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TCD to keep selling Masters

TRINITY College has no intention of ending the "ancient process" of selling Masters in Arts degrees for almost ?500 to its arts graduates.

The MA can be purchased by holders of the BA.

But they have to wait three years after their BA as an indication of their 'maturity'. No study is needed.

Buying the Masters entitles graduates to take part in a second conferring ceremony - still referred to in Trinity as 'commencements'.

Despite the social cachet of having an MA few bother to pay for the honour.

Last year about 160 holders of BA degrees bought their Masters. Normally around 2,800 people graduate with BAs from Trinity.

A University spokesperson said a similar practice of awarding MAs occurred in both Oxford and Cambridge and was well-known in academic circles.

"It is certainly not the equivalent of the MPhil or MLitt, for example," she said.

"When making appointments to academic posts, the University would not regard the MA as a postgraduate qualification."

The degree of Masters in Arts is not in fact included in the University of Dublin Calendar Part II, which is devoted to Graduate Studies.

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The BA degree in Trinity takes four years, compared with three years in UCD and the other universities.

The spokesperson said there were no plans to change the situation. She added that "this situation is quite different from that which pertains in other Irish universities, where the MA is awarded after the candidate has successfully completed a prescribed course of study over one or two years and in many cases has passed an examination."

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