Dr Darragh Flannery & Dr John Cullinan (NUIG)

Thesis Working Title

Higher Education in Ireland: Identifying Inequalities within the System and Evaluating Outcomes


Participation in higher education has grown rapidly in Ireland in recent years, with the student population more than doubling since 2007. Despite significant fluctuations in the labour market over this period, enrolments continued to rise steadily as more people transitioned into higher education. While strides have been made to promote access to higher education for those from underrepresented groups, little remains known about disparities within the system. Considering the growing number graduates in Ireland, exploring the labour market rigidities facing early career graduates is an important issue. Within this context, my thesis will focus on identifying inequalities within the higher education system, while also evaluating a range of student and graduate outcomes. This will include student engagement in International Student Mobility programmes, transitions to postgraduate studies and skills mismatch after graduation. My research will be empirical in nature, aiming to build on the work of previous studies carried out internationally and domestically, with a distinct focus on informing public policy. My thesis will inform key stakeholders in the higher education sector on the issues outlined above, while providing a novel contribution to the academic literature.