MA Irish Folklore & Ethnology

Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 90)

The MA Irish Folklore and Ethnology is a recently established programme which offers students the chance to acquire in-depth knowledge of a unique and vibrant aspect of Irish culture  –  that of oral tradition and folklore, representing the history and heritage of Ireland at vernacular level. Modules are available on a wide range of topics, including research theories, the study of oral narrative (storytelling), traditional music and song, fieldwork and archival methods, social tradition, popular belief systems, material culture, folk medicine, and Irish and European ethnology. The programme also offers students the opportunity to complete a Masters thesis or, for a limited number of students and where suitable work is available, the possibility of an internship in a related cultural body such as the National Folklore Collection.

Careers & Employability

Given the nature and reach of the subject, graduates in Irish Folklore and Ethnology can be found across a broad range of occupations and organisations, including heritage institutions, tradition archives, musuems and cultural bodies. Graduates have also found employment in teaching, research, the media and journalism. The MA in Irish Folklore and Ethnology can also act as a pathway to higher degrees in Irish Folklore, involving further in-depth research of a chosen topic.

Curricular information is subject to change

Full Time option suitable for:

Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. Yes

Part Time option suitable for:

Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. No

Full Time option suitable for:

Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. Yes

Part Time option suitable for:

Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. No   ???

This degree is aimed at students who want to explore Irish vernacular culture and popular tradition at graduate level, as part of their career development, as a pathway to further study, or for their own personal interest.

View All Modules Here

This programme involves two core modules, Advanced Research I and II, both of them taught modules which provide you with a grounding in the methodologies, practicalities and theoretical frameworks of Folkloristics and Folklore Studies. Your remaining taught modules will be selected from a range of options in Irish Folklore and related subjects, including but not limited to: 

  • Communicating Heritage
  • Museums and Heritage Policy
  • Scéalta Fiannaíochta 1300 – 1900 
  • An Béal Beo
  • Irish for Beginners

You will either complete a Masters thesis under the guidance of a member of the teaching staff in Irish Folklore or undertake a Work Placement (subject to availability) with the National Folklore Collection, the Irish Traditional Music Archive or The National Museum of Ireland’s Museum of Country Life.

MA Irish Folklore & Ethnology (Z253) Full Time
EU          fee per year - € 7315
nonEU    fee per year - € 19900

MA Irish Folklore & Ethnology (Z254) Part Time
EU          fee per year - € 4390
nonEU    fee per year - € 9950

***Fees are subject to change

Tuition fee information is available on the UCD Fees website.

Irish Folklore offers a number of scholarships for graduate students in the subject, including the Máire Mac Neill Scholarship, the Onfel and Isobel Thomas Scholarship (for students wishing to incorporate a course of study at a Scandinavian university as part of their MA studies), and the Dónall Ó Móráin Bursary (for students wishing to pursue their studies on an aspect of Folklore pertaining specifically to the Irish language).  For further information please see .

Please note that UCD offers a number of graduate scholarships for full-time, self-funding international students, holding an offer of a place on a UCD graduate degree programme. For further information please see International Scholarships.

In the normal course, entry requirements will consist of an undergraduate degree in the Arts, Humanities or Social Sciences with a minimum 2.1 or an equivalent of a UCD GPA of 3.08 (NFQ Level 8). The School may also consider applicants with equivalent qualifications/professional experience for the Pathway Programme.

Applicants are required to submit original academic transcripts.

Applicants are also required to submit two references, preferably both relating to academic performance.

For applicants with equivalent professional qualifications, applicants will be required to submit a focussed statement of 500 words stating why this particular programme is right for the candidate at this point in their career (to be part of the online application).

Applicants whose first language is not English are required to submit evidence of their language proficiency. Applicants will have reached an overall 7 in IELTS with no individual band lower than 6.5, or equivalent. The School is willing to consider applicants who achieve IELTS 6.5 if they attend a five-week pre-sessional language course offered by the UCD Applied Language Centre. 

A basic reading knowledge of the Irish language is recommended for MA students. This can be acquired concurrently with the student’s MA studies.

These are the minimum entry requirements – additional criteria may be requested for some programmes 

Luke Murphy 
MA 2018

This MA offers an opportunity students to spend a great deal of time in the National Folklore Collection, one of the richest tradition archives in the world with the possibility of completing a work placement there in the summer semester. The MA allowed me to undertake independent research while still being taught through lectures and seminars dealing with a wide range of topics, with the added advantage of accessing and researching the wealth of material housed in the National Folklore Collection.

This MA is unique in the level of access it offers students to the Irish National Folklore Collection, one of the biggest and most highly regarded collections of its kind in the world. The MA is delivered in co-operation with staff in the National Folklore Collection, thus providing students with the opportunity to explore this rich corpus of primary source material in their studies and in their research.

The following entry routes are available:

MA Irish Folklore & Ethnology FT (Z253)
1 Years
Full Time
Rolling *
MA Irish Folklore & Ethnology PT (Z254)
2 Years
Part Time
Rolling *

* Courses will remain open until such time as all places have been filled, therefore early application is advised