development languages, techniques, tools, methodologies and their application to real-world problems. Crucially, students are equipped with research skills that will enable them to become independent self-learners. Furthermore, in Year 3, you’ll be given the opportunity to dip your toe into the real-world as a software developer by doing a work placement.

Pathway programme: International Foundation Year – Engineering & Technology programme

Possible jobs: Programmer, Software Developer, Systems Programmer, Hardware Programmer

Average salary: According to, starting salaries are approximately €30,000 for graduates increasing to up to €75,000 for senior roles


5. Artificial Intelligence

The world of robotics and artificial intelligence is progressing at a rapid pace and creating high demand for new skills. A career in this field focuses on the design, implementation and use of intelligent physical things in the environment – such as robots, autonomous vehicles, smart sensors and internet-of-things devices. To support students in the development of broad skills, Maynooth University offer a BSc (Hons) in Robotics and Intelligent Devices which blends electronic engineering and computer science to focus on adding intelligence to every day systems and developing robots that can interact with humans and our environment.

In this incredible degree, you will have the opportunity to work with multiple robotic and intelligent device platforms and you will develop a portfolio of projects over the course of your degree programme.

Pathway programme: International Foundation Year – Engineering & Technology programme

Possible jobs: Robotics Engineer, Software Engineer/Developer, Automation Engineer, Embedded Systems Engineer, Intelligent Systems Architect, Intelligence Analyst

Average salary: According to, the average salary of a Robotics Engineer in Ireland is €40,000, increasing to €50-60K for Automation/Controls Engineers

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