UCC Postgraduate courses

English as an Additional Language

Course Fact File
Duration1 Year (10 months)
Teaching ModeFull-time
QualificationsPG Dip
NFQ LevelLevel 9
Closing DateNot on offer 2024/2025
Non-EU Closing DateNot on offer 2024/2025
Start DateNot on offer 2024/2025

Course Outline

Our Postgraduate Diploma in English as an Additional Language (EAL) is a unique blended learning course (50% online, 50% face-to-face) that offers flexibility to teaching professionals and support staff across the educational spectrum who wish to upskill in EAL and linguistically and culturally responsive practice.

The population on the island of Ireland is increasingly diverse and this qualification will support the professional growth of primary and post-primary teachers and leaders, student support staff (i.e SNAs), and those from the further education sector to deliver effective provision for EAL students in their own professional settings and the wider professional community.

This unique, interdisciplinary course not only focuses on the pedagogies and approaches akin to EAL and multilingual education but as a participant you will also develop a broad understanding of many themes including:

• Language planning and policy at the national, school, and home level
• Cultural and linguistic peripheries and centres
• Power and cultural and linguistic identities
• Heritage language education
• Linguistic landscapes
• Practice-based theories of second language acquisition
• Linguistic scaffolding, multilingual disciplinary literacies
• Journey from emergent to advanced bi-/plurilingualism
• Disruptive pedagogies, decolonising approaches, culturally sensitive pedagogies
• Long-term assessment of language acquisition

Unlike any other professional development offering for educational professionals, we equip participants with a unique research-informed skill set which means that you will have an immediate impact on the immediate contexts in the creation of plurilingual/cultural classrooms - that are linguistically and culturally equitable, diverse, and accepting.


Students take 60 credits over the 10-month course:

Semester 1

  • ED6701 Practice-based Theories, Concepts, and Approaches in EAL
  • ED6702 Developing Plurilingual Competence and Pluriliteracies in Emergent Bilinguals

Semester 2

  • ED6703 Plurilingual Competence and Pluriliteracies in Advancing Bilinguals
  • ED6704 Developing Inclusive Plurilingual/Cultural Provision in Professional Settings

NB Note that while this course is defined as ‘full-time’ it is designed to offer participants significant flexibility to allow them to complete it alongside their day-to-day work. 

Entry to MEd

For applicants who satisfactorily meet the entry requirements of the MEd, and have achieved an honours grade in the Postgraduate Diploma, an exemption of 60 credits of the taught element of the MEd course will be granted. However, the remaining 60 credits of the MEd course must include the compulsory dissertation of 30 credits. Places on the MEd are limited each year and there is a competitive selection procedure for places. See the MEd (Modular) page for more information.

Academic Programme Catalogue

See the Academic Programme Catalogue where you can search for the complete and up-to-date content for this course. Note that the modules for all courses are subject to change from year to year. For complete descriptions of individual modules, see the Book of Modules.

Course Practicalities

The postgraduate diploma course runs for 10 months from September to June. Modules will be delivered in a blended format with a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous online learning as well as face-to-face sessions. These sessions will run on six Saturdays in Semester 1 and seven Saturdays in Semester 2.

  • Online asynchronous learning (self-paced learning) will involve reading, pre-recorded lecture snippets, and pre-recorded talks for visiting speakers quizzes, tasks, and discussion boards. Self-paced learning will be around two hours per week.
  • Online synchronous learning (online lectures) will involve online collaboration, group discussion, and live visitor talks. This will amount to around one hour per week.
  • Saturday sessions will involve seminar-type work and discussion, short lectures, community-of-practice discussions, presentations, and invited speakers. A typical Saturday will last between 6-8 hours with an hour for lunch.

Assessment across all modules is designed to be practical and applicable to participants' immediate contexts and will be in the form of policy design, portfolios of evidence, and presentations. All assessments and preparation will be woven into day-to-day learning.

Orientation and Induction Day 

To assist our EAL students in engaging with online, self-directed learning, an orientation and induction day will be organised at the beginning of each academic year in August before the full school term begins. Our orientation day is an opportunity for you to:

  • Familiarise yourself with the structure of the course.
  • Familiarise yourself with our student learning platform Canvas, as well as MS Teams and OneDrive including online apps.
  • Experience a typical section of a module that is self-directed in Canvas and how to orientate this.
  • Establish collaboratively our expectations for the use of public discussion spaces in the digital realm, and expectations for face-to-face and online synchronous participation.
  • Undertake an introduction to MS OneNote and how this will be utilised as the student portfolio.
  • We will also outline attendance expectations for both online and in-person events and how these will be tracked digitally.

Why Choose This Course

Thank you so much for creating this course. I feel like I have gained so much from it already...

EAL Student

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As a deputy principal, my perspective is informed by urgency as much as anything. Quite simply, schools need this course as soon as possible...


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The Postgraduate Diploma in English as an Additional Language is the only course of its type in Ireland. Drawing on research-informed practice from multiple disciplines, this unique course seeks to help participants to develop a highly specialised set of knowledge and skills that are applicable to any context.

Even if you are teaching in a context where there are very few students with English as an Additional Language, this course will help you to develop: 

  • intercultural and pluricultural awareness about language and identity
  • decolonial approaches to curriculum design
  • culturally sensitive and disruptive pedagogies
  • knowledge of linguistic landscapes and soundscapes
  • disciplinary literacies and scaffolding language

These approaches will enrichen not only your own practice but also the educational experiences of your students.

Also, this qualification is the first of its kind to welcome all educators who play a role in the development of students who have EAL including teachers from both primary, post-primary and further education, Special Needs Assistants, English Language Support Teachers, and School Leaders.

Skills and Careers Information

While this course is focused on developing the knowledge and skills required to support EAL students, it also has a much broader appeal to educational professionals interested in this fascinating but often undervalued part of the equality, diversity, and inclusion agenda.

Participation in this course will:

  • Heighten your awareness of the role that language and identity play, both for you and your students, in teaching and learning, places of learning, communities, and countries;
  • Help you to develop a highly specialised and sought-after set of values, skills, and knowledge, especially in our increasingly diverse, multilingual societies;
  • Demonstrate a commitment to your own life-long learning as a professional;
  • Enable you to interpret and apply more rigorously national curriculum policies and established approaches.


  • Applicants must have a primary honours degree (NFQ, Level 8) and a minimum Second Class Honours (Second Division or II.2) in the Professional Master of Education (PME) (formerly the Postgraduate/Higher Diploma in Education) Or
  • A Second Class Honours (Second Division or II.2) (NFQ, Level 8) BEd degree Or
  • A Second Class Honours (Second Division or II.2) (NFQ, Level 8) BSc Education in Physical Sciences Or
  • A Second Class Honours Grade 1 (II.1) (NFQ, Level 8) BA (Hons) Degree in Early Years and Childhood Studies Or
  • A QQI Special Needs Assistant Course (Level 6) or equivalent + at least 3 years full-time experience in an educational context + submission of a 1,500-word written task on a theme related to education prior to starting the course.

Additionally, applicants must also possess a minimum of one year’s post-teacher education professional teaching experience, or certified equivalent (e.g. research in schools, voluntary work with schools, working with school teams).

Applicants must also be working in an educational context (Early Years, Primary, Post-Primary or Further Education setting) for the duration of the qualification.

Under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) professional teaching experience, equivalent to three full years (excluding initial teacher education), will be considered as an honours equivalent.

For Applicants with Qualifications Completed Outside of Ireland

Applicants must meet the required entry academic grade, equivalent to Irish requirements. For more information see our Qualification Comparison page.

International/Non-EU Applicants

For full details of the non-EU application procedure visit our how to apply pages for international students.

  • In UCC, we use the term programme and course interchangeably to describe what a person has registered to study in UCC and its constituent colleges, schools, and departments.
  • Note that not all courses are open to international/non-EU applicants, please check the fact file above. For more information contact the International Office.
English Language Requirements

Applicants who are non-native speakers of the English language must meet the university-approved English language requirements. Visit our PG English Language Requirements page for more information.

Fees and Costs

Postgraduate EU and International Fees 2024/2025

See our Postgraduate EU and Non-EU (International) Fee Schedule for the latest information.


If your course requires a deposit, that figure will be deducted from your second-semester fee payment in January.

Fee payment 

Fees are payable in two equal instalments. First payment is at registration and the balance usually by the end of January.

How can I pay? 

See different options on our How Do I Pay My Fees? page.

Any questions? See the 'Contact Us' section on the Fees Office page.

How To Apply

1. Check dates

Check the opening and closing dates for the application process in the fact file boxes at the top of the page.

2. Gather documents

Scanned copies of supporting documents have to be uploaded to the UCC online application portal and include:

  • Original qualification documents listed on your application including transcripts of results from institutions other than UCC.
  • Any supplementary items requested for your course if required.

3. Apply online

Apply online via the UCC online application portal. Note the majority of our courses have a non-refundable €50 application fee.

Any questions? Use our web enquiry form to contact us.

*Please note:

Early applications are advised. Applications for this programme are assessed as they come in, therefore the programme quota may be achieved before the closing date. Applicants that meet the programme entry criteria, but who submit after the programme has been filled, will be placed on a waiting list for spaces that may open up due to withdrawals or cancellations.


Deferrals are not permitted on this programme.

The closing date for non-EU applications is Not on offer 2024/2025

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For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact