Written by Dr. John Lannon, Course Director of the Online Masters in Project and Programme Management at University of Limerick.

As the Course Director for the Online MSc in Project and Programme Management at the University of Limerick (UL), I can reveal there are very similar questions that arise every year from prospective students preparing for the course and wanting to gain the most from the experience.

Therefore, to help you get the maximum value from the Masters I would like to share some of the insights I have learned over the years that will help you prepare well for the course.

Here are the top seven questions most frequently asked by students preparing for the Masters that I feel will help you ease well into the programme.


Q: “What is the recommended workload per week for the Masters?”

On average, students spend around 20-25 hours per week working towards their Masters. This figure is based on feedback gathered from past course graduates, so it gives a good idea of how much time you would need to allocate to your studies.

And of course, the delivery is flexible, so if you have pressing work or family commitments, it’s possible to find a balance from one week to the next. There are no restrictions on how you undertake the work, so long as you engage in the weekly online activities and stick to the module’s deadline for assessments.




Q: “I have three kids and a full-time job, but require a Masters to progress my career; how can I balance my family, work and education?”

The part-time online Masters in Project and Programme Management has been specifically designed to be flexible, enabling students to balance work and family life with their educational learning and assignments.

Prior to starting the programme, all learners participate in a two-week online induction programme. This provides a valuable introduction to the virtual learning environment, as well as the course content, your lecturers and classmates.

We have found that this induction proves particularly useful for people who are returning to third level education after a break of several years. It helps to ease you into the programme, so you feel confident and motivated about beginning your modules.

Once you start the masters, each year is broken up into three semesters; the first consists of two taught modules, the second features three taught modules, and the third is composed of project work. Each taught module is five weeks long, and students have a one-week break between modules, which gives busy professionals and parents the opportunity to either take a break from studies or catch up on work duties.

Each module follows an approach to teaching and learning that is grounded in interaction, dialogue and reflection. This is based on paced asynchronous delivery, which means that you can engage and contribute at whatever times of the week suit you best.

Click here to find out more details of the course semesters and modules.


Q: “Do I have to be online at specific times?”

No, content is delivered through narrated slide decks, podcasts, videos, academic articles or online book chapters, and case studies. There are typically two or three live sessions in a module but if you miss one due to time zone differences or have work or family obligations, you can play back the recording when it’s more convenient for you. Otherwise, most of the interaction with peers and tutors is through discussion forums.

As the course is available worldwide, it has been designed for optimum flexibility to ensure it is accessible for students in all time zones.


Q: “Are there exams I need to prepare for at the end of the Masters course?”

No, there are no exams in the online Masters. Instead, students are assessed on assignments, which they complete throughout the modules.

In the first four weeks of each module, you will undertake a selection of online activities (etivities) that involve in peer-to-peer learning. These are facilitated through discussion forums that are moderated by experienced tutors. Overall, this engagement is worth 10% of your module grade.

You will also be asked to write and submit a reflective paper for the module, of around 2,500 to 3,000 words. This should include examples detailing the applied value of the insights you have gained through your learning and engagement with your peers, tutors and the content provided. This paper is worth 25% of the module grade.

Lastly, at the end of each five-week module block, you will have one or more assignments to complete, which are worth 65% of the module grade.




Q: “What are the fees for the Masters and what are the options to pay?”

The complete cost for the Online Masters in Project and Programme Management is €15,250, which consist of €7,625 for year one and €7,625 for year two, year 2 is subject to change based on an increase in student levy (costs correct as of July 2019).

Various flexible payment options are available to ensure that you can pay these fees in the way that best suits your budget. You can choose to pay in full each year, prior to starting the course, or pay in two instalments; the first before commencing semester one, and the second before commencing semester two. Alternatively, you can set up a monthly payment plan, to run over the course of the two-year programme.

For those undertaking the course with support from their current employer, we can also provide an invoice detailing the course fees for you to pass onto your organisation.


Q: “Are there any scholarships available to help fund the cost of the programme?”

For the Autumn 2019 intake, eligible students can apply for the Athena SWAN Charter scholarship. Awarded through the University of Limerick’s Kemmy Business School, the initiative demonstrates our commitment to the principle of equality in higher education. The Charter encourages and recognises a commitment to combating under-representation and advancing the careers of women in roles within the higher education and research sectors.

As such, this scholarship enables us to offer a full fee waiver for one female applicant to the online MSc in Project and Programme Management programme.

To find out more about the scholarship and how to apply please click here




Q: “What else do you recommend to really maximise the value of the Masters?”

I would recommend you are employed in a project-related role or work-shadow for the duration of the masters. This will enable you to apply new-found learnings straight away and will also help you bring personal insight to the assignments and peer-to-peer etivities.

There are also three books that I would strongly advise you to read, which will provide you with a strong foundation of project management principles and practices. They are:

  1. The ‘Gower Handbook of Project Management’ edited by Rodney Turner (4th or 5th Edition)
  2.  ‘An Introduction to Project Management’ by Kathy Schwalbe (now at 5th edition)
  3. ‘Project Management’ by Dennis Lock (published by Gower.

As you can see from these frequently asked questions, many students approach the course with similar concerns about balancing commitments and coursework, how to pay the fees, as well as how to get the most from the experience.

For those looking to deepen their project management skills with a masters, the online MSc in Project and Programme Management at University of Limerick offers a flexible and cost-effective route to career progression.

With practical content, delivered in an easily accessible format, the online Masters aims to help learners develop vital project management expertise that not only adds value in your current role but will also enhance your career opportunities in the future.

Should you need any more information about the Masters or your application please get in touch with the course co-ordinator Maria O’Connell or myself.


About the author


Dr. John Lannon is Course Director of the Online Masters in Project and Programme Management, teaching various Knowledge and Information Management components on the programme. John has taught at several universities in Europe, Africa and Asia before joining the Centre for Project Management at the University of Limerick, as well as working for over 15 years in project management and systems development in the I.T. sector.

He is a worldwide expert in the field of project management, publishing articles in the International Journal of Project Management and contributing to various books, journals, reports and conference publications

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