Aspire Scholarships

Aspire was set up in 2010 after the financial crisis in order to support the recovery and development of future Ireland. Aspire Scholarships help high-potential candidates unlock their unique talent, drive, and potential to be future business leaders. The scholarships are specifically for individuals who demonstrate the ambition to study at UCD Smurfit School, but who require some financial assistance to study their chosen Masters Programme. Please note that to be considered for this scholarship, applicants must be accepted to their chosen programme and must complete a separate scholarship application form.
Open Date 1st February 2021
Close Date 7th May 2021
Status Closed
Value Multiple MSc and MBA awards of 50% tuition fees

Impact of the Aspire programme

Since 2010, the impact of the Aspire Programme has been tremendous. Thanks to the donor’s generosity, many students have benefitted from financial support towards the cost of their tuition fees. Our Aspire graduates have excelled in their fields, and many have gone on to establish their own business ventures or are employed in leading companies such as Google, McKinsey, Citi, KPMG, PwC, Accenture, AIB, Paddy Power Betfair, Avolon, Microsoft, LinkedIn, and Facebook, among others.

The scholarships cover half the fees for the relevant courses.

In addition, if you receive a scholarship and you need to borrow the other half of the fees, there are special arrangements in place to help you to do so.

The Aspire Scholarship Programme represents an extraordinary gesture of belief by the donor in the resilience of this country and the calibre of Ireland's graduates. 

If you have the talent, the drive and the initiative to study at UCD Smurfit School and to go on to a successful career, but are being held back by your personal financial circumstances, one of these scholarships could be for you. This year we are offering:

  • Up to 3 MBA Scholarships.
  • Up to 9 Scholarships for our specified Business Masters programmes.

For study commencing in September 2021.

You will also have to demonstrate clear evidence of financial need in order to qualify for an Aspire scholarship. As part of your application you will need to complete the Aspire Scholarship Financial Questionnaire 2020.  Applicants should upload the completed questionnaire with their application.



Open to all successful MSc Business, MBA and Executive MBA applicants who are resident in Ireland. MBA candidates must achieve the relevant minimum GMAT score or above (MBA FT: min GMAT 600; EMBA: min GMAT 520 OR Executive Assessment (EA) 149 and above). Please note the GMAT/EA deadline is 7th May 2021.

View our course entry criteria for more details

Please note that UCD Belfield programmes run in conjunction with UCD Smurfit School - MSc in Biotechnology and Business, MSc in Biotherapeutics and Business and MSc in International Law and Business - are not eligible for Scholarships.

In order to be considered for the scholarships, you must;

  1. Firstly, you must complete and submit an online application to a UCD Smurfit Taught Masters programme by 7th May 2021. Click here to apply for a UCD Smurfit Taught Masters. Please note you must have an offer from us before proceeding with step 2.
  2. Complete the online Scholarship Application Form. All required fields must be completed. Click here to complete the Scholarship Application Form. Please note that you will not see these scholarships at this link until you have submitted a valid application by 7th May 2021(step 1 above).
  3. Ensure you complete and submit the Aspire Scholarship Financial Questionnaire 2020 with your application. 

We believe such a generous and far sighted initiative needs special adjudication. So, we have put together a high level Review Committee to determine who will receive the Aspire scholarships. The committee will be chaired by Cormac McCarthy, Former CEO of Ulster Bank and CFO of Paddy Power plc, representatives from UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School and a business leader representing the School’s alumni. The views of the donor will also be considered by the Review Committee in the decision making process.

If you have any queries regarding the Aspire Scholarship programme or the related application process please contact:

Carole Deering, Admissions Manager by email or phone 01 716 8033.

Scholarships Notice

Candidates may apply for a number of scholarships, if they are successful in attaining more than one scholarship, however, they may only accept one scholarship bursary. Scholarship bursaries can not be added together or combined. They will be awarded the higher amount. Candidates can not transfer or use one scholarship or bursary between or against another programme. Scholarships and bursaries are also not allowed to be deferred to a future academic year . it is only applicable and awarded to the student for the year they are offered a place in UCD Smurfit. If a student , subsequently , decides to defer their offer they will lose their scholarship or bursary and be required to apply in the future.

Please note that UCD Belfield programmes run in conjunction with UCD Smurfit School - MSc in Biotechnology and Business, MSc in Biotherapeutics and Business and MSc in International Law and Business - are not eligible for Scholarships.UCD Smurfit School Scholarships are not applicable to courses in UCD Smurfit Executive Development or UCD Belfield campus.

Discover our Rankings and Accreditations