Academic Programs

Academic Programs

Irish Studies Minor

Proposal for a New Interdisciplinary Minor in Irish Studies 

Plans are underway to offer students at UMass Lowell a new interdisciplinary minor in Irish Studies. The plan is currently pending approval, but if successful, the minor in Irish Studies will provide students with an opportunity to explore various facets of Irish culture as well as the experiences and legacy of the Irish Diaspora.  Drawing on courses in literature, history, politics, economics, art, and film studies, the minor invites students to consider the relationship between Ireland and the traditions and development of Western Civilization; the role of Irish immigration in the U.S; and the Irish literary/cultural revival of the early 20th century and its influence on the political and civic upheavals that affected Ireland over the ensuing decades. 
Students who elect to complete this minor may be able to use course work from study abroad programs in Ireland to complement the offerings available through UMass Lowell. 

Irish Politics

Since 2010, UMass Lowell has offered a course in Irish Politics. 

For students of Politics, Ireland is perhaps one of the most fascinating examples of a territory that has undergone, and continues to undergo dramatic transformations in its governing structures, its passionate struggles for freedom, civil wars, colonial resistance and modern nationalism.

This class studies the political history of Ireland before and during its time as a part of the United Kingdom, through the partition of the island into two states, and up to the modern politics of both the Republic of Ireland and the British state of Northern Ireland. Students will examine the results of the 1998 "Good Friday Agreement". Then dissect and evaluate modern Irish institutions of government, in the Republic and in the North. Students will research the competing ideologies and present arguments supporting the parties and organizations that propound these ideologies, like Sinn Fein, the IRA, the Uster Unionist Party and Unionist paramilitaries in the North; the Fine Gael and Fianna Fail in the South.

American Studies

UMass Lowell offers and excellent course in American Studies that may appeal to Irish students interested in seeking greater knowledge of American history, politics, literature, music and the arts. 

Study Abroad

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to spend a semester studying abroad in the Emerald Isle?

Thanks to UMass Lowell’s special relationship with Irish Universities, now you can! You can spend a full semester or a three week summer program studying in Ireland or Northern Ireland. 

Check out the exciting opportunities that UMass Lowell students can take advantage of through the Center for Irish Partnerships: 

Summer Programs:

The International Summer School at Queen’s University Belfast
The International Summer School, at Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland, offers a three week program in late July and early August. You will study Irish history, politics, literature, music and culture with some of the top Professors in Ireland. You will tour historic sites, visit the Parliament and the North coast of the island. Upon completion of the course, you will receive three (3) UMass Lowell credits. The cost is approximately $2500* which includes accommodations in the Villages, Queen’s renowned student residences, all program costs and some of the tours. Flights and other travel costs are extra. For additional information please visit the Irish Studies Gateway website. 

Irish Cultural Studies Program at Innisfree International College Ireland
This is a two week program held at the beginning of June. The program includes classes on; Early Irish History, The Archaeological Heritage of Ireland, Irish History – Act of Union to Modern Ireland, Modern Irish Literature, Irish Culture and Traditions, Irish Art Through the Ages. Upon completion of the course, you will receive three (3) UMass Lowell credits. The cost is approximately $2900* which includes accommodations, all program costs excursions, all meal and books and supplies. Flights and other travel costs are extra. 

Full Semester Options:

Fall Semester Option
Spend the Fall term at Queen’s studying Irish politics, history, sociology and anthropology. A community internship may be added. The term runs from late September to mid-December. Earn 12-15 credits, stay in the student Village and see the island. Tuition and accommodations are approximately $10,000*. Food costs are extra. 

Spring Semester Option
For a very different academic experience, study in West Belfast’s St. Mary’s University. Located on the historic Falls Road, learn Irish history, politics and culture. As part of your studies, you will intern in the West Belfast community and explore first-hand the process of conflict resolution. The term begins in early January and runs until May. Estimated tuition and accommodations are approximately $3000*. Food and utility costs are extra. 

*Please note costs are subject to change.

Irish-American Heritage Archaeological Program:

The Irish-American Heritage Archaeological Program was established following the signing of an international partnership agreement between UMass Lowell and Queen’s University Belfast in March 2009. The objective is to enable students to gain a deeper understanding of the life of the Irish in Ireland before and after the Great Famine, and the role played by the Irish in the development of America during the 19th century. 
Harry Drawing
In 1822 a group of 30 Irish labourers led by Hugh Cummiskey arrived in the new industrial town of Lowell to assist with the excavation of the Pawtucket and Merrimack canals. By 1831 their numbers had swelled to over 400 and Kirk Boott, mill manager, had donated a plot of company land for a Catholic church – St. Patrick’s Church. This event marked the permanent settlement of the Irish in the town, with the area around the church becoming known as the “Irish Acre,” the “Paddy Camps” or “New Dublin”. 

The old church was constructed in what had been a shanty town, but the area was landscaped and changed when the old timber church was replaced in 1854 with a neo-Gothic stone church. From cartographic and pictorial evidence it would seem, however, that the area to the front of the church has remained unchanged since that time and remains in lawn. As such, it was decided that an archaeological excavation would be undertaken on the front lawn at St. Patrick’s Church to see what – if anything – might survive. 

Student Testimonials 

“This was an experience out of this world...or at least out of the country. Having the opportunity to experience archaeology with amazing and highly entertaining professionals, and learning what really lies in the ground beneath our feet really opened my eyes up to looking at the world in a different way. Seeing how the dig connected a story from Lowell to Northern Ireland showed me how amazing the discovery of history is, and how the smallest item is significant. As an engineering student, this was an adventure outside of my daily routine, and it was an experience full of wonderful people, learning, and traveling that I would not trade for anything else.”

-Marcelle Durrenberger, Irish-American Heritage Archaeological Program participant 2012

"This is one of the best experiences of my college career, participating in the Irish-American Archeological gave me real-world experience along with seeing history at my fingertips"

-Katherine Henckler, Irish-American Heritage Archaeological Program participant 2012

It was an absolutely amazing experience. It was two weeks I know I'll never forget and I would love to have the chance to do it all over again. Not only because the archaeological dig was so fascinating to me, but the people that we interacted with along the way were some of the nicest people I've ever met, and even though we were only with them for a total of 2 weeks during this experience, they've made a big impact on me nonetheless. The memories I've made with professionals in the field and the things I've learned while digging in the dirt are things that will stick with me forever.

-Ami Krawczyk, Irish-American Heritage Archaeological Program participant 2012

“I signed up for the International Summer School at Queen's because coming from Irish decent I never really knew or understood all the troubles that took place over there, and wanted a clearer understanding of it all. When asked what my favorite memory was, I would have to day that every single second I spent there was my favorite memory. I had the best experience of my life with what started out as complete strangers but some to this day are some of my best friends and they are from California, Texas, Oregon, etc., and I still talk to and see them whenever I can. We all meet up in New York City twice since we have been back in America.  Also the Irish are the nicest and kindest people on this planet, they made me feel at home there in every way, and they went out of their way to please everyone in the group. In short, it was the greatest experience of my life.”

- Mark Bresnihan, '11, Criminal Justice, Lexington, Mass. 

“I enrolled in a class called, "Problems of Modern Ireland" with Dr. Lipchitz, and I loved it! After that, I wanted to learn more about the history of Ireland and Northern Ireland and this program seemed like the best way to do that. The faculty at the Irish Studies Institute were excellent. The seminars were fantastic, the field trips outstanding! I loved everything about it: the accommodations, the city, the activities, meeting new friends, etc. It was an unforgettable academic experience! I highly recommend it! I'm so glad I was able to take part in the university's first group going!” 

- Maria Millett, '10, History major and Latin American Studies minor, Bradford, Mass.