When you directly enroll on the new CAPA Maynooth University study abroad program, you’ll be welcomed into one of the global top 100 universities under 50-years old, ranked by Times Higher Education. Maynooth has also been ranked number 351 worldwide overall and has the wonderful honor of being recognized as Ireland’s friendliest college.
Maynooth University: Academics
You’ll find yourself part of a dynamic and engaging environment where you’ll be able to connect with and learn from staff and other students from 90 countries across the globe who have all become temporary members of this local Irish community. The university’s innovative research institutes and world-class academics are focused on tackling some of the most fundamental challenges facing society today.
Maynooth is Ireland’s only university town, a pocket of vibrant student life about 45 minutes by train from Dublin. The campus is split into a north and south side, separated only by a small street, so you’ll be able to walk to your furthest classes in about seven minutes.
Language of Instruction
Classes at Maynooth are conducted in English.
The minimum GPA requirement for all programs at Maynooth is 3.0.
Maynooth is an up-and-coming research university, and currently has more than 500 externally funded research projects, some of which have won awards. They have seven cutting-edge research institutes on campus where their work is guided by national research and innovation, the challenges identified by the European Union, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Most importantly, they focus on research that genuinely engages with communities beyond the university, the results of which have the ability to benefit the wider society. In 2018, there were 503 active researchers working at Maynooth, and, naturally, students have opportunities to get involved.
Choice of Classes
Classes are called “modules” at Maynooth and there are hundreds open to study abroad students.
Humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences are particularly strong here, but STEM classes are becoming more popular every year, especially electronic engineering. Maynooth has Ireland’s only anthropology department and has opened the only Chinese studies department in the country too.
Other popular classes include Irish heritage, business, law, music, international development, and a new “Peace and Conflict” module where students take a field trip to Northern Ireland.
Maynooth’s historical ties and great relationship with St. Patrick’s College next door means students also have access to theology classes there.
And entrepreneurial students will be pleased to know that a huge computer science building has recently opened on campus, complete with incubation hubs.
You can see a more detailed list of available classes on their website.
You’ll take about four or five classes at Maynooth, depending on the number of credits assigned to each one, so your course load will be similar to what you’re used to at home. Classes may have as few as eight students or as many as 100 or more.
The academic expectations will probably be a bit different from what you’ve experienced at your own university. For example, although both will make an impact on your understanding of the course materials and ability to succeed, participation and attendance won’t factor into your overall grade as they may back home.
You can read more about expectations of both students and teaching staff in this guide, but read on for the differences you can expect to find in assessment and the local grading system below.
It always depends on the particular class, but it’s likely you won’t have written homework that you need to submit each week, or continuous assessment like quizzes the way you would back home. You will, however, have independent reading and self-guided study.
Instead of continuous assessment, your entire grade for a class may be based on solely one essay and one final exam, giving these two pieces of work much more weight than you’d usually expect.
While it’s easy to slip into the illusion that you can be a bit more relaxed throughout the semester, this actually means you have to be more independent in terms of ensuring you’re staying on top of the materials, and self-motivated enough so you don’t fall behind.
Academic Support Services
Student support is a point of pride at Maynooth, and you’ll find all you need here, including academically.
The first place to find support when you have questions, or if a particular academic challenge comes up, will be the Academic Advisory Office. There’s also a more specific Program Advisory Office. You’ll find a library with more than 450,000 books and more than 42,000 electronic journals as well as training courses on how to best find and use resources, a Math Support Center, and a Writing Center. You’ll use Moodle for course management, which has additional spaces for learning support.
Professors take an inclusive approach to teaching in all classes, and students with disabilities are given an incredible amount of support of all types at Maynooth, including academically, in the Access Office.
At first glance, the grading system at Maynooth can be a bit shocking to students who are used to the US system. For example, a 70% is considered an excellent result and 60s are still considered to be in the realm of what is called “second class honors” here. Know that even though the number looks lower, it doesn’t mean you’ll have to put in less effort to achieve that A.
Performance is graded on a 0-100 percentage scale, as follows:
Grade A = 70-100%
Grade B = 60-60.9%
Grade C = 50-59.9%
Grade D = 40-49.9%
Grade E = 38-39.9%
Fail = 38%