Sinead Lynch

Profile picture of Sinead Lynch and her daughter Rhiannon Lynch

Studying online was the ideal format for Sinead as she took on a Pscyhology Major at DCU while also caring for her daughter Rhiannon.


Sinead Lynch had long dreamt of studying psychology but the obstacles of caring for a daughter with a long-term illness coupled with her own disability seemed to stand in the way. But when a friend pointed her in the direction of DCU School of Psychology’s online BA Humanities (Psychology Major) Sinead told herself, “Yes, this is for me!”

Sinead, from Loughrea, Co Galway, suffers from chronic migraine, which often means two or three days of constant and severe pain. The online format gave Sinead the flexibility she needed to study at her own pace. 

She admits, however, that she was nervous at the start. “I'd never done online learning before and I didn't really know what to expect,” she says. 

Her anxieties quickly vanished as she settled into student life, immersing herself in psychology and her second subject, philosophy. “There was so much guidance in the programme and so much help and support that it really just made it just so easy.”

One of the main things that impressed her was the quality of her online course. “I found it brilliant, and the same lecturers who teach on the psychology course and in the philosophy one are also teaching the in-person one as well,” she says. “Sometimes you would get the impression that online isn't as good as in-person. People see it as lesser but that's clearly not the case in DCU.” 

As a self-proclaimed extrovert, one thing Sinead did miss was the social aspect of college life. In her second year, she set about changing that and set up several Whatsapp groups where online students could chat informally. 

She then founded the Connected Society, which for the first time, provided a space for DCU’s online students to meet for social events and activities including summer and Christmas parties.

On the academic front, Sinead developed a growing interest in exploring the ways in which people with disabilities navigate and manage their Higher Education studies. 

She was a member of a working group organised by the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) and the Association of Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD), which advises policymakers on the student experience. Sinead was glad to be able to bring her experience of being an online student with a disability to the conversation. She feels this is vital because “what I might need as an online student with a disability is going to be different to the traditional 19 or 20-year-old in-person student with a disability.”

During her degree, Sinead had an ever-increasing interest in how psychological differences affect people in online education. Having completed her Bachelor’s degree, she is now studying this area for a PhD. “I really love having the ability to explore this area that I'm so interested in,” she says. 

Reflecting on her educational journey so far, Sinead has become a true ambassador for the advantages of online education. “It's really important that people realise that online education is so useful and so helpful in so many different ways. She points out that online and in-person students at DCU are treated the same. “They don't see any difference.”

DCU Prospectus - Go back to Humanities (Psychology Major)