And Mr Boyle, 51, who has released an album and written a book on his party’s ill-fated role in the previous government, has also revealed he is now writing a “rom-com” inspired by his time in politics.
Mr Boyle, who played a key role negotiating the Green Party’s coalition with Fianna Fáil, and in the party’s decision to pull out of government in Feb 2011, will attend his first lecture today as he embarks on a year-long master’s in government and public policy.
He tweeted a photograph of his new student ID card and said: “This is who I am now.
“I am there to listen and to absorb. I believe you should never have a closed mind and that you should always be open to learning.”
The course explores the theory behind the Irish political system, examines policy-making structures and processes at local, national and EU level, and places it in a global context.
Mr Boyle said his time in politics — he was a city councillor from 1991 before being elected a TD for Cork South-Central from 2002 to 2007, and then sitting in the Seanad from 2007 to 2011 — will give him a unique insight.
However, he said the practice of politics does not always reflect the theory in what he described as an “often perverse system”.
“I am grateful for our party’s time in government. It was a time of enormous flux in Irish history.
“We came out of a period of 70 years of underachievement, followed by 10-years of exuberance and now we’re living through the hangover.
“If the Celtic Tiger taught us anything, it was that the Irish could do great things.
“Hopefully, this course will help me better see where things went wrong, and I hope to offer an analysis on how we can do things better in the future.”
He confirmed his hope to re-enter professional political life by offering himself as a Green Party candidate in the 2014 local elections.
“I am a political animal and enjoyed the opportunity to serve in government,” he said.
“I will always have an opinion and express it on how to better improve public services.
“I want to reestablish a Green Party presence in Cork and while my candidacy in the local elections will require ratification by the party, I am happy to stand.”
However, he said he has no long-term plan to pursue higher political office.
Mr Boyle graduated from the former Cork Regional Technical College with a diploma in community and child care.
Following the collapse of the last government, he recorded an album called Third Adolescence, played a number of live shows, and wrote Without Power Or Glory — The Greens In Government.
He was recently appointed to the board of the Green Foundation Ireland, and is actively supporting the Democracy Matters movement in the campaign for a no vote on the abolition of the Seanad.