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Academic Learning Centre


In 1997, the Academic Learning Centre (ALC) was established with the aim of providing academic support to students of Mary Immaculate College (MIC).

The Academic Learning Centre offers the following services:

One-to-one Academic Support and Tutoring

Students are welcome to call to the ALC for one-to-one advice on aspects of learning at third level. The ALC team is available to advise on essay writing (independent and confidential advice is given on how to improve the structure and writing style of essays and essay planning), study skills, time management and exam techniques.

Subject-specific Support

The ALC offers subject-specific support in areas of critical need, namely Gaeilge and Mathematics.

Pre-exam Planning

The ALC offers help in planning individual study programmes, especially in the lead up to exams. This helps students make the most of their time and assist in future study planning.

The Academic Learning Centre Handbook

The Academic Learning Centre's comprehensive handbook includes chapters on study skills, academic reading, time-management, structuring essays, referencing academic essays (Harvard and Footnoting systems) and preparing for exams.

The ALC is also concerned with encouraging mature learners, whose educational experiences and opportunities in their earlier years may have been limited, to consider returning to education by promoting the various access routes available to them such as the Pre-University Programme (PUP). This programmes is delivered on a part-time basis to facilitate those who wish to sample university-level education but who are in employment, and/or have families and other care responsibilities. For further information please email the programmer coordinator, Dr Paul O'Brien,

MIC Limerick

  • A drop-in is available in semester time from 12pm to 2pm, Monday to Thursday in C3 (ground floor between TARA and the Foundation Building).
  • To schedule an appointment with the ALC, please email
  • To make an appointment for the Maths Support Unit, please email
  • To enquire about Gaeilge or IT support classes, please email

MIC Thurles

MIC Thurles

Academic Learning Centre


Dr Geraldine Brosnan

Director of Student Life
Academic Learning Centre
  • Phone: +353 61 204917
  • Email:
  • Location: 110

Dr James Binchy

Academic Learning Centre
  • Phone: +353 61 774717
  • Email:
  • Location: ALC, C1-C4

Rose O' Loughlin

Assistant Professor Academic Support
Academic Learning Centre
  • Email:

Dr Paul O'Brien

BA (UL) and PhD (UL)
Academic Learning Centre
  • Phone: +353 61 204568
  • Email:
  • Location: ALC, C1-C4

Foundation Studies

All First Year Liberal Arts (BA) students take the Foundation Studies course, which aims to equip students with basic literacy and computing skills.

Academic Writing and Research Skills
This course examines academic writing at university level where writing style, essay structure and referencing of sources are explored in a task-based approach. Research skills include: formulating research questions; sourcing material; searching databases; case studies; action research, and questionnaires.

Computer Skills
Introduction to computing on the College network; using the Windows environment; word-processing and spreadsheet skills. 

Quantitative and qualitative research; planning and research questions; ethical and related issues; effective reading strategies; literature review; online research; data collection techniques; documentary evidence; gathering and analysing qualitative and quantitative data.

Mature Students

Mary Immaculate College, and the Academic Learning Centre, is committed to improving access to higher education for adults. To qualify as a mature student, a person must be at least 23 years of age on 1 January of the year of registration.

Mature students wishing to apply for a degree programme in MIC must apply through the CAO system and then will be invited for an interview. In addition to the interview, such applicants may be required to take a short written test before admission. Mature students wishing to apply should note the closing date for receipt of completed applications.  

To find out more, see the programmes available to mature students here and the 'How to Apply' tab in each programme page has more detailed information.

The ALC offers the Pre-University Programme (PUP) to those who wish to continue their education. 

Pre-University Programme

The Pre-University Programme (PUP) is a 40 hour certificate programme, which is delivered in conjunction with Our Lady of Lourdes Community Services Group. The Pre-University Programme is delivered in the community and is aimed at adult learners from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds, over the age of 22, whose educational experiences and opportunities in their earlier years may have been limited, and who wish to continue their education, possibly with a view to going to third level.

It aims to create a progressive access pathway into university level education.

  • Provide a 'taster' of higher education
  • Develop the skills necessary for success at third level
  • Attract under-represented groups such as Travellers, unemployed, single parents, urban and rural disadvantage
  • Develop an alternative progression route to third level
  • Raise awareness of the supports offered to mature students at third level

The programme has two main components:

  • An academic subject
  • Academic Skills (Academic Writing and Information Technology)

Participants receive a Level 6 special purpose award from Mary Immaculate College.

There is a nominal cost to participants.

Pre-University Programme Coordinator
Dr Paul O'Brien
+353 61 204568
  • About
  • Staff
  • Foundation Studies
  • Mature Students
  • Pre-University Programme