Mastering Taxation

Monday, 12th June 2017

I got into UL as a teaching assistant (having a Bachelor’s degree in law and accounting from UL and a Master’s in Accounting from UCD) then went on to a junior lecturing position and got my PhD from the University of Sheffield. I’ve worked with PWC and Ernst and Young.

I love the behavioural side of tax, the idea that a simple tweak of the tax system can influence our behaviour, for example the plastic bag tax got everyone to bring bags to do the shopping. It’s a discipline we all need to know about at a minimum level and it is fascinating how fiscal policy can influence our behaviour.

This course started in 2011, I originally designed the programme and it has been going well. It’s a very small programme with only 10 to 20 students each year. It is the only Master’s in Tax in Ireland and we have a very strong relationship with the Irish Tax Institute. We have negotiated with the Irish Tax Institute so that students (subject to minimum grades requirements) get 2 years of professional exemptions in the one year of the Master’s but as a result the course itself is intense. We use the manuals and legislation published by the ITI and these are included in the fee. Students get a big box of books that would otherwise cost an enormous amount if they were to pay for them separately.

We did not just want to replicate the course and exams at the ITI so we have complementary modules such as research methods, a dissertation, professional skills, accounting modules and elective modules in project management and CSR. We keep the numbers small so faculty can interact more with the students and that suits us.

People with backgrounds in business, law, commerce, and accounting come from all around the country to do the Master’s in Tax. Students would go on to become a chartered tax adviser after the Master’s and this is an internationally recognised qualification. Some students will go into tax practice in the big four accounting practices PWC, Deloitte, Ernst and Young, KPMG or mid-level firms or to small accounting firms. Students could also go into industry, for example a big multinational like Northern Trust; though a lot of people stay in practice. We have a 100% employability rating for students who earn their Master’s in Tax.

We have got such good industry links and faculty that have practice backgrounds so the people teaching on the programme have relevant industry knowledge; it is very up to date. You work hard in degrees here and doubly so at postgrad level. There is a credibility to this course and UL within the industry and with employers; they know the standard of graduate they are going to get. With this course we strive to fill employer needs, to give them what they want in a graduate student such as communication skills, proactivity and writing.


Elaine Doyle, Senior Lecturer In Tax