PME in Primary Education

Our flexible 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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Programme Type: Professional Master of Education
Next Intake: Spring 2025

NFQ: Level 9
ECTS: 120 credits

Academic Validation: QQI

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 with the Teaching Council as a member of the teaching profession. 

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

The 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 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.

Entry Requirements

Applicants must hold 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.

Department of Education Minimum Leaving Certificate Entry Requirements

GaeilgeC2 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 Gaeilge
  • 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, Gaeilge and Mathematics Requirements

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

Alternatives to Gaeilge Requirement

  • Diploma in Arts (Applied Irish) from University College Cork
  • Dioplóma sa Ghaeilge (Leibhéal B2) from University of 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) from 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. Because these are Department of Education imposed requirements, unfortunately, the College will not be in a position to accept any alternative qualifications.

Online Tutorials

You should expect to have approximately three to four tutorials each week (Monday–Friday). Tutorials are 1–2 hours in length and occur typically between the hours of 5 PM and 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 on Saturdays at a regional study centre from 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM, the number of Saturdays is dependent on which module you are undertaking, Depending on the module, attendance at F2F events on Saturday may be consecutive over a number of weekends. Locations for the centres are determined closer to the start of term because locations are based on where our students are located. There will also be a number of face-to-face weeks as well as some mid term days.

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.


The Gaeltacht is a core part of the PME in Primary Education programme. You 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 is 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.


101Foundation Studies: History and Policy of Education, Philosophy of Education and Curriculum Studies 5
102Foundation Studies: Sociology of Education and Psychology of Education 5
103Professional Studies: The Arts Education (Visual, Music, Dance, Drama, Film and Digital) 5
104Professional Studies: A Global Curriculum (Social and Environmental Education, GCE) 5
105Professional Studies: Languages, Literacy and Learning 5
106Professional Studies: Numeracy and Mathematical Understanding 5
107School Placement 1: The Professional Teacher 10
108School Placement 2: The Inclusive Teacher 15
109Advanced School Placement: The Agentic Teacher 25
110Research: Evidence-Informed Pedagogical Practice 10
111Professional Studies: Health and Wellbeing (SPHE, PE) 5
112Professional Studies: Science and Digital Technology Education 5
113Inclusion, Identity and Diversity — Inclusive Pedagogy 5
114An Ghaeilge Ghairmiúil 5
115aOutdoor Play and Learning in Early Childhood 5
115bAg Múineadh Trí Mheán na Gaeilge/Teaching Through the Medium of Irish 5
115cBuilding 21st-Century Skills for Teachers and Pupils 5
115dDigital Technology — Problem Solving and Computational Thinking 5
116Ethical Multi-Belief Education and Professional Competencies 5

Application Fee


Tuition Fees

On acceptance of place: €1,050 deposit. Includes €50 in respect of Garda Vetting processing fee.

  • First instalment (before course begins): €6,875
  • Second 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. Tuition fees are to be paid by bank transfer.

Gaeltacht Fee: *Third Party

 €815 to be paid before July of each year payable to a third-party provider. 

Graduation Fee

The current fee for attending the graduation ceremony is €125.

2% Learner Protection Charge

This charge is incurred to finance arrangements required under Part 6 of the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Act, 2012, to ensure protection of enrolled learners and is applied to each fee instalment.

QQI Certification Fee

A QQI (Quality & Qualifications Ireland) Certification Fee is applicable in the award stage of all QQI programmes. The applicable Certification Fee for the PME is €200. 

Clinic na Gaeilge fee

The College offers an additional support course in Irish. It is a condition of offer for some students but is also available to all students if they wish to take it. The current fee for this course is €150.

Supplementary Fees

There is a list of supplementary fees, which covers additional services in relation to the programme. It 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. For more information, read about the facility on their website.

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 two years of the course, thereby reducing the actual cost of the course to €14,150 (€15,750 – €1,600). For further information, explore the Revenue website.

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.


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 Gaeilge component to determine your language proficiency, including but not limited to conversational fluency including verb usage, vocabulary, grammar and tenses. To improve your Gaeilge language skills, we advise regular practice and completion of a Gaeilge course that will adequately prepare you for interview.

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

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 a 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 unable to attend the interview on the date offered, it is important to communicate this to the Admissions Team at the earliest opportunity.

General Component

Applicants who wish to gain entry into the PME in Primary Education must sit a competitive interview. This 30-minute interview includes a general component which assesses applicants’ suitability to teach and their knowledge of teaching, alongside a 10–12 minute Gaeilge component, which assesses their ability in Gaeilge.

The general component of the 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.

Gaeilge Component

Gaeilge is a core subject of the primary curriculum, and a good command of the language is necessary to undertake this programme of study. In the Gaeilge component of the interview, applicants are assessed on their communication skills, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension and accuracy.

The PME in Primary Education 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 in Gaeilge for at least 30 minutes. The Gaeilge 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.

Structure of the Interview

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

This video below gives a comprehensive overview of the interview, as well as advice about how to prepare for it: 

What Standard is Required?

Applicants 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, applicants 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 PME in Primary Education. 

Applicants 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.

To see a sample of strong responses to a selection of common questions that could come up in the Gaeilge component of the interview, watch the video below:

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

While confidence can indeed be key, applicants 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 to be able to engage in a fluid and varied conversation. 

Firstly, remember that the best way to improve your level of Gaeilge is to practise the language regularly. Try to find opportunities to speak to other people frequently. Gaelscoileanna and libraries often run Gaeilge 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 30 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! 


Gaelchultúr provides an online course tailored to the needs of applicants to the PME in Primary Education programme. This course is accessible from anywhere in Ireland at and is full of useful vocabulary, grammar and tips in relation to the interview. It is a six-month course, based on independent learning, and costs €95. There is also a one-day, live, online, interview preparation course at a price of €149. Nasc chuig an dianchúrsa ullmhúcháin aon lae, beo ar líne.

The Dublin Academy of Education in Stillorgan is offering an eight-week comprehensive course aimed at those who will be doing the Gaeilge interview for the PME in Primary Education at Hibernia College. 

Students who attend this course will receive: 

Eight × 90-minute classes taught by Ireland’s leading teachers 

Three mock oral exams with feedback on which areas to improve 

Comprehensive study notes 

Resources and Preparation

Please find below some useful resources and services that can help you improve your command of Gaeilge before applying to the PME in Primary Education: — An electronic version of the two main Gaeilge dictionaries, Niall Ó Dónaill’s Foclóir Gaeilge-Béarla and Tomás de Bhaldraithe’s English-Irish dictionary, as well as n foclóir beag (Ó Dónaill and 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. — This is the new English-Gaeilge 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 that are 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 Gaeilge newspaper. You’ll find a wide variety of articles on the site and a dedicated section for learners of the language. — This is a culture magazine with a modern design covering a range of contemporary issues and topics. — This was 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 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 that 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. — TG4 is the national Gaeilge television service. It 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. — Raidió na Life is an Irish-language radio station located in Dublin. Many learners like this station because 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, users can 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). Users can 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 PME in Primary interview. Students are encouraged to speak as much Gaeilge as possible with anyone who will listen! 

Talk to yourself, even! To build confidence and fluency before your interview, you should speak Gaeilge for 15–20 minutes every day for several months before the interview, and then build up to 30 minutes every day in the month before the interview. Bain triail aisti! 

  • 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.
Student Support

Support for Students

Administrative and technical support teams, faculty and tutors are committed to helping students meet academic and career goals while having a positive experience. Students can draw from a range of available support to navigate big and small questions.

Our Faculty

Our dedicated faculty are mentors and leaders who bring their rich experience to the learning environment at Hibernia College. They are educators, practitioners and active researchers. Common among all our faculty is their focus on students.

Student Experiences

Are you curious about studying at Hibernia College? Former students share their own reasons for choosing Hibernia College. Read about their prior experience, research and careers. ‘As a mother and mature student, the course’s flexibility and the use of blended learning made it possible for me to balance my studies with taking care of my family.’ – Therese Barrett


If you have any questions, please contact our Enrolment team at +353 (0)1 661 0168 (press 2) between 9 AM and 5 PM Monday to Friday. You are also welcome to email

The PME in Primary Education is a flexible programme, but it requires a full-time commitment (37 hours per week minimum).

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

It is not a requirement to have prior teaching experience to be eligible to apply for this 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.

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 (QQI).

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.

If you are unsuccessful in your application, you may only re-apply for future intakes (i.e. an applicant cannot submit more than one application for entry to each specific intake of a programme).

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 applicant’s suitability for the course for which he/she has applied and the completion of work placements associated with the course.

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