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Known for it’s educational excellence it’s not hard to see why thousands of students flock to Ireland each year. Find out more about Irish universities, tuition fees and visas

You’ll be able to choose from over 5,000 internationally-recognised qualifications, so you’re bound to find a course that suits you. Should you choose to stay after graduation, you’ll have plenty of opportunities as Ireland is home to an impressive number of international companies, with organisations such as Google, Dell, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, GSK and Pfizer all having headquarters in the country.

What’s more the Emerald Isle provides a safe and friendly place to study. Its traditional Gaelic culture and rich history in the arts, coupled with coastal landscapes, unspoiled countryside and metropolitan cities offer endless leisure opportunities.

Irish universities

Higher education in Ireland is provided by a range of institutions, including seven universities, seven Colleges of Education and 14 Institutes of Technology.

Ireland’s seven universities are state funded and include:

  • Dublin City University (DCU)
  • National University of Ireland, Galway
  • National University of Ireland, Maynooth
  • Trinity College, Dublin
  • University College Cork
  • University College Dublin
  • University of Limerick.

Degree courses in Ireland

Irish universities offer a range of undergraduate programmes, which can be studied both full and part time. Full-time courses last three years.

Entry requirements vary between institutions and from course to course so check with your chosen university before applying. You’ll usually need to have completed upper secondary education, possess a valid school leaver’s certificate and be able to prove your proficiency in English.

If you are a UK or EU student you will apply for all undergraduate courses through the Central Applications Office (CAO). Non-EU or international students will need to apply directly to their chosen institution, either online or by downloading an application form and sending it through the post.

To search for undergraduate courses visit Education in Ireland – What can I study?

Masters degrees

Irish Masters follow a similar structure to those in the UK and usually take one year to complete. Some research Masters may take two years. You’ll work through modular units of study, completing any necessary assessments, before embarking on a dissertation in your final year.

Entry requirements differ between institutions and courses; however most programmes require a 2:2 undergraduate degree in a related discipline as a minimum.

The majority of postgraduate courses in Ireland are taught in English, so if this isn’t your first language you will need to provide evidence of your proficiency.

Make sure that you understand the entry requirements for the course that interests you before applying. Contact the university to clarify if necessary.

To search for postgraduate courses visit Education in Ireland – What can I study?


Irish Doctoral degrees usually last three or four years full time and you can study both ‘traditional’ and ‘structured’ programmes. The structured PhD has all the same academic components of a traditional PhD but provides an additional level of support by incorporating an organised programme of training and evaluation.

The majority of PhDs are taken at universities, but high-quality programmes are also on offer at Institutes of Technology.

You’ll need an upper class (2:1) Masters in a relevant subject to gain entry onto a Doctoral programme.

Course fees

Tuition fees vary widely for both undergraduate and postgraduate courses. In the majority of cases the cost will depend on your course, your institution and whether you’re classed as a UK, EU or non-EU student. At both study levels fees for international students are considerably higher.

The country operates a Free Fees Initiative for undergraduate study, whereby EU/European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss students attending publically-funded courses do not have to pay tuition fees. If you qualify for the scheme you’ll only need to pay a registration fee of around €3,000. For more information on free undergraduate fees see Citizens information – Third level student fees and charges.

Postgraduate course fees in Ireland are set each year so for accurate, up to date figures check your chosen university’s website. As a rough guide Masters students in Ireland can expect to pay anything between €6,000 and €10,000 for a postgraduate course. Some programmes, mainly business or medicine, will be more expensive.

Funding to study in Ireland

Financial support may be available from your chosen university in the form of scholarships and bursaries. To look for scholarships and check eligibility criteria, visit individual university websites.

Financial awards are also provided by the government of Ireland and other organisations. For a list of available scholarships see Education in Ireland – Scholarships.

The Irish Student Grant Scheme is the main source of financial help for undergraduate students. It is split into two parts: maintenance and fee grants. Maintenance grants go towards students’ general living costs and fee grants are designed to cover students’ tuition fees, cost of field trips or student contribution. In order to get a student grant you must be a national of an EEA member state or Switzerland or have immigration status or leave to remain. Postgraduates may get financial assistance under the Student Grant Scheme, with the cost of tuition fees for approved postgraduate courses in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Postgraduate students may either:

  • receive a new flat rate fee contribution of €2,000, if they pass the fee contribution means test.
  • get all their tuition fees paid (up to €6,270), if they meet the qualifying conditions for the special rate of grant for disadvantaged students.

This kind of funding can be prone to change. To check what assistance you’re entitled to, visit Citizens Information – Student Grant Scheme or Student Finance Ireland.

If you are an EU student you may also be eligible for postgraduate loans in Northern Ireland.

Non-EU/European Economic Area (EEA) students are ineligible for Student Grant Scheme and postgraduate loan funding.

Student visas

If you are a student from the UK, EU, EEA or Switzerland you do not need a visa to study in Ireland. A full list of countries exempt from needing a visa can be found at Citizens Information – Visa Requirements for Entering Ireland. If your home country is not on this list you will need a study visa.

This visa information is still valid following the UK’s decision to leave the EU and will be updated if changes occur.

If you do need a visa to study in the country you should apply for this online at the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS). If your course will take less than three months to complete you should apply for a ‘C study visa’. If your course lasts longer than three months, you should apply for a ‘D study visa’.

You will need to submit the following documents with your visa application:

  • a letter of acceptance from a recognised school, college or university confirming that you have been accepted onto a full-time course
  • evidence of your academic and English language ability
  • confirmation that course fees have been paid in full
  • proof that you have sufficient funds (usually €7,000) to support yourself during your stay
  • evidence that you or a sponsor have access to at least €7,000 for each subsequent year of your studies
  • verification of private medical insurance
  • an explanation of any gaps in your educational history
  • confirmation you intend to return to your home country after leaving Ireland.

You will also need to provide two colour passport photographs, your current passport and a signed letter of application including your full contact details.

If you’re a non-EU student you will need to register with the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) upon arrival if your period of study will last more than 90 days.

Visa application fees are €60 for a single journey visa and €100 for a multiple journey visa. Aim to apply for your visa as early as possible – the standard processing time is eight weeks but this can increase during busy periods.

Application Process

Postgraduate courses are generally oversubscribed and competition for a place on popular programmes is fierce. Each institution will also have its own application procedures and deadlines so to increase your chances make sure you thoroughly research your course and apply in advance.

In most cases you’ll apply directly to the international office of your chosen institution, either online or through the post. The application process usually involves the completion of an application form/personal statement, the submission of transcripts of your previous results and a postgraduate interview.

However, a handful of Irish institutions use the Postgraduate Applications Centre (PAC) to process Masters and PhD applications. Similar to the Universities and Colleges Admission Service (UCAS) in the UK, you submit your application online. PAC charges a non-refundable processing fee of €50. To see if your university utilises PAC visit their website.

Language requirements

All postgraduate courses in Ireland are taught in English so you must be fluent in the language.

If English is not your first language you will need to pass an approved language test before registering for your course.

Approved tests include:

  • Cambridge Proficiency
  • Cambridge Advanced
  • PTE Academic
  • TOEFL.

For a full list of approved language tests see Education in Ireland – Postgraduate courses.

You may be able to take English courses at your university, but if these are not available there are a number of private English language colleges around the country.

If you want to embark on a journey and start your higher education in a foreign country that offers you rich city life and beautiful nature, then Ireland is the perfect place for you to study abroad. Ireland offers everything from some of the top universities in the world to beautiful scenery, rich history and access to the English language. Irish schools offer numerous programs starting from short-term courses to full-fledged degree programs in a wide range of subjects.

The Education System Is Excellent

If you are unsure if an Irish university will have the program you are looking for, don’t worry.Universities in Ireland offer degree programs in every possible discipline you can think of. If you want to take advantage of programs in which the country excels on a global scale, then pharmaceuticals, chemistry and technology are the fields to pursue. However long you pursue your education there, you are likely to find your credits will transfer to many other universities around the world, possibly even in your home country, where you can finish your degree.

 There Are Work Opportunities for Students

For many students, earning money while studying abroad is very important. In Ireland, the government allows students to apply for a green card, also known as a work permit. Many universities also provide internship opportunities to help students acquire practical experience in their field of study. There is also a variety of study abroad loans to help international students finance their education in Ireland. If the prospect of working does not appeal to you, you may be able to apply for a scholarship for study abroad in Ireland. For the best results, you will want to research financial aid options before applying to a particular program.

 Chance To Expand Your Experience and Global Awareness

Study abroad puts students in a situation where they learn about themselves and about the world. When you study abroad in Ireland, you put yourself in the middle of a new culture and new environment. You gain new experiences you cannot get anywhere else. This is a time in your life that you will likely never forget, and it will probably shape the person you become in the future.

 It Looks Great on a CV and Impresses Employers

If there is one thing that employers look for in a CV, it is life experience and skills. Studying abroad shows a willingness to learn and grow. It helps you open your mind to new ideas and work with others. You can also meet all kinds of global contacts that will expand your professional network while you study abroad. Students who study abroad tend to be more independent and have excellent time management skills as well. Ultimately, a study abroad experience is only likely to work in your favor when it comes to job applications.


Ireland is known as the ‘Land of Saints and Scholars’. Ireland’s reputation for high-quality education has made the nation a frontrunner in the education sector. The country’s long and acclaimed tradition of excellence in providing high-quality education has got recognition from the world.  Historically, Ireland has been one of the eminent seats of education in Europe. It retains the reputation till date with successive modern governments attaching equal regard and importance to education.


  1. Benefit from education in world-class universities
    The Irish education system is considered to be one of the best in the world. The academic quality assurance systems of Ireland are highly regarded and sophisticated, which has helped it to consistently secure a position in the top 20 of the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook. The Irish system focuses hugely on the heuristic methodology rather than the pedagogy intensive method of education.
  2. High-quality research 
    Ireland invests 782 million annually in research in their higher education institutions. As a result, Irish higher-education institutions now conduct leading research in at least 19 fields, spanning natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities.
  3. Close educational links with both UK and the US 
    Ireland has strong links with both the UK and the US. Higher educational institutions in Ireland permit credit transfer provision to many universities and colleges in the UK and the US. It increases the opportunities for students to continue their education in these countries.
  4. Home to many of the world’s leading companies 
    Globally, Ireland is the second most attractive country for FDI after Singapore. Apart from tech giants like Google, Facebook, IBM, Apple, and Twitter, 9 of the world’s top 10 pharmaceutical companies have their main office for European operations in Ireland. This means there is no shortage of jobs for students who are studying in Ireland.
  5. Education and stay is affordable 
    Ireland is one of those study destinations which provide high-quality education with affordable fee structure inclusive of tuition, housing, insurance, and various cultural activities and educational tours. Tuition rates, living costs, and other recurring costs are largely lesser than those in the US and the UK.
  6. Plenty of scholarships 
    Irish government along with several institutions and international organizations offer many scholarships and fellowships to international students, depending on their field of study and the program they plan to pursue.
  7. Safe country with friendly people 
    Ireland has the reputation of being a safe and welcoming country to live and study. The Global Peace Index ranked Ireland as the 12th “most peaceful country” in 2009 and 2013. The leading travel site Lonely Planet voted it as the friendliest country in the world in 2008 and 2010. Irish people are renowned for their friendliness.
  8. Ireland is a cultural hotspot 
    Students are sure to have the time of their life while studying in Ireland. The island has produced four Nobel Laureates in Literature; surprisingly, James Joyce, the country’s most famous literary icon never won the Noble. The streets of Dublin are steeped in art and literature. Students can chat with the locals in countless taverns, visit the museums and art galleries dotting the cities, attend storytelling events, learn and play traditional Irish sports, and soak in the rich musical culture on display in countryside festivals all year long.


Higher education in Ireland consists of universities, institutes of technology, colleges of education, and specialist colleges. Side by side with technology courses, the institutes of technology cover a wide range of vocational programs in subjects including hospitality, healthcare, media, textiles, etc. Specialist colleges on the other hand offer courses in a single subject area. However, overseas education in Ireland attracts a major chunk of Indian students in literature, technology, communications, history, and environmental studies.

There are four degree-awarding bodies: The National University of Ireland (UCD, UCC, DCU, and Maynooth), Dublin University, Dublin City University and the University of Limerick. Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) is the awarding body for third-level educational institutions outside of the university sector

Non-university level

  • Two-year Certificate
  • Three-year Diploma

University level 

First stage

  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • Bachelor’s Degree (Honors)
  • BA (Special) Degree
  • Higher Diploma

Second stage

  • Master’s Degree
  • Post-graduate Diploma

Third stage

  • Doctorate

Fourth stage

  • Higher Doctorate


The general criteria to get admission in Ireland Universities are mentioned below:

English Requirement

  • A minimum score of 6.5 in IELTS score for UG and 6.5 or above for PG programs
  •  PTE Academic scores: 51-58 for UG and 59-64 for PG
  •  Internet-based TOEFL (iBT) a minimum score of 90


  •  A minimum of 12 years of elementary and secondary education
  • Minimum aggregate marks of 65% in 12th grade
  • Mathematics in class XII (a prerequisite for some sciences and technology courses).
  • Minimum required IELTS/PTE Academic scores.


  • For Masters in Ireland, most universities require a qualification equivalent to the Irish bachelor’s degree, which requires 16 years of formal education. It would mean another year of education after Indian bachelors or a four-year bachelor’s degree course like B.E., B.Tech. or other such courses
  • First-class in undergraduate level degree
  • Mathematics in-class XII (a prerequisite for some sciences and technology courses)
  • Minimum required IELTS/PTE Academic scores
  • Relevant work experience (some universities require this for courses like MBA)


The Irish are known to be fun-loving, warm and welcoming people.

Safety for International students in Ireland

Ireland is known as one of the friendliest and safest countries in the world. All universities have designated staff members to whom any international students can consult for help and support whenever required. The country has the Irish Tourist Assistance Service (ITAS) provide free help and practical support to foreigners who are victims of crime.

Students can also directly contact ITAS on 1890 365 700 or send an email to


Students will require a student visa if they wish to stay in Ireland for more than 3 months. They must complete the following requirements to apply:

  • A letter of acceptance from an Irish educational institution, confirming students’ enrolment in a course of full-time education, involving a minimum of 15 hours of organized daytime tuition each week
  • A duly completed and signed the application form, with two passport-size photographs. Students will have to pay a non-refundable visa application fee
  • Evidence of scholarship or payment of course fees
  • English language certificate, except for cases where the applicant is going for an English language course
  • Student needs to show sufficient funds to support their stay in Ireland for a year. Immediate access to at least €7,000 in the applicant’s bank account is required
  • Proof of sufficient funds for the whole course of your studies. This is the same amount for each subsequent year
  • Private medical insurance.

A passport is valid for at least 12 months after your proposed date of arrival in Ireland


Under Ireland’s Third Level Graduate Scheme, students who have studied in Ireland and completed a recognized degree, such as bachelor’s degree, post-graduate diploma, master’s or an MBA from an Irish higher education institutions may remain and work in the country after their studies. They can work for up to 40 hours per week, and apply for a further work permit or a green card during this period.​












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