Return to Site

The only primary teaching course accessible from anywhere in Ireland

Do you want to inspire and influence future generations and play a key role in the intellectual development of young children? And do you need a teaching course that allows you to study from anywhere in Ireland?

If this sounds familiar, studying with Hibernia College in an accessible and supportive environment might be the choice for you.

The Professional Master of Education in Primary Education is perfect for you if you want to work with children aged 4-12.

Reasons to study with us

  • Accessibility

    The PME in Primary Education is available to graduate student teachers wherever they live. Complete your teaching practice in local schools and attend regional Saturday workshops.
  • Experience

    With over 10 years’ experience in initial teacher education in Ireland, Hibernia College now has graduate teachers working at all levels in the Irish education system and across the world.
  • Support

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

    Our programme is created by teachers, for teachers. Our dedicated and published faculty are at the forefront of the field of primary education and active in researching contemporary education issues.

Is this programme for me?

The Primary teaching course is for those passionate about teaching young children. This course will enable graduates to register to work as primary teachers with the Teaching Council of Ireland.

You will receive opportunities to learn how to nurture and support the development of the full potential of the child and instil a love of learning that will remain with the child through all stages of formal education.

Through your engagement with the course, you will work in a diverse range of schools, experience a wide range of classroom settings and engage in action research in a supported environment.

Furthermore your cooperation with fellow students and faculty will foster a strong sense of collegiality and team spirit.

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


The Professional Master of Education (PME) in Primary Education is a 120-credit award at level 9 and the duration of the programme is two years.  It is a blended learning programme, combining online content, virtual learning environments and face-to-face delivery to develop professionals and experts who are positioned to be leaders in the field of primary education.

The PME in Primary Education at Hibernia College consists of a sequence of modules that reflect the contemporary issues faced by teachers today and the skills and knowledge required of them in order to be expert primary school teachers who enable effective student learning. In particular, it recognises the importance of ensuring that student teachers consider that teaching itself is understood and practised as a form of self-critical learning by them; learning that is driven by inquiry, reflection and improvements based on evidence (Teaching Council 2011).

Key information

  • Start Dates

    September and April
  • Duration

    Two years (24 months)
  • Next Intake

    Spring 2019
  • Application Fee

  • Academic Accreditation

    QQI (Formerly HETAC)
  • Professional Accreditation

    The Teaching Council
  • Gaeilge

    4 weeks in the Gaeltacht
  • School Experience

    24 weeks in total
  • Tuition Fees

    €7,500 per academic year

Programme Structure

  • Online Content

    On-demand online lectures, online tutorials and self-study

    Irish: 4 weeks in the Gaeltacht
    (2 x 2 weeks courses)
  • School Experience

    24 weeks undertaken in 3 schools - 2 blocks of 7 weeks and 1 block of 10 weeks.

    This includes periods of observation, engagement in wider school activities, research, teaching, reflection and evaluation.
  • Onsite Delivery

    Onsite conferences: the entire intake meets together in a central venue.
    Regional onsites: tutor groups meet in a regional venue.
  • Assessment

    Assessment of the programme is conducted through a combination of written exam and oral exams (Gaeilge), and continuous assessment, including the assessment of school placement. Students will also have the opportunity to engage in educational research through the completion of a research thesis.

Spring 2019 Indicative Calendar available soon

  • September 2018

  • November 2018

    School Observation (1 week)

  • April 2019 - May 2019

    School Experience 1 Placement (6 weeks)
  • July 2019

    1 week of onsites
  • July 2019

    Gaeltacht (2 weeks)
  • October 2019 - November 2019

    School Experience 2 Placement
    (7 weeks)

  • February 2020 - May 2020

    Advanced School Experience
    (10 weeks)
  • July 2020

    Gaeltacht (2 weeks)
  • July 2020

    Programme ends

Fees and Costs

Application Fee: €95

Course tuition fees: €15,000

Fees are payable as follows:
Year 1: €7,500
Year 2: €7,500

A deposit payment of €1,000 is required to secure your place. The balance of Year 1 fees, €6,500 are payable by the applicable due date.

Hibernia College is an approved college for the purposes of s.473 A of the Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997, enabling eligible students to avail of tax relief on tuition fees paid. More details are available on the Irish Revenue website.

Garda Vetting Fees: €50

Gaeltacht fees: 2 blocks of 2 weeks duration, cost per block €750 and payable to third party Gaeltacht provider.

Graduation: current fee is €100

Payment of tuition fees are to be made by bank transfer. Application fees are paid online, and must be paid in full before application will be processed.

Loan Facility for Students

The Comhar Linn INTO Credit Union have introduced a loan facility for students of primary teacher education. Please click here for more information.

  • Mary Kelly

    Mary Kelly

    Programme Director

    Programme Director, PME Primary
    Mary began her career as a primary school teacher having graduated from St. Patrick’s College Drumcondra. She worked at all class levels and as a Resource Teacher for children with Special Needs for many years, both nationally and internationally. In 2001, she was seconded by the Department of Education and Science to provide professional development in the area of Learning- Support with the Primary Curriculum Support Programme (PCSP). She then went on to work in several roles before taking over as Deputy National Co-ordinator PCSP with specific responsibility for the implementation of numeracy and literacy programmes under DEIS.

    In 2012, Mary became a full-time member of the primary team at Hibernia College working as Deputy Programme Director and Head of School Experience. She was subsequently appointed as Programme Director of the Primary programme in 2014. She is committed to ensuring that Hibernia College continues to prepare, develop and support reflective teachers who are academically strong, pedagogically skilled and responsive to the needs of all citizens.  Mary also serves as a Ministerial Appointee on the Teaching Council.

    Her research interests include literacy, early childhood education, educational leadership and teacher education. She has presented at national conferences including the INTO Education Conference, the Reading Association of Ireland Conference and at the United Kingdom Literacy Association International Conference.

  • Hilary Roche

    Hilary Roche

    Head of Teaching, Learning and Assessment

    Hilary Roche

    Hilary is Head of Teaching, Learning and Assessment on the Professional Masters in Education Programme (Primary)

    Hilary Roche originally qualified as a primary school teacher.  She worked in that role for a number of years before being seconded to National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA), initially as Education Officer for Modern Languages. She was subsequently appointed to the role of Director, Curriculum and Assessment in NCCA, where her work involved working on both Primary and Post-Primary projects, leading the Corporate Affairs Team and the development of the Strategic Plan. She was also engaged in curriculum review. She completed an MSc. in Education and Training Management.

    Hilary has been involved in work with Hibernia College for a number of years where she has worked as a member of the interview panel, a tutor for a number of the Pedagogies, a School-Placement tutor and a dissertation supervisor.

  • Dr. Aoife M. O'Brien

    Dr. Aoife M. O'Brien

    Head of Research

    Head of Research, PME Primary
    Dr. Aoife M. O’Brien is a qualified primary school teacher who received the Trinity College Dublin Gold medal upon completion of her B.Ed. Aoife holds an M.A. from Trinity College Dublin and was awarded a Trinity College Dublin Faculty scholarship and a Government of Ireland postgraduate scholarship by the Irish Research Council (IRCHSS) to begin her Ph.D. in Education which was completed in 2015. Aoife is currently Head of Research for the PMEP programme at Hibernia College and looks after the development of the content of the research module and delivers content via onsites and webinars. Aoife is also subject lead for SPHE whereby she designs and develops the on-line material. Aoife’s research interests include SPHE, mental and emotional wellbeing among primary and post-primary students, special educational needs (i.e., rare diseases such as 22q), and pre-service teacher training and education.

For students who sat the Leaving Certificate

  • An honours degree, National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) Level 8.  Note that the grade and subject of the degree are not relevant for the purpose of meeting the minimum entry requirements.
  • A Masters degree or PhD that is of NFQ Level 9 or higher is accepted in lieu of the honours degree.
  • Please note that an NFQ Level 8 higher diploma on its own does not fulfil this requirement.


Please see below for the minimum Leaving Certificate grades required:

Subject April 2018 September 201820192020
IrishGrade C3 (Higher Level) / H4Grade C3 (Higher Level) / H4Grade C3 (Higher Level) / H4Grade C3 (Higher Level) / H4

C3 (Ordinary Level) / 05 or

D3 (Higher Level) / H6

C3 (Ordinary Level) / 05 or

D3 (Higher Level) / H7

C3 (Ordinary Level) / 04 or

D3 (Higher Level) / H7

C3 (Ordinary Level) / 04 or

D3 (Higher Level) / H7

MathsGrade D (Ordinary Level or Higher Level) / O6 or H6Grade D (Ordinary Level or Higher Level) / O6 or H7Grade D (Ordinary Level or Higher Level) / O4 or H7Grade D (Ordinary Level or Higher Level) / O4 or H7


How to prepare for the Irish Interview


  • A honours degree, NFQ Level 8.  Note that the grade and subject of the degree are not relevant for the purpose of meeting the minimum entry requirements.
  • A Masters degree or PhD that is of NFQ Level 9 or higher is accepted in lieu of the honours degree.
  • Please note that an NFQ Level 8 higher diploma on its own does not fulfill this requirement.
  • Minimum grade C in GCE A level Irish
  • Minimum grade C in GCSE English
  • Minimum grade C in GCSE English Literature
  • Minimum grade D in GCSE Additional Mathematics Or
  • Minimum grade C at GCSE level in Mathematics


The following will also satisfy the minimum Irish language 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 NUI Maynooth
  • Diploma in Irish from the University of Ulster
  • Dioploma sa Ghaeilge (An Ghaeilge sa Saol Comhaimseartha) of Aonad na Gaeilge from the University of Limerick
  • A pass in a First Arts exam in Irish, NFQ Level 8
  • Teastas Eorpach na Gaeilge (TEG) Leibhéal B2 (Meánleibhéal 2)
  • Minimum grade C in the NUI matriculation exam (pre-1992)


The following will also satisfy the minimum requirements in Irish, English and Mathematics:

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


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

Additional Information

Note 1: Garda vetting Hibernia College offers programmes of study that require participants to work with children and/or other vulnerable groups. For this reason, students on this programme will be required to complete and sign a Garda Vetting Form. By completing and signing the Garda Vetting 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.

Note 2: Primary degree level If you are unsure of the level of your primary degree, contact the conferring college or university, or contact 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. 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 Higher Diploma is refused admission to the Register of Teachers.

Note 3: 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.


All applicants who are deemed to have met the entry requirements and who have submitted a fully completed application form with supporting documentation and payment of the application fee, will be interviewed.

We strongly encourage applicants to submit their completed application form as early as possible.

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 e-mail.
  • Applicants are placed in the queue for processing and will be contacted by phone or e-mail during daytime hours to schedule an interview.
  • The Admissions Team will make contact directly with the applicant to arrange an interview.  During busy periods, the waiting time for interview may be slightly longer.
  • Applicants will usually be given a notice period of approximately one week ahead of their allotted interview date and time.
  • Interviews normally take place in the daytime, Monday to Thursday at Hibernia College, 9-10 Fenian Street, Dublin 2.
  • 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 e-mail confirming the scheduled interview, directions to our premises and other information.

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 re-schedule 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 in a position to attend the interview on the date offered, it is important that this is communicated to the Admissions Team at the earliest opportunity.

The Interview

The interview is approximately 30 minutes.

The interview is in two parts. The Gaeilge component is approx. 10 minutes. The general component is approx. 20 minutes.

General Interview

The general interview component 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

The Irish language component of the interview will consist of a general conversation in relation to you, your interests, the Irish language and education and will focus on:

  • Conversational fluency
  • Grammatical accuracy

It is important to note that material should not be memorised in advance as this will limit your ability to communicate effectively with the panel. You will also need to be comfortable with changes of tense and to have the ability to use a wide range of verbs and vocabulary accurately.

Many applicants who have not been in regular contact with Irish since Leaving Certificate benefit from preparatory measures such as conversation classes, ciorcail chomhrá, Gaeltacht courses, listening to Irish language radio programmes on Raidió na Gaeltachta or Raidió na Life, watching the news on TG4 and reviewing a good Irish grammar book. In preparation for the Irish interview, we advise applicants to engage with the language as often as possible to improve fluency and accuracy.

Gaelchultúr ( offer a range of Irish language courses that you may wish to avail of to improve your Irish.

How to prepare for the Irish Interview

Interview Outcomes

  • The outcome of the interview will be that the applicant is recommended or not recommended.
  • The outcome of the interview is communicated via e-mail only and is not given to applicants by phone.
  • In the interest of fairness to applicants who are unsuccessful, the College will accept one repeat application following the initial application.
  • Applicants can make two consecutive applications only.  Following which, they must take a break in applying for two calendar years.  This is intended as a means of affording applicants the time required to address any shortcomings identified in their application.
  • 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.
  • To accept an offer, all applicants will have to pay a deposit it €1050.
  • 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.

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

The programme is taught over approximately two calendar years and it involves a workload of approximately 37 hours a week.

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.  For example, under academic rules 60 ECTs of study is deemed to be one year’s full-time study, but some Government departments define all blended study as part-time irrespective of student workload.  The College will provide full information on how the programme is provided, but cannot categorise this into full or part times for the purposes of a third party.

How flexible is the programme?

Hibernia College is a blended learning institution dedicated to improving access to higher education through the delivery of flexible programmes.  The College’s PME is the most accessible and flexible initial teacher education course in Ireland and the only programme that is available to graduate student teachers wherever they live.

This PME programme does require a considerable commitment of the student for self-study, online tutorials, and onsite workshops. In addition, Gaeltacht courses and school experience periods are scheduled in blocks of several weeks at a time. Online tutorials take place after 6pm on week-day evenings and on-demand programme content is available for students to study at a time that suits them.

The following is a guideline of the commitment required:

  • The online tutorials take place 2 – 3 evenings per week
  • The on-site workshops are for the most, scheduled on Saturdays
  • The school experience is a commitment of 24 weeks full-time in a school
  • Gaeltacht – attendance at 2 x 2 weeks full-time courses

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 intake?

There are two intakes per year, in the spring and autumn.

Are there concessions for mature students?

No. 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.

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

Yes, there is a limit. In the interest of fairness to applicants who are unsuccessful, the College will accept one repeat application following the initial application.

Following which, they must take a break in applying for two calendar years. This is intended as a means of affording applicants the time required to address any shortcomings identified in their application.


The live online tutorials generally take place on weekdays from 6 – 9.30 pm


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


No. There is no upper age limit.


The demographic explosion in Ireland, coupled with the short term shortage in the number of newly qualified teachers resulting from new Teaching Council requirements, and the increasing international demand for Irish trained teachers, results in a highly favourable employment outlook for our graduates.

According to the Irish Independent (29/04/2015), Public Expenditure Minister Howlin said the country would need an extra 3,500 primary and secondary school teachers by 2021.

While the College cannot guarantee employment for each individual student, there will be a very strong demand for newly qualified teachers into the future.


Blended learning is best understood as a ‘hybrid’ learning model; integrating online learning with traditional face-to-face tuition. A standard Hibernia College programme integrates online collaboration tools, multimedia content and digital communication technology with traditional on-site and face-to-face components, such as live tutorials, workshops and classroom practice. While the split differs from programme to programme, it is roughly 45% online and 55% offline.

Learning in this way with Hibernia College allows you the flexibility of completing a large part of your course from wherever you are, with the only travel being to onsite training days and school placements.

Increasingly, more colleges are taking a blended approach to their courses. 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 10 years experience in the design and delivery of this model, Hibernia College has a solid base on which to build better and more effective learning programmes that incorporate the best of both online and traditional teaching methods.

Where can I find information about the Higher Diploma in Arts in Primary Education (HDAPE)?

The Higher Diploma in Arts in Primary Education is no longer running and has been replaced by the PME in Primary Education.  Information on the HDAPE course can be found here.


If you have any additional questions, please email us at

Request Information

  • By continuing you agree to be contacted by Hibernia College.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.