So, what have MSU been doing for me?

We have been working on the issue of exams for the past few months as we knew this would be an important issue to students. Particularly your VP Education, Niall, has been very committed to this.

  • In April 2021 MSU proposed, and successfully passed, a policy calling for a phased return to on campus examinations at the Union of Students in Ireland’s National Congress. Maynooth Students’ Union stands strongly behind this call. 
  • In August 2021 we published a position paper on the ‘Return to Campus’ in which we took on board the feedback from our members which called on Maynooth University and St. Patrick’s Pontifical University to provide students with the opportunity to avail of an open book option, a virtual option, or gradually reintroduce traditional examinations in a blended sense. 
  • Over the past few weeks MSU has been working closely with Maynooth University during this very difficult and ever-changing environment. During this time an MSU petition seeking support to move exams online received over 4,000 responses from MSU's members. We used this petition to put pressure on the University to move all exams online. This is something that we continue to do.  

What was the result? 

It has come to our attention that our ‘Return to Campus’ position paper helped to inform the Undergraduate Board of St. Patrick’s Pontifical University at the time when they made the decision to move all examinations online. 

Subsequently, 95% of Maynooth University exams were moved online.   

Why not 100% of exams? 

5% of the exams due to take place on campus were for essential reasons that would preserve academic integrity and/or ensure that these courses would meet the requirements set out by accrediting bodies.   

This is something that is outside the control of the University as it is set by external bodies, the HEA and the government guidance. As of right now the Government policy is that education is deemed 'essential' and therefore any education activity has the right to go ahead (e.g. Primary & 2nd level school, 3rd level lectures and indeed exams). So, in many ways the University were well within their rights to place 100% of exams on campus, but, because of our lobbying effort that has been hugely reduced to just 5%.  

Remember: not all colleges in Ireland are the same.

You may have seen that some IT's and Technical Universities have gone 100% online - that is because they are regulated under a different body: the THEA 'Technological Higher Education Authority' and they gave the go ahead for all of those institutions to move online. The HEA 'Higher Education Authority', to which MU must answer to, has not given that go ahead and that is why MU as well as other colleges like NUIG and UCC are in a similar, if not worse, situation than us. We have lobbied the HEA to no avail.  

What if I do not want to, or cannot, sit my examination in January? 

Following extensive lobbying on Maynooth Students’ Union’s part, Maynooth University have put a number of mitigation measures in place for the January 2022 examination period. These are: 

If you have only ONLINE examinations e.g. you are not being asked to come to campus to sit an examination this January: 

  • You will have the option to either sit your examination now or wait until the August supplemental repeat examinations.  

  • If you decide to sit your online examination now, you will have the opportunity to sit an August supplemental repeat examination as has been the case with previous years. This means you will have two opportunities to pass that examination.  

If you have examinations ON CAMPUS e.g. you have one, some or all of your examinations on the Maynooth University campus this January: 

  • You may have a mix of online and on campus examinations. Any examinations conducted online will have the mitigation policies listed above applied. 

  • For examinations scheduled to take place on campus, you will have the opportunity to sit the examination in January as scheduled, defer it to a semester 2 date in either February or March or wait until the August supplemental repeat examination. 

  • You can either take your examination now in January or defer it until a semester 2 date, but you cannot do both. 

  • Regardless of whether you decide to sit your examination in January or a semester 2 date, you will still have the opportunity to sit the August supplemental repeat examination. Again, this means you will have two opportunities to pass that examination. 


Feel free to get in touch! You can contact your VP Education, Niall Daly here:

Need other support?

Check out our 'Exams Supports' page on the MSU website HERE