A trend that began a number of years ago but is occurring more commonly this year is the introduction of five-year courses that combine bachelor and master's awards.
For instance, this year, this type of course has been introduced to Pharmacy in UCC. While for the majority of these courses there is an option for students to exit after four years with an honours degree, students must consider that if they take this option they may not be fully qualified for registration with their professional organisation and therefore to work in their intended area.
In these programmes the first four years of the programme are generally covered by the Government's "free fees" scheme, however the final year is considered a postgraduate year and therefore is liable for fees. Such fees can be as high as €7,500 in the case of Pharmacy.
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Source: Irish Independent 13/11/14