BEd Hons (Bilingual)

Course Structure

Irish-medium Education is offered as an optional route through the BEd (Hons) degree course. This choice offers BEd students the opportunity to take the BEd course bilingually (Irish and English) and to gain meaningful insights into educational issues relevant to immersion teaching.
This option is open to students from all main subject areas.

Students are awarded a Certificate in Bilingual Education in addition to their BEd Degree qualification. These qualifications reflect the specialist knowledge and skills of new graduates wishing to apply for a position in Irish-medium primary and nursery schools as well as in schools within the English-medium sector.

The content of the degree course is based on the requirements of the N.I. Curriculum. Throughout the four years of the course, the BEd modules will have a bilingual dimension.  Students will spend one or two of their four blocks of Teaching Experience in an Irish-medium nursery or primary school and the remaining blocks in an English-medium school.  Some elements of the course are taught through Irish in Year 1 and Year 2.  An intense Irish-medium experience can be enjoyed in Years 3 and 4.  The language profile of the course is outlined below:





Curriculum Studies, Professional Development and School Experience and Education Studies


School Experience


BEd 1 and 2

Elements taught through Irish:



The World Around Us

Other curriculum areas are studied through English.

Professional Development and School Experience are studied through Irish. Education Studies is conducted through the medium of English.

Some short visits to Irish-medium classes.

Main Teaching Experience is spent in an English-medium school.


BEd 3 and 4

Elements taught through Irish:



The World Around Us

Most other subject areas are studied through Irish or bilingually.

Immersion Education issues are studied through Irish and other educational issues through English.

Main Teaching Experience is spent in an Irish-medium school. 

Why choose an Irish-medium route at St Mary’s University College? 

Students select Irish-medium education at St Mary’s University College because:

  • Irish-medium schools and units are growing throughout the country and offer excellent professional opportunities to teachers and others.

In the future, I would like a post in an Irish-medium school and to use the language teaching children.”    Máire Nig Uidhir, BEd 4.

I love Irish and want to be an Irish-medium teacher, particularly as I attended an Irish-medium primary school myself.”    Duailtín Ní Mhianáin, BEd 4.

  • This bilingual course is a stimulating and interesting route through the B.Ed. and offers both practical and theoretical insights into the advantages and challenges of learning through a second language.

I have always been interested in Irish and in teaching and the excellence of this course at St. Mary’s is well known.”  Charlene Ní Bhrádaigh,  BEd 4.

  • An appreciation of the importance of Irish is best communicated by using the language in everyday life.  Learning and teaching through the medium of the language is a very rewarding and fulfilling way to experience some of the advantages that the language offers.

I have always been interested in the Irish language and culture.  The Irish-medium degree course gives me the opportunity to spend blocks of Teaching Experience in both English and Irish-medium schools and to learn about bilingual education.”  Joanne Nic Gilla Earna,  BEd 4.

How can I apply for the BEd Hons (Bilingual)?

Students can apply for the Irish-medium route through their degree course once they have been offered a place at St Mary’s University College.  Students are invited to consider this bilingual option during the First Year induction week at St Mary’s and to be interviewed for this course.

Competence in Irish is required.  Usually, this means an A Level or the equivalent qualification in the language.

It is not necessary to be a student in the area of main subject Irish.  Students from another main subject (e.g. PE, Religious Studies, Music, History, etc.) and who are competent in Irish are welcome.