Equality Studies

By Aedín Dunne - Last update

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Are you interested in exploring global equality, social justice and social inclusion? Do you have a critical mind and want to learn more about how to be inclusive, accepting and ensuring equality? The opportunity is right here. 

What is Equality Studies?

Equality Studies looks at the equal rights and opportunities of people in society as well as the issues that are faced by those who do not have equality. Studying equality helps us to understand how, historically, certain groups of people with protected characteristics such as sex, race, disability and sexual orientation have expereinced discrimination. 

What 3rd level courses are available?

Universities and college in Ireland are offering courses in the following subject areas:

  • English and Equality Studies
  • Campaigning for Human Rights and Equality (INHEF-CHRE)
  • Equality Studies (Online Certificate) 

Studying Equality Studies in college

There are few courses in this area of study. The undergraduate course is 4 years in length while Maynooth’s online certificate course is delivered part time over 100 hours throughout 1 year. These courses can be used as a strong stepping stone to a few different career options which we will discuss later. 

To look at an example, if you are studying English and Equality Studies, your first year of Equality Studies will be your foundation year. You will gain a strong understanding of the basics surrounding equality studies. You may cover areas such as Critical Theory, Modern English, Urban Literature, Social Theory and Employment Law among other areas. 

As your course continues, you will look more in depth at certain areas and in greater detail. In your second and third year, you may look at areas from Political Economy and Globalisation and Inclusion & Society to European & Irish Equality Law, Modernism and much more. 

Some courses may provide the opportunity to take work placement in your final year while also expanding on your current skills and knowledge in the area. Specific course content will differ depending on the exact course you choose but the modules mentioned above will give you an idea of what to expect. 

Career Options

There are a few different directions you could take in this area. Quite a few people may study a course or gain a certificate in a course in the area of Equality Studies if they plan to go on and work in management roles in future. An option would be to continue your study at postgraduate level to specialise in an area of your interest where you can apply your learning, skills and knowledge. 

Careers where Equality Studies are important and would be very relevant are listed below to give you an idea of what you could do. There is also the option of going into the research area and lecturing/teaching in Universities and colleges. 

Skills and qualities that are important in this area include excellent communication skills, ability to work well with others, a good listener, understanding, empathetic, open minded, a critical thinker, research skills, an analytical mind and the ability to understand complex situations. 

Related Jobs

  • Management in businesses/companies etc
  • HR Manager 
  • Learning & Development Officer/Manager 
  • Teacher
  • Investigative Journalist
  • Politician
  • Volunteer Coordinator
  • Anti-Discrimination Solicitor/Lawyer
  • Filmmaker/Documentary maker

Further Study

Visit postgrad.ie for more information.


Different courses and different colleges will have different entry requirements. It’s always safest to check with the individual higher education institution which is available on their websites. As a general rule Leaving Cert students should have a minimum of six subjects which should

include: Two H5 (Higher Level) grades and Four O6 (Ordinary Level) grades or four H7 (Higher Level) grades. Subjects must include Mathematics, Irish or another language, and English. 

PLC courses will accept Leaving Certificate results. Specific courses may have their own requirements. For example, some courses may have a certain interview process or expect a portfolio of sorts so it is always important to look into these things in depth. 

The courses for this area are quite limited. The only CAO points required were to study English and Equality Studies in the Institute of Art, Design and Technology Dun Laoghaire which required 276 points. 

Where can I study?

For other courses in the area you would like to explore, you can do so here.

Did you know?

  • In 1918, women who were over the age of 30 with a qualification or in university constituencies were allowed to vote in Ireland. 
  • Same sex marriage ebcame legally recognised in Ireland November 16, 2015. 
  • A referendum is a general vote by the electorate on a single political question which has been referred to them for a direct decision. 



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Understanding equality  

Aedín Dunne

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