NI Assembly Banner

Homepage > Corporate Information > Assembly Commission

This Week at the Assembly

The Work of the Assembly

Your MLAs


Media Centre

General Information

Corporate Information

Contact Us

26 March 2009


An innovative post-graduate bursary programme, leading to a Masters in Legislative Studies and Practice, has been developed by the Northern Ireland Assembly, in conjunction with Queen’s University Belfast. Up to ten bursaries per year will be funded by the Northern Ireland Assembly with the first intake in October of this year .

The new programme, the pilot of which will be launched on 26 th March 2009, is the first Masters of its kind in Ireland or the United Kingdom, and will benefit those wanting to play their part in future political life, whether as MLAs or public servants. The programme will provide participants with opportunity to gain experience in the Assembly, working in core business of the Assembly.

Speaking in advance of the launch, the Speaker of the Assembly, Mr William Hay MLA said, “This is a fantastic opportunity for both the students and the Assembly. The Assembly is committed to giving young people an understanding of the way a legislature works.

“Our society can only benefit if young people have an insight into the way that democracy works. This programme will not only help the participants to gain such understanding, it will also provide them with the tools to participate more fully in the political sphere. It will also give them experiences that will inform their future careers.

“We are very pleased that we have been able to pilot this programme with Queen’s University Belfast.”

Also speaking at the launch was Vice Chancellor of Queen’s, Professor Peter Gregson who said, “This innovative programme breaks new ground in the development of the curriculum at Queen’s. It will provide the opportunity for tomorrow’s leaders to develop their knowledge of practical politics in a legislative setting, equipping them with a set of analytical, intellectual, organizational and communication skills that will better equip them for the job market.

“The MA will marry the ‘chalk board’ study of politics with the ‘chalk face’ of real world politics.

“I would like to thank the Northern Ireland Assembly and the Speaker for entering into this partnership which is unique in both the UK and Ireland. It is a tangible expression of their new engagement and outreach strategy.”
Notes to Editors

1. The Assembly programme seeks to:

  • Develop students’ knowledge of the historical and political contexts—regional, national and European—in which the Assembly operates;
  • Develop a detailed understanding among students of legislative practice through work-based learning in the Northern Ireland Assembly;
  • Develop students’ analytical, communication and research skills.

2. The structure of the programme is: three months spent in three of the core Assembly business areas, an original piece of research (subject to be agreed with the Assembly) and academic modules to be completed at QUB.

3. At the end of the programme, students will have:

  • An expansive understanding of the workings of the Assembly as a legislative body;
  • A detailed understanding of the structure of government in Northern Ireland;
  • An appreciation of the history of and principal debates and issues in Northern Irish politics; and
  • An understanding of the European political context in which national and regional governments operates.

4. Applicants will be required to have a 2.1 (or equivalent) Honours degree at undergraduate level in, as appropriate: politics, European studies, international studies, philosophy or a cognate subject area.

Media enquiries regarding the Assembly to: Media enquiries regarding Queen’s University Belfast to:

Debra Savage
Assembly Press Office

Tel: 028 9052 1405
Mobile : 07920 86 4221

Anne-Marie Watson
QUB Press Office
Tel: 028 9097 5320
Mobile : 07814 415451


Contact Us           Jobs            Sitemap            Links           Search            RSS Feeds