Speak to anyone at the University of Limerick and they'll tell you: it's a close-knit campus. Lecturers and students know one another and without exception, course lecturers, tutors and directors are just an email away – taking the time to liaise with and advise each and every student.
For Siobhán Curley, something of a University of Limerick 'lifer', university has become a second home. “I did my undergraduate degree here, and now I'm kind of set,” she admits. “This is where my life is. I'm involved with the Students' Union, with clubs and societies... UL is my home now.”
It's this sense of place that marks UL out from its competitors – along with an exceptional graduate employment rate and state-of-the-art facilities.
With 3,500 students in the Faculty of Science & Engineering alone, Siobhán has many compatriots in the same boat. There are more than 18 academic degree programmes available within the faculty itself, as well as taught and research Masters and, at any one time, more than 500 PhD researchers.
With the support of 250 faculty and staff, the faculty is always at the cutting edge of research, education and student-led teaching.
Siobhán is a Masters student in the Faculty of Science & Engineering, studying Mechatronics – a course that was launched by the university in 2016, to tackle an acute scarcity of knowledge and skills in the area of intelligent automation.
“I originally studied metalwork teaching,” says Siobhán. “But I fell in love with the engineering side of things. I didn't want to do something everybody else was doing – the course I'm doing is very new and very innovative. It's an emerging industry.”
With the MEng in Mechatronics being a new course at the University of Limerick, Siobhán says there are myriad opportunities for collaboration between students and faculty. “It's very much a question of, 'what would you guys like to do? What would you like to see happen in this course?' It's very different to any course I've done so far, which would be a huge selling point for me.”
In terms of career opportunities, Siobhán says the MEng in Mechatronics offers a broad range, “which is quite exciting. If you wanted to work in something a bit more established, you could collaborate with your employer and say, 'hey, we're using these processes, but maybe we could move in this direction', or you could go into a company that's really pushing innovation, and be on a really exciting team.”
The course itself involves a lot of work with industry professionals – meaning that graduates from the MEng have already been in contact with people within their chosen industry. And the focus isn't just on the nuts and bolts of the work itself. “They've given us so much advice, not just with the content of the course, but also on how to slot ourselves into a team,” says Siobhán.
“A lot of the work we've done has been about putting ourselves into random teams, using our skills together. It's about realising that you're not always right in any given situation – and that's been a really interesting experience.”
As for what's next for Siobhán? “There are a few things I've been looking at,” she says. “Johnson & Johnson has a really interesting graduate programme, doing automation engineering. It's one of the first companies in Ireland that wants to move to fully automated processes. Getting that experience would be amazing.”
When it comes to recommending the University of Limerick – and the MEng itself – Siobhán wouldn't hesitate.
“Mechatronics is something that's emerging in engineering, and if it's something you have an interest in, to be at the forefront of that movement is really exciting,” she says.
“And the University of Limerick has a really nice community. You could have really fantastic facilities in your college, but not feel like you fit in. Whereas UL offers both. It's not just about the academic resources, but also about the student experience. It's very much its own community. You feel like you belong.”
UL’s postgraduate courses are developed and reviewed with industry leaders, to make sure our students have the most up-to-date skillsets for up-and-coming careers.
The University boasts exceptional facilities and the highest quality academic standards, all in the vibrant and affordable city of Limerick. Click below to download your eBook, or chat to one of the UL team, and discover why UL is the number one choice for your postgrad and future career.