Aspire Scholarships

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. The scholarships are open to applicants who are resident in Ireland.
Open Date 5th February 2024
Close Date 13th May 2024
GMAT / EA Deadline 16th May 2024
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 2023.

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. 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 16th May 2022.

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. 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 (step 1 above).
  3. Ensure you complete and submit the Aspire Scholarship Financial Questionnaire with your application by the closing date May 16th.

Nicole Matko, MSc Aviation Finance 2022: "The Aspire scholarship programme was the key facilitator in allowing me to undertake the MSc in Aviation Finance and pursue my goal of further education. Due to the generosity of the benefactors, alongside the community of scholars and alumni,my career journey has been guided by an invaluable support network".

Kerry McLaverty, Executive MBA, CEO of LauraLynn Ireland’s Children’s Hospice: “Without doubt, the Aspire Scholarship Programme was the key facilitator allowing me to undertake my Executive MBA, which has ultimately led to my current success. I will be forever grateful for the support and generosity of the Aspire Scholarship benefactors, and indeed the Aspire community of scholars and alumni who are a constant support network and source of inspiration."

Romy Bolger, MSc Food Business Strategy 2019: “The Aspire Scholarship meant the difference between swamping myself with student debt and completing my studies at Smurfit in financial comfort. Outside of the monetary reward, the Aspire Scholarship gave me a boost of self-confidence that I had the potential to make a difference in my chosen industry.”

Dr David Tansey, Executive MBA, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital: “The Aspire Scholarship provided me with the opportunity to study a part-time Executive MBA at UCD Smurfit School while continuing to work as a doctor with the HSE. As the cost of healthcare delivery spirals upwards and doctors are being challenged to do more with fewer resources, it is essential that the consultants of tomorrow have the business prowess to run effective and cost-efficient departments and hospitals in addition to our clinical work. I will be forever grateful to the ASPIRE programme for this opportunity and I aim to repay their generosity by using my new MBA skills to revolutionise healthcare delivery in Ireland for the benefit of all patients and Irish society as a whole."

Aoife Kiernan, MSc International Business, 2017, Aspire Alumni President: “The Aspire Scholarship Programme offers more than any scholarship recipient could envisage. While providing an exceptional benefaction towards tuition fees, Aspire further enables recipients through their progression into the Aspire alumni community. This community consists of over one hundred talented and driven members leading in multiple industries around the globe. The Aspire alumni support new members in the academic, business and social facets of their development enabled through multi-disciplinary backgrounds ranging from private, limited companies to senior leadership roles in global organisations.”

Grace Bergin, Full-Time MBA student 2020: “As well as easing financial pressure, the Aspire Scholarship gave me the opportunity to connect with a wonderful network of UCD Smurfit School students and alumni. Through several Aspire community events during the year, we have the opportunity to get to know the scholars, past and present, and forge lasting friendships.”

Ciarán Reilly, Executive MBA 2016, Pricing Analyst at Avolon: “I was very motivated to undertake an MBA at a top international Business School as I felt it would open up a range of exciting new career prospects for me. The Aspire Scholarship Programme not only allowed me to undertake the Smurfit MBA by providing me with some financial assistance, it also presented a series of unexpected opportunities beyond the MBA itself. In addition to helping me change my career direction, Aspire has introduced me to a unique and diverse alumni network of individuals who are willing to support and help each other in advancing their careers and other business ventures. I am very grateful to have been awarded the scholarship and would recommend that aspiring MSc and MBA candidates consider applying for this year’s programme”.

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 includes a Chairperson, representatives from UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School and a representative of 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 emailing 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 cannot be added together or combined.

Candidates will be awarded the higher amount. Candidates cannot 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.

If candidates are in receipt of a SUSI grant they are not eligible to receive a scholarship .

UCD Smurfit School Scholarships are not applicable to courses in UCD Smurfit Executive Development, UCD Belfield campus or programmes run in conjunction with UCD Belfield including the MSc in Biotechnology and Business, MSc in Biotherapeutics and Business and MSc in International Law and Business.

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