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MA in Public Administration: Graduate Profile – Sinéad Ni Thuathaigh

Sinéad
MA in Public Administration graduate Sinéad Ni Thuathaigh

Can you please introduce yourself, can you explain why you chose the MA in Public Administration?

My background is in education, I'm a secondary school teacher and I'm now working in education policy. I decided to do the Masters because coming from an education background, I'm very comfortable in my knowledge of education and subject areas but since I have started this new role, I realized there are many different elements and factors that impact on policy making, that would be something that as a  teacher I wouldn't have had direct  or prior knowledge of. I looked around at different programmes and master’s in policy analysis but what really drew me towards the Master’s in Public Administration in UL was the interdisciplinary nature of the programme. The course covers not only public administration but there are also modules on governance,  administrative law (which I just love) and economics.

Why at UL?

I had done previous postgraduate study in UL which I really enjoyed, I was already familiar with the library and the beautiful campus . I'm also from Tipperary so I'm not that far from Limerick so UL is very convenient for me also.  

How did you find out about the course?

 I looked around at different programmes and  different institutes including looking at the various universities. I looked up the content of each programme and the modules they offered. I sent an email to Bernadette Connaughton, the Course Director for the master’s programme to find out more.  I had a call with Bernadette which was really good and informative. In talking to Bernadette, that was what really summed it up for me and made me make the decision. It was almost like a career guidance session. I was able to tell her where I was at in my own career and where I hoped to go in my career, and she was able to be very honest. The fact that somebody was prepared to have that conversation with you was great.

What specific aspects of your course have impressed you the most? What is the best thing about the course?

I like the interdisciplinary nature of the programme, the broad range of subjects makes the content transferrable to a variety of different settings.  The course allows for flexibility in applying your learning  to both the  public and  private sector . I will be honest the program is challenging but rewarding. There are a lot of transferable skills developed during the course of the Masters programmes such as  critical thinking,  creative thinking,  and analytical skills. Pursuing subjects like economics, public administration and law, you really starting to increase your knowledge in these areas and change your perspective on your work and professional outlook.

What experiences/opportunities has it presented you with? (e.g. academic facilities, workshops, academic support, guest speakers, etc)

We've had a couple of great guest speakers speak to us as a class. There were students who would have been on the program and have done further research done their PHD's and are now working in a particular area of public administration so it's been very interesting to hear there what I call their “lived experience” and we've also gotten insights into public administration from guest speakers who work in other countries and jurisdictions which is really important because if you stay within your own circle of knowledge you may be missing out on good practice or learning ,so I found that very interesting also.

Can you provide an insight into how the course is delivered and how you are assessed?

There are a variety of assessments for each module but in most modules there is continuous assessment . I don't have any module where it's 100% at the end. One of my modules has five different assessment points in it and within that there was a presentation as well as written assessments. I personally as a learner prefer that balance and variety of assessments. The fact that there is variety in the assessments is good and allows me to learn in a variety of different ways both through group work and individual essays.

 The fact that there is variety in the assessments is good and allows me to learn in a variety of different ways both through group work and individual essays.

What else (other than course learning outcomes) have you gained from the course?

There has been laods of interesting elements to the programme content. We had one a guest speaker who works in public administration and in academia in Northern Ireland. Their presentation was very insightful because they mentioned things that I was able to follow up on myself outside of class and the seminar.  I felt I needed to find out a little bit more about that. It is also interesting that my fellow classmates are coming from different areas of public service as well so it is interesting to hear different perspectives from my peers. Some of my classmates  have been working in the public sector for quite a while so it's interesting to hear their experience and to enhance your own understanding of the sector they work in. This always brings a new and different perspective to our class discussions.

What are your future plans? How has/will this course improved your future career prospects and outlook?

It will definitely be a benefit to me  from an interview perspective because you are bringing a wide range of skills that you can draw on in your daily work. I can see how everything that I'm doing is beneficial. There are aspects of different modules that I find very interesting, and it makes me think I would like to pursue further research but it would be a big commitment. I can see how, if the opportunity was to present itself for me to progress, I could see a lot of the aspects from my learning would help me to pursue further study once more.

Would you recommend the programme to others? Any advice/tips for prospective students of the course?

I would say that anybody considering or looking at the program should be aware that the programme has a broad focus. I would recommend a conversation with Bernadette, the Course Director, because that really helped me to make up my mind. I’ve taken on the course on a part time basis. I definitely think for me as I'm working full time I've made the right decision to do the part time program. I think I would be under serious pressure with the full-time option because it is an intense but enjoyable programme. All in all,  I would definitely recommend the programme as it has changed my perspective in my current role and has enhanced my career opportunities.

All in all,  I would definitely recommend the programme as it has changed my perspective in my current role and has enhanced my career opportunities.

Masters in Public Administration video:

Masters in Public Administration, University of Limerick, Ireland - YouTube

Full course details and page:

Public Administration - Graduate Diploma/MA | UL - University of Limerick