Night-time Degrees for Adults at Maynooth University

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The BA in Local Studies (Arts) and the BA in Community Studies (Social Science) (MH803) are specifically designed for Adult Students (over 21 on 1 January 2023) who are interested in pursuing a Part-Time Evening degree. These flexible Night-time Degrees for Adults at Maynooth University have been developed for people who are busy with work, family and daily life and who can’t take up full-time university education. If you are interested in History, Folklore, Geography, Education and the Arts, the Environment, Community and Youth work, Society and Culture and you have two evenings a week free then these wide ranging degrees may be for you. 

At our Open Days on Friday 25 and Saturday 26 Nov. 2022  you can get more information about the degrees and about how to apply through the CAO.  For more information and to register for the event click HERE.  

Night-time Degrees for Adults at Maynooth University

What the students say:

Jacqueline Cummings BA Community Studies student.

It seems a distant memory, but what started out for me as “just doing a 16-week Communiversities course” in Coolock Library, resulted in me having the bright idea that I would go on to do a part-time degree course in Maynooth; Bachelor of Arts in Local and Community Studies to be more precise.  Yes, it seemed like a daunting task, but not so daunting as to turn me off, and so it began!

On the first night, approximately twenty of us newbies sat around a classroom and were given an overview of what the course we had enrolled for entailed. I was slightly anxious that third-level academia might be too difficult for me, given that I have been out of education since I finished my Leaving Certificate in the 1980s! However, reading back through my learning journal, I noticed that I have always emphasised to my children that education is power. So, it seems appropriate to be taking that concept on board for myself. 

I didn’t embark upon this degree with one particular area of the course in mind to primarily focus on, I came in with a very open mind. The course content is very rich and informative weekly for all modules. As the weeks are progressing and an abundance of information is being given, I find myself being drawn more and more toward Social Studies. The Local Studies course contents have some very fascinating aspects, but Community Studies appears to outweigh that for me.

Some weeks into the course, ‘Anthropology’ came up in discussion in Community Studies. I really didn’t know what anthropology was! Sociology is very widely known and discussed, but anthropology almost sounded like something one would do with animals! When I actually did discover what anthropology entails, I found myself fascinated. I was particularly happy to hear that we could choose both Anthropology and Sociology as modules in this degree,

So, to sum up… to date, it would appear that I have hope that I can overcome all of my adversities. I certainly will give it my best shot, I am really enjoying the challenge, and even if I don’t always know what things mean, it is very rewarding to realise how much I am learning, after so many years out of education. Overall, I am enjoying the course very much. The participants are lovely and if anyone can help out, they will. Our tutors are extra helpful. Onwards I go, with fear but also with hope, courage and determination to get through this. 

   Excerpts taken with permission from Jacqueline Cummings Learning Journal Essay.

Seán Ó Broin BA Local Studies student.

The BA Local Studies is an excellent course for mature students, since the programme is interdisciplinary with subjects ranging from history, geography, adult education, anthropology, sociology, classics, and archaeology. I now view Ireland through a giant lens in the context of history, archaeology and the impact of the ice age and climate change on the physical landscape. 

The lecturers are excellent and the field trips and summer schools are a most enjoyable and satisfying feature of the programme – they bring everything together in a meaningful way. Some of the summer schools on the Local Studies degree provide the opportunity to carry out actual fieldwork, resulting in great insights into where archaeologists are coming from with a consequential understanding of the contents of their reports. 

Although retired from the workforce for some years, I would strongly recommend the degree as a means to improving career prospects. The programme provides skill sets of critical assessment tools that are invaluable for business application: How to think rationally; how to argue logically. How to look critically at documents.  

Writing a thesis is the course highlight for most students – the opportunity for practical research based on the cumulative skill sets taught to students during their studies. It provides the opportunity for practical research in a topic of particular interest to students. Finally, all in all, the night-time degree is very well organised and delivered and strongly recommended – the two evenings spent at lectures is much better that being glued to the television set. I have made good friends on the BA, so the social aspect is just as important apart from the subjects you study since you have a friendly face to have a cuppa with when the going gets tough.

Glen Patrick Smith: 

My intentions for starting the BA in Local/Community Studies were, to equip myself with a better understanding of society in a community setting, and to eventually work within the community. Initially I had my mind set on supporting people with addictions, the more I get into the BA and the more I become interested in the course content the more my mind is becoming open to other possibilities. I felt I had the confidence to take on this degree and I was excited about the whole process, I was eager to get stuck in. When I first looked at the BA in Community Studies I was interested in a lot of the modules, knowing what kind of a learner I am, I need to be really interested in what I am doing in order to learn. Another attractive aspect of the course was that it was an evening course, part time, which really suited me as this gave me the perfect opportunity to reflect, on the drive to and from the university each week. I love learning and think it is an endless upgrading of your knowledge, I especially love that magic moment when you think you know all there is to know about something or you are so used to thinking a certain way about something, suddenly or gradually you learn something new or think differently about what you were once so sure about, it’s in that moment where I learn the most, I hope I never stop searching for that moment. 

Dr Derek Barter BA manager:

As you can see from the students’ reflections above the people who come onto the night-time degree for adults do so for all kinds of reasons. Here in the Department of Adult and Community Education we have almost 50 years of experience working with people who have been out of formal education for any number of years. Our students hail from all walks of life, with varying levels of qualifications behind them, from people who left school without the Leaving Cert. to those with Master’s degrees and everything in between. The one thing that unites them above all else is a desire to learn and this degree programme has been developed specifically with adult students in mind to fulfil this motivation.  So if you are interested in Local History and/or social justice; community and youth work, climate change; politics and society or just trying to make sense of it all then contact or call 01 708 6062 to find out more. 

How to apply

Adults can be very put off by the thoughts of applying through the CAO and think that it is all about Leaving Cert. points etc.  In fact, applications for the Adult Student part-time evening degrees (MH803) Local Studies/Community Studies could not be more straightforward and simple and there will be an easy guide to application for MH803 available at the Open Days.  

Before you apply here are some of the most common questions that people ask about the BA Local Studies/BA Community Studies MH803: 

Do I need a Leaving Cert.? NO

Am I too old? NO. We have people from their 20s up into their 80s

Am I too long out of education? NO

Are there Exams? NO. All continuous assessment.

Will I get Study Support? YES. We have a dedicated academic support officer for our night time students. 

Will I be able for it? Let’s Find Out.

Do I have to Fill out the CAO? Sort of but talk to us first  


Maynooth University is a constituent university of the National University of Ireland. It is located in Maynooth, County Kildare, Ireland. It is Ireland’s youngest university, having been founded by the Universities Act, 1997 from the secular faculties of the now separate St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, which was founded in 1795.

Maynooth University’s Department of Adult and Community Education (DACE) is the only specialist academic department for the education of adults in Ireland.

Learn more & explore courses here

Steven Galvin

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