Frequently Asked Questions


How do I apply for the programme?

Applications must be made using the links on the ULearning website. Applications cannot be made by post and all applications are subject to a € 25 Application Fee.


What happens to my application form after I apply?

You will receive acknowledgement of your application from the relevant Programme Director via e-mail.

The Programme Academic committee will evaluate your application; successful applicants will be informed by e-mail. The selection process takes approximately 3 weeks to complete following the closing date for application. Submission of full and complete documentation will enhance your application for a place on the programme. If transcripts are not submitted, your application will not be reviewed by the selection committee. Once a place on the programme has been offered, partial payment of the Programme Fee will have to be paid to the ULearning Office. Detailed instructions will be provided with the initial offer of a place on the programme.


How do I check my Application Status?

All correspondence regarding the status of your application will be communicated to you by email and it is your responsibility to ensure that the email address that you provide is up to date, active and that you check it on a regular basis. The University may also supplement such communications with postal communications particularly at the later stages of the process. Any changes to email or postal address should be notified to the ULearning Office at ulearning@ul.ie


What documents do I need to submit with my application form?

The on-line application process includes a document upload facility that allows applicants to scan and upload evidence of qualifications/awards, transcripts to date and evidence of English language competency certificates. All scanning should be of original documentation and the electronic files created from the scanning process should not be interfered with in any way.

You will need to submit your
• Final Award Certificate
• Transcripts for each year of your programmes
• Supporting Statement
• English language certificate if English is not your first language
• Certified English translation of your award/transcripts


Do I need to post in original documents/awards to the University?

When you apply on-line, you must upload your documents and submit them with your application form. Original documentation will be requested if you are offered a place on the programme. Hence, all offers of places will be conditional on receipt of your original certificates/awards. Please do not post in your original qualifications/awards unless we ask you to do so.


How do I obtain my transcripts from previous institution?

Transcripts may be obtained from the Student Administration or the Registrar Office at the relevant institution. In general when you request an exam transcript from your graduating University / Institute of Technology, you will receive a complete transcript of your academic record (i.e. all years of study). The complete transcript must be included with your application. In order to obtain a copy of your official academic transcript, you will need to put your request in writing to the office, advising them of your student ID number and a forwarding address. If you have forgotten your student ID number, please ensure that you advise your date of birth, your programme of study and the year you commenced your studies. There is normally a fee for your official transcript so please ensure that you send a cheque, postal order or bank draft with your request.


How do I know the NFQ level for the various programmes?

The NFQ level for each Programme is available on the Programme web page on the ULearning website.


What is the difference between a Minor and a Major NFQ Award?

As well as the 10 level structure, the NFQ includes different classes or categories of awards. These are different because they reflect a mix of standards of knowledge, skill and competence. This gives the learner the freedom to build their qualifications in ways that suit their needs.

Major awards are the main class of award made at a level e.g. Honours Bachelor Degree. There are 16 major awards in the Framework which can be seen in the ‘fan’ diagram.

Minor awards provide recognition for learners who achieve a range of learning outcomes but not the specific combination of learning outcomes required for a major award. These awards allow learners to build up units of learning at their own pace to meet their own needs.


What is the difference between Lean Systems and Six Sigma?

There are basically two different techniques within the area of quality management, each with their own unique tools and approaches. To put it at its most basic, Lean has a tool set that is geared to improve process flow while Six Sigma focuses specifically on process variation.
Also, Six Sigma tends to be more statistically and quantitatively based than Lean.


What is the difference between the various Six Sigma belts?

The different belts one can achieve are yellow, green, black and master black. The most basic is the yellow belt. Not that many people achieve this level because there is not much one can do with it. People typically go for the higher belts. However, if you do want to go for the yellow belt, you will have to have a strong understanding of the Six Sigma style. Most people with a yellow belt cannot work on a black belt project; their every day work will reflect a quality vs. profit relationship.

 

The next step in the Six Sigma belts is the green belt. People with this certification are often referred to as worker bees because they do the majority of the work during projects. They are the ones who gather all the necessary information. They also do a majority of the experiments and tests throughout the project. The main goals of a green belt are to ensure the success of the training techniques and lead smaller improvement projects. Just like the yellow belts below them, people with green belts must have a strong understanding of what the Six Sigma training is all about.

 

Higher still in the Six Sigma belts, are black belts. These are the people who are in charge of the Six Sigma projects within their respective companies. Most of the time, these are the people who are asked to take on this task on a full time basis. Once the project is completed and everything has been implemented, they will return to their regular duties. The projects they head up typically are expected to save the company at least $100,000. This is why they usually do the work full time. Along with heading the project, they also are expected to coach, develop and advise other managers so the entire company can achieve this goal.

 

There also are master black belts. This is the highest of the Six Sigma belts one can achieve. You will not necessarily find a master black belt in a company just because they are implementing Six Sigma. This is because this person is a highly trained black belt who will do the work full time, even after the project is completed. The master black belt will make sure everything continues running smoothly and all the training the company learned stays in the company. They are there to execute the practices throughout the company, not just within the project.


What are the Programme fees?

This is dependent on the Programme chosen. The Programme Fees are available from the Programme web page on the ULearning website. In addition students will receive a list of course materials for purchase.


What is the schedule of Fee payment?

Once a place on a Programme is offered, partial payment of the Programme Fee will have to be paid to the ULearning Office. Details of this will be provided with your offer of a course place.

Fees are then payable at the start of each semester. The amount due each semester is the total Programme Fee divided by the number of semesters. Those who do not pay the Fee by the designated date will be subject to a Late Payment Penalty of €200. You should note that once registered, you are liable for full course Fees regardless as to whether you complete / attend the programme.


Which payment methods are available for the payment of fees?

Payment of Fees can be made online, over the telephone or by cheque/bankdraft/postal order.


Who do I make the Programme Fee payable to?

Fees should be made payable to the University of Limerick.


When do the programmes commence?

This is dependent on the Programme being offered. Most Programmes begin in September. The Programme web page has details of start dates.


What are the attendance requirements for the course? Are they compulsory?

This is dependent on the Programme. Workshops add substance to the course material and attendance is strongly recommended in order to complete the programme successfully.


How do I get an exemption for a module already completed?

Students can apply for exemptions in modules or placements, documentation must be attached to the exemption application, which will clearly state why the exemption should be granted. E.g. module syllabus, transcript or in the case of industry experience a CV. Students who have to repeat a year or semester are not entitled to seek exemptions. Exemptions from modules are considered at the selection process stage.

Exemption Form


How are the modules assessed?

Most modules are assessed by a combination of course work and an end of semester closed book written exam. Some modules will be 100% continuous assessment.


When do the exams take place?

Exams take place at the end of each semester. Details are sent to the students closer to the exam date specifying directions to the assigned building, exam timetable, time allocated for the exam and exam instructions.


Where are the exams held?

This is Programme dependent. Mostly exams are held on the UL campus. Details are sent to the students closer to the exam date specifying directions to the assigned building, exam times and duration and exam instructions.


How do I receive my grades?

Grades are available on-line. The post date will be communicated to the student via the UL website.


Is there a recheck policy for grades?

Should you believe that your grade in a module is incorrect, you can recheck the grade by completing the Grade Recheck Request form up to two weeks after examination results are approved.

There is a € 25 deposit for module rechecks payable with the form, which is refundable only if the grade is changed as a result of the recheck.

Remember grades can be lowered by a recheck, so be sure you really believe the grade awarded is incorrect before applying. Please submit the Form and the appropriate fee to the Student Academic Administration Office, who will notify you in writing once the grade recheck decision has been received by the relevant Module Tutor.

Grade Recheck Application Form


When will graduation take place?

This is dependent on the Programme undertaken. Mostly Graduation takes place in August or January, on the UL campus.


I cannot seem to log into the Library/Moodle?

With problems logging on to the UL system contact ulearning@ul.ie


Who should I notify if my address changes?

Please return the Change of Address Form to ulearning@ul.ie

Change of Address Form


Is it possible to defer or withdraw from a Programme?

If you wish to defer your place on a Programme you need to submit a request to the ULearning Office in writing as soon as possible. If the request is made before Week 5 the ULearning Office can de-register the student from the relevant module(s). Anytime after Week 5 the ULearning Office can de-register the student from the exam only, a RE will appear on their transcript for that semester at that time and the exam can be sat at a later stage. The Programme Director may decide to grant you a deferral. If you are offered a deferral, the ULearning Office will communicate this to you in writing.

In January of the following year, you will receive an offer letter again for your Programme. You do not need to re-apply online again. If you are not granted a deferral, you will need to re-apply again online for the following academic year. Where deferral requests are approved, any course work grades (assignments, assessments, etc) will be carried forward.

Inaction by a student in respect of module assessment elements for which they are registered, may result in the award of NG (no grade). This will result in a penalty for the student; the NG becomes an F grade and subsequent clearance will incur a capping penalty, set at C3. Please avoid this type of penalty by completing and returning the Deferral Application Form.

Deferral Application Form


Is there a cost involved in deferring?

In most cases there is not a charge for deferring.


When will I be issued my Student ID card?
Where can I get a replacement should I lose it?

Student ID cards are issued on enrolment to the Programme. This will grant access to the University gym, clubs/societies and all other University services available.

A replacement can be obtained from Student Academic Administration SAA@ul.ie who will post it to your address. Each student at UL is required to carry a current valid student identity card while on campus. There is a €10 charge for a replacement card.


What are the Programme fees?

This is dependent on the Programme chosen. The Programme Fees are available from the Programme web page on the ULearning website. All Programme Fees include all course materials, text books and exam fees.


What is the schedule of Fee payment?

Once a place on a Programme is offered, partial payment of the Programme Fee will have to be paid to the ULearning Office. Details of this will be provided with your offer of a course place.

Fees are then payable at the start of each semester. The amount due each semester is the total Programme Fee divided by the number of semesters. Those who do not pay the Fee by the designated date will be subject to a Late Payment Penalty of €200. You should note that once registered, you are liable for full course Fees regardless as to whether you complete / attend the programme.


Which payment methods are available for the payment of fees?

Payment of Fees can be made by electronic bank transfer or by cheque.


Who do I make the Programme Fee payable to?

Fees should be made payable to the University of Limerick.


If I change my mind about a particular Programme are the Fees refunded?

Once a student has registered for a specific programme, ULearning has no obligation to refund Fees. However, in exceptional cases of extreme hardship or on medical grounds, a written appeal may be submitted directly to the ULearning Office for a refund of Fee paid (minus the deposit). Appeals are considered on a case by case basis. It is in this regard that applicants are requested to inform themselves of the various requirements of the Programme and to contact the Programme Director for guidance on Programme suitability.


What factors should I consider before undertaking an on-line / distance programme?

On-Line learning is different to learning in a traditional classroom setting. It requires you to think differently about how you communicate with the Programme Director, interact with other students, complete assignments and tests and most of all, study. To be successful as an on-line student you should be able to answer the following questions:

1. Do you possess strong time management skills?
You will be responsible for completing assignments and participating in on-line threaded discussions. Blended learning classes are flexible and self-paced, but there are established timelines for submitting assignments and for class participation.

2. Do you possess strong organisational skills?
In most cases, there are no established times during the week that you will have to be on-line or when to study. You will be given the how and the what, but the when will be up to you. Your ability to effectively organise your time will be essential to your success.

3. Are you self-motivated?
Due to the flexibility and convenience of blended learning it is often easy to put off class work until the last minute. Self-motivation is key to staying current on assignments and completing class work on time. In the blended learning format it is very difficult to catch up once you have fallen behind.

4. Do you enjoy working independently?
While there are opportunities to work with other students, the majority of the work will be carried out on your own. There are a number of face-to-face workshops with module tutors and other students, however blended learning requires a greater than average self-discipline to be successful.

5. Are you comfortable working with technology?
All assignments and correspondence with tutors and other students are conducted on-line. The ability to correspond via e-mail; send and view documents; participate in threaded discussions; and have access to a reliable internet connection is mandatory.


What kind of support can I expect to receive for the duration of the programme?

As you work your way through the Programme, you will receive support from ULearning staff and the module tutors who are committed to your success. The on-line learning environment will occur in a collaborative environment that will offer the necessary assistance in achieving your educational objectives and professional goals.
You will get the opportunity to meet with students and staff of the Programme at the on-site workshops.


Is there any financial aid available?

Some local authorities or VEC consider applications for fee grants.

Click here for more details

The Government are also offering the Springboard iniative. Springboard offers a choice of 220 free, part-time courses in higher education from certificate, to degree, to post-graduate level. All courses lead to qualifications in enterprise sectors which are growing and need skilled personnel, including information and communications technology (ICT); the medical devices sector; bio-pharma pharmachem; green energy; international financial services; and the food and beverage sector. Qualifications are also available in cross-enterprise skills such as Six Sigma; Lean and Quality Systems; sales; business-start up and entrepreneurship.

For the full list of available Springboard courses click

Do I have to buy any additional text books?

In general you do not have to buy additional books, even though the Module Tutor may recommend certain text books to supplement the material provided. These books are mostly available in the library to borrow.


How do I submit assignments?

All assignments are submitted electronically.


What is the duration of the Specialist Diplomas?

One year. Specialist Diploma programmes are run over two semesters, each 15 weeks, with 10 weeks project write up upon completion of the taught element.


What is the duration of the Masters Programme?

Masters Programmes are flexible and students can complete the Programme in 2 to 3 years at a pace that suits their work and family commitments. Participants can take 1 to 3 taught modules each semester, until they complete the Programme.


How many hours a week should I commit to the programme?

Students should commit approximately 8-10 hours per week per module to successfully complete the Programme.


What are ECTS credits and how many are awarded for each programme?

The basis of the ECTS system is the workload which the students have to master in order to complete a study programme sucessfully. The student workload consists of the time required to complete all planned learning activities, i.e. contact hours (lectures,tutorials, etc.) and private study (preparation for exams, assignments, etc.).

A normal full-time load would consist of 30 ECTS per semester.

Each programme has the ECTS credits allocated on the Programme web page.


Is there any financial discount available to companies who wish to have an employee participate in a Programme?

Finacial assistance may be available to eligible companies, such as those who are members of the ULearning Skillnet Network. This is a 20% discount on Programme Fees, subject to availability.

Membership costs € 150 per annum.


How many times during the course am I required to attend the University of Limerick?

This is Programme dependent. Generally students are required to attend three Saturday workshops per semester and the end of semester exams.


Who is the certification authority for the programmes?

The University of Limerick.


Will UL be the only centre for workshops?

This is Programme dependent. Workshops for AUA postgraduate programmes are held on a revolving basis between NUI Galway, UL and UCC. One workshop per semester will take place on each campus. The end of semester exams will be held on the campus of the student´s choice.


What is the scope and standard of the Project and taught modules for the MSc programmes?

The MSc Project is 30 Credits, which equates to 5 modules.


What is the scope and standard of the Project and taught modules for the Specialist Diploma programmes?

The Specialist Diploma Project is 12 Credits, which equates to 2 modules.


How is the on-line delivery operated?

The courses delivery is through a hybrid of traditional distance education, on-line learning, and face-to-face contact. At the on campus orientation students receive a learning pack containing course notes, learning material, readings and software, where applicable for each course. These constitute the core material needed to study the course.

The delivery uses a blended approach, that is, a combination of distance /on-line learning materials combined with face-to-face lab, tutorials and seminars. The on-line element facilitates the learning in tandem with the distance-education, hardcopy materials and classroom contact.

Students will be required to attend lab, tutorial or seminar session during the programme. Attendance varies for each programme, from one to five days per module. These will be held on Campus at the University of Limerick.

The project element of each course requires the participant to apply the learning from the taught modules to their own organisations and deliver a concise and analytical report on their findings and results.

Moodle, an abbreviation for (Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment) provides the e-learning platform. Moodle can be accessed through any web browser. Each student will be provided with a Log in and password before orientation. The Moodle site is structured around the programmes and present all related course materials, learning resources and activities to students. This includes side blocks offering extra features or information, such as discussion boards.


How do the discussion boards work? How long is the information available on line?

Discussion boards are accessed through the Moodle system and the information remains on the discussion board for the duration of the Programme.


Do the diplomas require any full time continuous attendance or how flexible are they from a work/study point of view?

All our Programmes are designed for those working full time in industry. The courses are distance learning with a small amount of peer to peer classroom based learning. In general there are three Saturday workshops per semester on campus at UL.


Is there anywhere that I can get more detail on the topics in the course?

Each Programme web page has a link to more detailed descriptions of the modules.


What are the minimum criteria for undertaking the Masters in Quality Management - Lean Systems?

Applicants for the Masters will be expected to hold at least a 2.1 Primary Honours Degree or Equivalent in any discipline. Applicants who do not hold a degree will be expected to complete two open distance learning Diplomas and (if their QCA is of sufficiently high standard) can then register for the Masters (and complete the final two modules and thesis). Relevant work experience will also be taken into account in the application process.


Do I have access to Library facilities at the University?

Yes you have access to the Library at the University in which you are registered. Inter-Library loans can be arranged for all registered students as well.


What if I have a disability / specific learning difficulty?

If you have a specific disability or learning difficulty, you are encouraged to indicate this on the Application Form. Disclosure will not adversely affect your application or your legal rights in any way.


If English is not my first language will it affect my application?

Students whose first language is not English must provide evidence that their English language ability is meets the required standard for admission. The required standard is based on results from an acceptable English language proficiency test such as the TOEFL or IELTS. This evidence must be submitted with your application.

Minimum requirements:
TOEFL 550 (paper based) or 213 (computer based)
IELTS overall score of 6.0

Either test must have been undertaken no more than two years prior to the commencement of your particular programme. Please contact the Programme Coordinator if you have any queries on the English language requirement.