BEd (Hons) in Early Childhood Education

Our accessible primary teaching programme

Do you want to inspire and influence future generations and play a key role in the development of young children? Our teaching programme allows you to study from anywhere in Ireland.

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This course is for you if you want to inspire and influence future generations and play a key role in the development of young children, and if you need a teaching course that allows you to study from anywhere in Ireland.

Course Type: Professional Master of Education

Start Dates: Autumn, Spring (e.g. September, April)

Duration: 24 months

Academic Accreditation: QQI

National Framework of Qualifications: Level 9

Professional Accreditation: The Teaching Council

About the
PME in Primary Education

Are you passionate about education? With a Professional Master of Education (PME) from Hibernia College, you can register to work as a primary teacher with the Teaching Council of Ireland.

Our PME programme prepares students to become the best and most professional teachers they can be. You will learn to nurture the intellectual and personal development of children while instilling a passion for lifelong learning in young lives. The role of the primary school teacher is to educate while demonstrating respect, care, trust and integrity. Prior teaching experience is not required to apply.

The Professional Master of Education (PME) in Primary Education is a 120-credit award at Level 9 delivered over 24 months. It is a blended learning programme, combining online and face-to-face delivery to develop professionals positioned to be leaders in the field of primary education.

The programme consists of a sequence of modules that reflect contemporary issues in education and the skills and knowledge required to be primary school teachers who enable effective student learning. Our emphasis on research ensures that student teachers engage with a process of self-critical learning. Student teachers are trained to use evidence-informed reflection to continually improve their practice.

Online Tutorials

You should expect to have approximately 3-4 tutorials each week (Monday-Friday). Tutorials are 1-2 hours in length and occur typically between the hours of 5-9 PM. Please note that these classes are live and you will be expected to attend at the times stated.

Face-to-Face Events

You will meet approximately two Saturdays per month at a regional study centre from 9:30 AM – 4:30 PM. Locations for the centres are determined closer to the start of term as locations are based on where our students are located. There will also be a number of face-to-face weeks.

School Experience

You will complete 24 weeks of school experience in total throughout the programme. Placements are broken down into two seven-week blocks and one 10-week block. Students arrange their own placements, and at least two of the placements must be in different schools.


The Gaeltacht is a core part of the PMEP programme. Students should expect to spend four weeks (two weeks each year) in a Gaeltacht area and attendance on designated weeks is compulsory for registration with The Teaching Council. Please note that the College has no role in the provision of accommodation for families.


The course is assessed on a continual basis. Assessments include but are not limited to essays, reflective journals, presentations, practical demonstrations, learning logs, a research project, written exams, portfolio submissions and a mini-thesis of 10,000 words.

Required Study and Attendance

It’s recommended that you set aside approximately 37 hours per week for study, including tutorials and classes. The programme is 24 continuous months with a short break at Christmas and in the summer. The programme is full-time, delivered through a blended learning model, and full attendance is required.

Study from anywhere in Ireland with our PME in Primary Education programme. Our flexible, blended learning approach requires travel to face-to-face events, Gaeltacht and school placements. 

With over 20 years’ experience in initial teacher education, we are Ireland’s largest provider of primary teacher education. Our 10,000 alumni are working at all levels of the Irish education system and across the world. 

Our online and face-to-face tuition comprises dedicated faculty, tutors, administrative and technical support, all of whom are committed to helping students meet their academic and career goals. 


Our programme is created by teachers, for teachers. Our dedicated and published faculty are educators and active researchers at the forefront of the field of primary education. 

Learn more about studying with us and our approach to blended learning here. 

What Our Students Say

Hear from former students in our Alumni Profiles. Alumni offer advice to anyone considering the PME programme. They share their own reasons for choosing Hibernia College, prior experience, research during the programme and career plans.

How flexible is the programme?

The PME in Primary Education is a flexible programme, but requires a full-time commitment.

The following is a guideline of the commitment required:

Online Tutorials

You should expect to have approximately 3-4 tutorials each week (Mon-Fri). Tutorials are 1-2 hours in length and occur typically between the hours of 5–9 PM. Please note that these classes are live and you will be expected to attend at the times stated. Full attendance at all live events is mandatory.

Face-to-Face Events

You will meet approximately two Saturdays per month at a regional study centre from 9:30 AM – 4:30 PM. Locations for the days are determined closer to the start of term as these are based on where our students are located. While every effort is made to supply convenient locations, travel may be required. There will also be a number of face-to-face weeks.

School Experience

You will complete 24 weeks of school experience in total throughout the programme. Placements are broken down into two 7-week blocks and one 10-week block. Students arrange their own placements, and at least two of the placements must be in different schools.


You will be required to spend 4 weeks in the Gaeltacht (e.g. two weeks in each year). There is no flexibility around the dates of the Gaeltacht and students are required to attend in full.

Is this a full-time or part-time programme?

The College does not provide verification that the programme is defined as full-time or part-time for the purposes of third parties, as those third parties have different definitions of these terms.

Do I need previous teaching experience?

No. It is not a requirement to have prior teaching experience to be eligible to apply for this programme.

When is the next start date?

There are two start dates per year, in the spring and autumn, normally in April and September.

Are there concessions for mature students?

No, and there is no upper age limit for enrolling on the programme. All applicants must meet the same minimum entry requirements to be considered for admission to the programme, and all applicants who meet those requirements will be called for interview.

What is blended learning?

Blended learning is best understood as a ‘hybrid’ learning model consisting of online and traditional face-to-face tuition. Hibernia College programmes integrate online collaboration tools, multimedia content and digital communication technology with traditional face-to-face components, such as live tutorials, workshops and classroom practice. While the breakdown differs from programme to programme, it is approximately 45% online and 55% offline. It is important to note that this is not a part-time course and it is not recommended to be in full-time employment while undertaking the course.

Learning in this way with Hibernia College allows students the flexibility of completing a large part of the course from home. The only required travel is to face-to-face lectures, Gaeltacht and school placements.

The key to a successful blended programme is the seamless integration of all course elements and the judicious use of appropriate technologies to make courses accessible, interactive and engaging. With over 20 years of experience in the design and delivery of this model, Hibernia College offers effective learning programmes that incorporate the best of both online and traditional teaching methods.

How do I know if my honours degree is Level 8?

If you are unsure of the level of your honours degree, contact the conferring college or university, the awarding body or Quality and Qualifications Ireland at

Can I expect to gain employment after I qualify?

While on the programme, student teachers are required to complete School Placement at a minimum of two different schools. This experience allows students to develop connections at various schools to help pave the way for future employment. Though it is not guaranteed that graduates secure employment with a school where they have completed a placement, this has happened with a number of our alumni. Our alumni discuss their own employment experiences after qualifying in our Alumni Profiles.

As part of an applicant’s research to undertake the Professional Master of Education (PME) programme, we recommend researching employability within your local area. Local principals may be able to provide insights. The College cannot guarantee employment for each individual student, but there remains a strong demand both home and abroad for teachers qualified in Ireland.

Is there a limit to the number of times I can apply?

Those who are unsuccessful in their application may only re-apply for a future intake (i.e. an applicant cannot submit more than one application for entry to each specific intake of a programme).

Other questions?

If you have any additional questions, please email us at

Application Fee


Tuition Fees

  • On acceptance of place: €1,000 deposit and €50 Garda Vetting fee
  • 1st instalment (before course begins): €6,875
  • 2nd instalment (approx. 10 months later): €7,875
  • Additional costs are incurred for each Gaeltacht stay and are payable to a third-party provider.

How to Pay Tuition Fees

The application fee is paid online and must be paid in full before an application can be processed. Payment of tuition fees are to be made by bank transfer.

Graduation Fee

The current fee for attending the graduation ceremony is €100.

Supplementary Fees

There is a list of supplementary fees which cover additional services in relation to the programme, which will be available to view on the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) from the commencement of the programme.

Loan Facility

INTO Credit Union has formulated a loan facility that may interest you. Please click here for more information.

Tax Relief

Under current Revenue rules, tax relief is available if you are eligible at the standard rate of income tax (20%) for qualifying tuition fees. From September 2017, subject to compliance with Revenue regulations, students who are eligible will be able to claim approximately €800 per year in tax relief over the 2 years of the course, thereby reducing the actual cost of the course to €15,750 – €1,600 = €14,150. For further information, please click here.

Please note that the above, provided for information purposes, is of a general nature and is not a substitute for formal advice on taxation matters. We recommend, where necessary, you seek professional advice in relation to taxation matters.

Entry Requirements

An undergraduate degree at Level 8 or higher on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) which has an ECTS weighting of at least 180 credits.

The grade and subject of the degree are not relevant for the purpose of meeting the minimum entry requirements.

Please note that an NFQ Level 8 Higher Diploma on its own does not fulfil this requirement.

Department of Education Minimum Leaving Certificate Entry Requirements

IrishC2 Higher LevelH4
EnglishC2 Ordinary Level
E Higher Level

MathsC2 Ordinary Level
E Higher Level


GCSE/GCE A Level Requirements

  • Minimum grade C in GCE A level Irish
  • Minimum grade C in both GCSE English and English Literature
  • Minimum grade B in GCSE English or English Literature
  • Minimum grade D in GCSE Additional Mathematics or
  • Minimum grade C at GCSE level in Mathematics

Alternatives to English, Irish and Mathematics Requirements

  • A pass in a University First Arts exam in the appropriate subject, NFQ Level 8

Alternatives to Irish Requirement

  • Diploma in Arts (Applied Irish) from University College Cork
  • Dioplóma sa Ghaeilge level B2 from NUI Galway
  • Dioplóma sa Ghaeilge Fheidhmeach from University College Dublin
  • Dioplóma sa Ghaeilge from Maynooth University
  • Diploma in Irish from the University of Ulster
  • Teastas Eorpach na Gaeilge (TEG) Leibhéal B2 (Meánleibhéal 2) Maynooth University
  • Minimum grade C in the NUI matriculation exam (pre-1992)

Alternatives to Mathematics Requirement

  • A Pass grade obtained in Mathematics in the Matriculation Examination (which existed up to 1992)
  • A merit grade (65-79%) or distinction grade (80-100%) obtained in QQI Level 5 Mathematics Course (5N 1833)

Please note that the above are the only accepted entry requirements as set by the Department of Education. As these are Department of Education imposed requirements, unfortunately the College will not be in a position to accept any alternative qualifications.


Hibernia College is monitoring the changing situation in relation to COVID-19. All School Placement and Gaeltacht arrangements, dates and procedures are regularly reviewed in line with the most recent health and safety advice. The College reserves the right to make any changes as it sees fit. In embarking on this course of study, students are confirming that they will be willing and able to attend schools when they are open.

Garda Vetting

Hibernia College offers programmes of study that require participants to work with children and/or other vulnerable groups. For this reason, successful applicants will be required to complete and sign a Garda Vetting Invitation Form. By completing and signing the Garda Vetting Invitation Form, the applicant is granting permission to Hibernia College to process details of any prosecutions/convictions for the purpose of assessing the candidate’s suitability for the course for which he/she has applied and the completion of work placements associated with the course.

Primary Degree Level

If you are unsure of the level of your primary degree, contact the conferring college or university, the awarding body or the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland at In order to gain entry to the programme, candidates are required to possess a Level 8 award as per the NFQ with an ECTS weighting of at least 180 credits. While Hibernia College will make every effort at the time of application to check the level of the award and notify applicants if the College believes there may be a concern with their qualification, it is each applicant’s responsibility to check the level of their award. Hibernia College will not be held responsible in the unlikely event a graduate of the PME programme is refused admission to the Register of Teachers.

Mature Students

Note that there are no concessions for mature students. All applicants must meet the same minimum entry requirements to be considered for admission to the programme, and all applicants who meet those requirements will be called for interview.

Once your online application has been reviewed and processed, you will be called for an interview. The interview will comprise of a 20-minute general component and approximately 10 minutes of an oral Irish component to determine your language proficiency, including but not limited to conversational fluency including verb usage, vocabulary, grammar and tenses. To improve your Irish language skills, we advise regular practice and completion of an Irish language course that will adequately prepare you for interview.

Prior to interview, you should be speaking Irish conversationally for at least 30 minutes per day. It is also essential to comprehensively prepare for the general component of the interview, including your motivations for becoming a teacher and up-to-date knowledge of teaching in Ireland.

Please also note that if you have achieved a minimum of 65% / B1 Teastas Eorpach na Gaeilge (oral) (TEG) within the last two years, this will be accepted in lieu of the Irish interview.

General Interview

The general interview may focus on elements including but not limited to:

  • The application form
  • Communication skills
  • Ability to demonstrate an excellent command of the English language
  • The standard of preparation and presentation
  • Familiarity with the modern–day primary school classroom and curriculum
  • Competencies relating to information technology
  • Suitability for the programme
  • Suitability for the profession

Please note that this list is given as a guide only.

Irish Interview

Gaeilge is a core subject of the primary curriculum and a good command of the language is necessary in the teaching profession.

The PMEP is a Level 9 programme with two Gaeilge modules and you will be expected to study the language at that level. At interview, you must demonstrate a level of Gaeilge that proves your ability to teach the language effectively in the classroom.

Before submitting your application, you should be able to hold a conversation through the Irish language for at least 30 minutes. The Irish oral component of the interview will be a 10-minute, fast-paced conversation assessing your use of tense and grammar and your general level of comfort speaking the language.

Interview Scheduling

Acceptance and entry to the course is by interview. The process is as follows:

  • Applications that are fully completed, with all supporting documentation, will be acknowledged by email.
  • Applicants are placed in the queue for processing and will be issued with an invitation to book their interview by email, when interview dates become available. This email should be actioned as soon as possible.
  • During busy periods, the waiting time for interview may be slightly longer.
  • The Admissions Team will make contact directly, by phone or email, with any applicant that fails to book their interview within the timeframe specified in their invitation.
  • Applicants will usually be given a notice period of approximately one week ahead of their allotted interview date and time.
  • Applicants are expected to attend at the scheduled time and date.
  • Applicants must bring a valid photographic identification with them to the interview; this should be a current passport or driving license. If an applicant fails to present identification, the interview panel cannot proceed with the interview.
  • Applicants will receive a reminder by email confirming the scheduled interview, meeting link and other important information.
  • Applicants that fail to attend without prior notification will have their application cancelled automatically.

Once an interview has been scheduled, in the unlikely event that an applicant has no choice but to cancel, the Admissions Team will endeavour to reschedule the interview. However, during busy periods or nearing the start date of the programme, this may not be possible.

Please note that if you are not able to attend the interview on the date offered, it is important to communicate this to the Admissions Team at the earliest opportunity.

Interview Outcome

  • The outcome of the interview will be that the applicant is recommended or not recommended for the programme.
  • The outcome of the interview is communicated via email only and is not given to applicants by phone.
  • Those who are unsuccessful in their application may only re-apply for a future intake (i.e. an applicant cannot submit more than one application for entry to each specific intake of a programme).
  • Those who are recommended will be made an offer for the next available cohort. To accept an offer, applicants must submit documentation and payment in accordance with the terms of the offer.
  • Where the College has concerns about any individual failing to show genuine commitment to the commencement and/or completion of the programme following repeated applications/admissions, the College reserves the right to refuse future applications. In addition to this, in instances where an individual demonstrates that they do not have the potential to succeed on the programme and/or in the associated profession, the College reserves the right to refuse a subsequent application.

Applicants who wish to gain entry into the Professional Master of Education in Primary Education must sit a competitive interview. This 30 minute interview includes a general interview which assesses students’ suitability to teach and their knowledge of teaching alongside a 10-12 minute Gaeilge interview which assesses their ability in Gaeilge. In the Gaeilge interview, applicants are assessed on communication skills, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension and accuracy. As a core subject of the primary school curriculum, a good command of Gaeilge is necessary to undertake this programme of study. 

Structure of the Gaeilge Interview

Applicants will be interviewed by two examiners. One examiner will focus on the general interview (conducted in English) and the other examiner will ask questions in Irish. Applicants choose whether they begin with the Gaeilge component or the English component first. 

The video below gives a comprehensive overview of the interview as well as advice on how to prepare for it. 


What Standard is Required?

Students should remember that Gaeilge is a core subject of the primary curriculum and that a good command of the language is necessary in the teaching profession. Therefore, candidates should demonstrate a level of Gaeilge whereby they could teach the language effectively in the classroom, or a sufficient standard whereby they could reach that level easily over the course of the PMEP. 

Candidates should be able to engage in a continuous and fluid conversation with the examiners and discuss a range of topics clearly. They should demonstrate a high standard of accuracy, fluency, comprehension and pronunciation. 

Candidates are also reminded that the PMEP is a level 9 programme and they will be expected to study the language at that level. 

Watch the video below to see a sample of strong responses to a selection of common questions that could come up in the Gaeilge interview. Remember that these questions are a sample only. 


Courses provide an online course tailored to the needs of applicants to the PMEP. This course is accessible from anywhere in Ireland and is full of useful vocabulary, grammar, and tips in relation to the interview. There is also a blended-learning option for students who wish to attend face-to-face classes in Dublin. 

The Dublin Academy of Education in Stillorgan is offering a 8 week comprehensive course aimed at those who will be doing the Irish language interview for the Professional Masters in Education in Hibernia College. 

Students who attend this course will receive: 

8 x 90 minute classes taught by Ireland’s leading teachers 

3 mock oral exams with feedback on what areas to improve on 

Comprehensive study notes 

Resources and Preparation

Prospective students of the primary programme are encouraged to prepare well in advance of their Gaeilge interview. 

While confidence can indeed be key, students are assessed in terms of their communicative skills, their language accuracy, their comprehension, their vocabulary and their general fluency. Examiners are well trained in spotting scripted responses, and we encourage applicants to develop their Gaeilge in a natural way in order to be able to engage in a fluid and varied conversation. 

Firstly, remember that the best way to improve your level of Irish is to practise the language regularly. Try to find opportunities to speak to other people frequently. Gaelscoileanna and libraries often run Irish classes or conversation groups so why not start there? We also advise applicants to do a formal course or an evening class. You should speak the language for at least thirty minutes every day. 

As well as that, high quality books, magazines, newspapers, podcasts and radio programmes are widely available in the language so get reading, listening, writing and talking as much as you can! 

Please find below some useful resources and services that can help you improve your command of Irish before applying to the PMEP: 

An electronic version of the two of the main Irish language dictionaries, Niall Ó Dónaill’s Foclóir Gaeilge-Béarla and Tomás de Bhaldraithe’s English-Irish Dictionary, as well as An Foclóir Beag (Ó Dónaill & Ó Maoileoin, 1991). This site contains a host of useful extras, including a Pronunciation Database and a Grammar Database where users can look up a wide array of grammatical questions, including verb tenses, noun declensions and forms, comparative forms of adjectives and much more. 

The new English-Irish Dictionary from Foras na Gaeilge. The dictionary is available free of charge, and has been adapted to work both on desktop computers and on mobile devices. There is also an app. This dictionary contains a very large database of words and phrases so users can often find results and entries here not found in other dictionaries. Many entries contain sound files in the three main dialects and comprehensive grammatical information. Words are accompanied by numerous sample sentences, allowing users to see words in context. 

If you are looking to improve your vocabulary, take a look at the main Irish language newspaper. You’ll find a wide variety of articles on the site and a dedicated section for learners of the language. 

A culture magazine with a modern design covering a range of contemporary issues and topics. 

A monthly magazine published from May 2001 until September 2014. Although no longer being published, the full archive is available on the site. Articles are of a high standard and all are accompanied by a comprehensive glossary, making them very accessible for learners of all levels. 

Ciorcail chomhrá, or conversational circles, are informal Gaeilge meet-ups which can prove useful to applicants who want to meet other Gaeilge speakers face-to-face to chat. This site contains a comprehensive list of ciorcail chomhrá, events, festivals, news items and much more. 

The national Irish language television service. TG4 also provides an online player, allowing users to access a broad range of programmes free of charge. The site contains a dedicated educational area, TG4 Foghlaim. Here you will find interactive content and exercises developed to help students prepare for the Leaving Certificate oral examination. This resource is also very useful for general language learners who are looking to improve their language proficiency. 

Users can listen live to Raidió na Gaeltachta online or download shows as podcasts. 

An Irish-language radio station located in Dublin. Many learners like this station as many of the presenters are learners themselves and do not have strong dialects. 

Users can purchase educational books and resources from this site, including Gramadach gan Stró!, the best-selling grammar book by Éamonn Ó Dónaill. 

Cló Iar-Chonnacht is one the largest publishers in Ireland. A great range of books can be purchased here, including educational content and children’s books. 

Here you will find lots of information about classes and events for adults and schoolchildren. 

This site offers comprehensive information about Teastas Eorpach sa Ghaeilge (European Certificate in Irish). You’ll find information and advice here in relation to exams, resources, learning strategies and much more. There is also extensive sample content that can be used to assist you with your language 

Previous successful candidates have also found private tuition or grinds helpful in preparing for the Gaeilge component of the PMEP interview. Students are encouraged to speak as much Gaeilge as possible with anyone who will listen! 

Talk to yourself, even! In order to build confidence and fluency before your interview, you should speak Gaeilge for 15-20 minutes every day for a number of months before the interview, and then build up to 30 minutes every day in the month before the interview. Bain triail aisti! 

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