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Ireland universities are often popular choices for undergraduate and postgraduate students worldwide. Today, the country has some of the most well-known and best-performing higher education institutions in the world.
But, the cost of study in Ireland can vary depending on your country of residence. Many students in the UK and European Union (EU) can apply for the free fees initiative. Through this scheme, the Department of Further and Higher Education pays course fees to the institution. Then, students pay a separate student contribution of €3,000 per year.
Students from other countries may have to fund their own courses or apply for a student loan. Currently, the cost of an undergraduate course in Ireland can range between €9,850 and €55,000, depending on the course.
In addition, fees differ depending on the level of study. For instance, the free fees initiative covers undergraduate course fees. But it does not cover postgraduate study.
Here, we provide an overview of the cost to study in Ireland. Also, we provide information about additional costs, such as living expenses and travel.
Ireland tuition fees
Before you apply to study in Ireland, you must check if you can receive the free fees initiative.
This funding is only available for students from certain countries and it only applies to full-time undergraduate courses.
Free fees criteria
To qualify for the free fees initiative, students must live in any EU, EEA, Swiss State, or United Kingdom country. Also, you must have lived in a qualifying country for at least three of five years before your course start date.
To fully qualify for the free fees initiative, you must check the accompanying terms and conditions.
- The fees are only available for students on full-time courses. Anyone looking for a part-time course will not qualify.
- All courses must last for a minimum of two years.
- free fees must be accepted by the institution you are applying to.
- The initiative is only available for students starting their first undergraduate course. It is not available for students looking for a second undergraduate degree. Also, students with a postgraduate degree will not be considered.
- It is not available for students repeating a year. However, this can be waived in exceptional conditions, like illness.
- Students can still receive funding if they have taken a break for at least five years from a qualifying course.
- Funds in the initiative do not cover fees for registration, exam costs and student services.
Although, some students may qualify for exceptional circumstances if they are not from a country in the regions above. Such circumstances for students include:
- You have official refugee status
- You are a family member of a refugee
- You have permission to remain
- You have Humanitarian Leave to Remain
- You qualify with certain permissions under the International Protection Act, 2015
Ireland institutions that accept free fees
A large number of higher education institutions in Ireland accept the free fees initiative. Below, we list the universities and colleges where free fees are accepted.
Atlantic Technological University
Dublin City University
National University of Ireland, Galway
Munster Technological University
South East Technological University
Trinity College Dublin
Technological University Dublin Technological University of the Shannon
University College Cork
University College Dublin
University of Limerick
Dundalk Institute of Technology
Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology
Coláiste Mhuire, Marino
Mary Immaculate College
St Angela College, Sligo
National College of Art and Design
National College of Ireland
Pontifical University of Maynooth
St Patrick College, Carlow
RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences
Even though course fees are paid if you qualify for the free fees initiative, you may still have to pay the €3,000 student contribution. However, this is a maximum amount and the fee varies depending on your chosen university or college.
This fee covers fees for registration, enrollment, exam entry and other services.
Because students outside of the EU, EEA, Swiss State, or the United Kingdom do not qualify for free fees, they have to pay the cost of an undergraduate course in full.
For the 2022/23 academic year, the general cost of studying at an Irish university are as follows:
- Business - €9,850 - €19,500
- Engineering - €9,850 - €25,500
- Science & Technology - €9,850 - €25,500
- Arts and Humanities - €9,850 - €19,500
- Medicine & Health Sciences - €39,500- €55,000
However, specific course fees vary between institutions so you should double-check the cost of your course with your university before applying.
Also, international students have various scholarship options when choosing to study in Ireland. These include:
- International Education Scholarships 2022 - A €10,000 grant to cover course fees and a full waiver of registration and service fees. This is available for a Bachelor, Masters or PhD degree.
- Irish Aid funded Fellowship Training Programme - Tanzanian residents are provided with a one year fellowship to study at Masters level at various Irish universities.
Furthermore, students applying for postgraduate degrees in Ireland will have to cover the cost of their course.
However, Student Universal Support Ireland does allocate additional funding and grants for some postgraduate students. To qualify students must meet the following criteria:
- Students must be an Irish, EU, EEA, UK or Swiss national. However, students with leave to remain will also be considered.
- Students living in these regions must have resided there for three of the last five years.
- Students can only apply if they are progressing in their academic level. For example, moving from undergraduate to Masters or Masters to PhD.
- Students' can qualify if their gross income is below a certain amount. This also depends on whether you are dependent on a guardian or carer, or if you are an independent student.
Grants and additional bursaries
Some students may also qualify for grants or further bursaries. Generally, students can apply for these grants and bursaries alongside the free fees initiative, or as a stand-alone bursary.
Also, most grants depend on the student circumstances, such as nationality, disability or income. The amount provided by each bursary is likely to vary depending on the organisation offering it.
Below, we list the different grants available for students applying for a higher education course in Ireland.
- Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science
- Scholarships for students with a disability
- Society of St Vincent de Paul Education and Training Bursary Fund
- UVERSITY Higher Education Scholarships for Adult Learners
- The Irish Refugee Education Fund
- North/South Postgraduate Scholarship Scheme
- Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship Scheme
- Enterprise Partnership Scheme
- The Naughton Scholarships
- Irish Taxation Institute Third Level Scholarship Programme
- Credit Union Plus Member Scholarships Scheme
- National University of Ireland Awards
- SIPTU Education and Development Support Scheme
- Financial institutions
Once you have secured a course place at an Irish university, you will have to cover additional fees whilst you are there. Below, we provide a guide to some of the additional costs that are likely to come up when you study in Ireland.
Living costs are likely to make up most of your spending when studying in Ireland. You will be responsible for funding visas, accommodation, food, some study materials and bills. Also, you will need to have money to fund airfares if you are travelling to and from Ireland to study.
On average, the cost of living for a student in Ireland ranges from €7,000 to €12,000 per year, depending on which university you go to.
As a result, it is important to budget and to plan ahead when planning your cost of studying and living in Ireland.
However, if you experience financial difficulties whilst studying in Ireland, you can apply for the Student Assistance Fund. This supports students with costs for books, bills, food, travel and medical costs.
Any part-time or full-time student that is enrolled on a level 6-10 higher education course can apply for a Student Assistance Fund.
1. What are the university fees for international students studying in Ireland?
The university fees for international students vary depending on the course and location of study. However, on average, the lowest cost for an undergraduate course in Ireland is €9,850. But, the upper amount students can pay is €55,000 for a specialist course like medicine.
2. What are the requirements for studying in Ireland?
Students wanting to study in Ireland will need to show proof of their educational background before joining a higher education course. This will vary depending on your course. But, students must also show proof that they can speak and understand English at an academic level.
3. Can I study in Ireland for free?
No, even though the free fees initiative and other scholarships are available, no course is completely free. Students have to pay for their student contributions and living costs, even if they qualify for free fees or another scholarship.