The curriculum of the Irish studies programs examines Irish political history and the ways in which this history continues to unfold. These programs are interdisciplinary in nature, meaning they allow for topical study from a variety of scholastic approaches. Some programs offer study-abroad opportunities, allowing degree candidates to spend one or more semesters in Ireland.
Irish studies programs at U.S. schools are more often found as minors or areas of emphasis, rather than as formal degree programs. Some schools allow students in all degree programs to apply to the Irish studies minor program, while other schools prefer applicants to be enrolled in a related major program, such as literature, English, history or archaeology.
Applicants need a high school diploma or equivalent. Some programs are available online. Undergraduate programs can vary in length, but are usually two to four years long.
Irish Studies Undergraduate Degree Program
An Irish studies program provides an in-depth look at Irish culture, literature and folklore. In addition to the core Irish studies coursework, individuals also enroll in general studies electives, such as English composition, public speaking and social science courses. Some programs also feature an Irish language component requirement. Common course topics in the minor program include:
- Irish novelists
- Celtic mythology
- Irish spirituality
- Modern Irish poetry
- Irish film and drama
- The Irish diaspora
Popular Career Options
An undergraduate program in Irish studies prepares students for a range of career options or pursuing an advanced degree in a number of fields. Below are listed some sample career fields; some positions may require additional training or education.
- Public relations
- International affairs
- The arts
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
|Occupation||Projected Job Growth, 2014-2024||Median Annual Salary (May 2015)|
|Tour guides and tour escorts||5% (as fast as average)||$24,100|
|Reporters and correspondents||-8%||$36,360|
|Public relations specialists||6% (as fast as average)||$56,770|
|Interpreters and translators||29% (much faster than average)||$44,190|
|Craft and fine artists||2% (slower than average)||$45,080|
|High school teachers||6%||$57,200|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Continuing Education Information
Advanced degree programs are also available in Irish studies. Examples of these programs include a master's degree in Irish literature and culture or a doctoral degree in Celtic languages. Individuals may also use the Irish studies degree as a stepping stone to studying other cultures and traditions at the graduate level.
An undergraduate Irish studies program gives students the background in Irish culture, history, language and more to work in various careers or pursue advanced degrees.