The Atlantic University Alliance, a collaboration between NUI Galway, UCC and UL, delivers a suite of postgraduate courses in Technology Management and a comprehensive undergraduate programme in Science & Technology
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In an increasingly competitive and fast-paced working environment, how do you stay ahead of the curve? How do you ensure your skills are up to date and your work reflects best practice and is as effective as possible? Today’s imperative is that you must continually learn and keep track of developments in your industry – or, better still, drive those advances yourself.

There are many courses out there to help you on your journey, but if what you need is a short, sharp hit, if your time is limited or the up-skilling need is urgent, consider a standalone CPD (continuing professional development) module. Given that in the coming years, Engineers Ireland will require approximately 40 hours of CPD per annum to maintain membership, CPD is an important requirement for which smart professionals are making provision.

The Atlantic University Alliance (AUA) is a collaboration between NUI Galway, University of Limerick and University College Cork specifically set up to tackle the challenge of delivering industry-immersed courses to busy professionals. All AUA programmes are delivered using a combination of distance and on-line learning, with face-to-face tutorials, workshops and labs that are normally held on Saturdays. So it suits those working, or allows jobseekers to keep up their studies should they find employment.

The AUA delivers a suite of postgraduate courses in Technology Management and a comprehensive undergraduate programme in Science & Technology. Modules from these courses can be taken on a standalone basis to up-skill, deepen your understanding or break into new areas. As an individual module runs over a single semester, they can be used to quickly immerse yourself and gain a solid grounding in your topic of interest.

The benefit of continuous up-skilling is highlighted by Nuala McGuinn, director of the Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development at NUI Galway. “Our experience is that industry is more interested in employing people who can hit the ground running, people who can problem solve and make decisions rather than those who in effect have to be trained up to industry level,” she said.

As well as allowing you to keep to date and focus on niche areas, an additional benefit is that if you successfully complete a standalone module, you will get full credit for it should you then decide to go on to complete a full course, meaning your workload and costs are reduced for that course.

Atlantic University Alliance CPD

Nuala McGuinn, director of the Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development in NUI Galway

According to Dr Niamh Nolan, flexible learning development officer, NUI Galway, standalone modules are a useful way of testing out a course and seeing if it is right for you. “Do you like how it’s delivered, how the subject is approached? Is it at the right level? Can you handle the workload? Sometimes diving straight into a course can be a costly and confidence shaking mistake,” she said. “The CPD route affords you a degree of comfort in exploring a focused subject in depth, while building academic credit and considering your next step.”

Master’s-level study in Technology Management


The Technology Management Programme offers 12 modules at postgraduate level that can be taken individually for CPD purposes. The ethos of this master’s programme is to develop creative leaders and strategists who have the knowledge and skills, professional and personal resources, to determine the direction their business takes, and grasp opportunities to advance and innovate.

The modules on offer from this programme this January are:

  • Six Sigma;
  • Improving Business Processes;
  • Managing Technology Projects;
  • Technology Finance & Capital;
  • Technology Innovation & Entrepreneurship; and
  • People Management for Technology Organisations.

Take one of these modules as an end in itself or as an entry route to the full master’s award. In addition, the programme offers postgraduate diplomas in Innovation Management and Technology Commercialisation.

These courses consist of four taught modules and a project, taken over a single academic year, and are a good option if you want to specialise and up-skill rapidly. Again, these can be taken as a stepping stone towards the full MSc, allowing advanced entry and a reduced workload over the course of the MSc, a route that is becoming increasingly popular with time-strapped professionals.

Diploma- and degree-level study in Science & Technology


The Science and Technology Studies Programme offers over 50 modules at diploma and degree level. The programme is chosen by people seeking to fast track their careers or move into management roles. It was developed order to address current and future skill needs of high-tech working environments and to improve employability in a variety of technology-rich industries, such a manufacturing, biotechnology, biopharmaceuticals, and medical and other precision devices.

Over 20 modules from the programme, including the following, are available on a standalone basis starting in January:

Degree-level modules

  • Sustainable Energy;
  • Project Management;
  • Regulatory Compliance;
  • Quality Science – Six Sigma;
  • Environmental Impact Assessment
Atlantic University Alliance Brian O Donnchadha

Dr Brian Ó Donnchadha, co-ordinator of the Modular Programme in Science & Technology

Diploma-level modules

  • Introduction to Environmental Science;
  • Science, Technology & Innovation;
  • Organisational Behaviour;
  • Biology & Biotechnology;
  • Database Applications

Dr Brian Ó Donnchadha, co-ordinator of the modular programme in Science & Technology commented on the popularity of the programme among those working in high tech sectors. “The flexible structure gives professionals the opportunity to fit their education into their busy lives, allowing them the opportunity for deep learning in a supportive environment with highly trained tutors,” he said. “Keeping ahead of the curve is vital for job stability in an environment of continuous change.”

Specialist diplomas


As well as the diploma and BSc awards, the programme also offers degree-level specialist diplomas in niche areas:

  • Medical Device Science;
  • Lean & Quality Systems;
  • Environmental Sustainability;
  • Form & Function of the Human Body; and
  • Automation & Control (new for 2015).

The specialist diplomas consist of four taught modules and a project, taken over a single academic year, so are an option to consider if you cannot enter into a long-term course.

Blathnaid Bohan was struggling to break into the drug-device industry after graduating from TCD with her Pharmacy degree. “I can’t recommend highly enough the Specialist Diploma in Medical Device Design,” she said. “It opened many doors for me and just before graduating, I was offered a wonderful job with a leading orthopaedic device company. I’m convinced that this was based solely on the specialist diploma I’d completed.”

The diploma and degree modules cost €380 each, so are affordable options for anyone considering further education. The master’s-level modules start from €875. NUI Galway scholarships that cover 30% of the module fee may be available to those with a disability or in receipt of social welfare.

Applications are now being accepted for CPD modules starting in January 2015. Find further information, application details and an outline of the modules on offer on the programme website. Apply before Tuesday, 15 December 2014. For queries, call the programme administrator on 091 49 5845 or email sciencetech@nuigalway.ie.

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  In an increasingly competitive and fast-paced working environment, how do you stay ahead of the curve? How do you ensure your skills are up to date and your work reflects best practice and is as effective as possible? Today’s imperative is that you must continually learn and keep track...