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Study in Ireland

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University College Dublin is ranked in the top 1% of higher education institutions in the world. Dublin has also been named Conde Nast’s friendliest city in Europe. With facts like these it’s easy to see why people from around the globe come to study in Ireland. 

Beyond the bustling capital lies a land of remarkable history and breathtaking rugged landscapes. The culture is also renowned for its joviality and entertainment, known as ‘craic’ in Irish.

With a lively cultural scene and warm hospitality, Ireland offers a home away from home for those seeking to study abroad. As well as that it consistently ranks among the top 20 countries in the world for quality of life, peace, and human development.

Studying in Ireland for international students offers a diverse range of academic programs across colleges and universities throughout the country, making it the ideal destination to carve out your academic and personal future.

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Why study in Ireland?

Renowned for its warm and welcoming people, the country embraces international visitors with open arms. Irish locals are known for their love of good craic, with pubs and socialising being an integral part of their culture.

In addition to its lively social scene, Ireland boasts an abundance of natural beauty and diverse urban centers. For those seeking the great outdoors, popular attractions include the awe-inspiring Cliffs of Moher and the breathtaking Killarney National Park.

For an urban experience, visitors can choose from a selection of five vibrant cities, with Dublin's historic cobbled streets and Galway's eclectic bohemian vibe being among the most popular.

With all this on offer, it’s easy to see why studying in Ireland is such a popular choice.

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The benefits of studying in Ireland

Growing industries - Over the last few decades, Ireland has experienced remarkable development, establishing itself as a highly advanced nation. Today, it is recognised for its outstanding banking services and serves as the global headquarters for numerous leading multinational corporations and pharmaceutical companies. Moreover, the government has invested heavily in agrotechnology, creating abundant opportunities for students to gain valuable work experience and launch their careers regardless of their field of study.

Quality of life - Ireland ranks #12 for peacefulness (Global Peace Index) and #16 for happiness. The country also has one of the highest GDP per capita, promoting growth and individual freedom. This high quality of life is yet another prospect that attracts international students. 

A warm welcome - Irish people are also known to be very friendly, and most international students find it easy to adapt because of the warm welcome from locals. In fact, Dublin and Cork have been ranked as the 6th and 17th friendliest cities in the world (Bigseventravel).

Read more benefits here.

Intakes in Ireland

There are two main intakes in Irish universities and colleges. The main one takes place in autumn for the start of the traditional academic year, while the other happens in January.


Upcoming Intakes in Ireland

Top Ireland Universities for International Students

Trinity College Dublin - One of the seven ancient universities of Great Britain and Ireland and the oldest surviving Irish university, Trinity hosts around 20,000 students including international students from more than 122 countries. It is ranked 1st in Ireland and 98th in the world and also ranks in the top 100 in 19 subjects, globally as well as the 12th most international university in the world in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

University College Cork - Cork hosts around 20,000 students with more than 3,000 of them international students from over 104 countries. It has been named as the "Irish University of the Year" by the Sunday Times several times. It has been voted both the safest campus in Ireland and one of the safest in the world. According to an international survey conducted by and the International Graduate Insight Group, it also received an ‘Excellent International Student Satisfaction Award.

University College Dublin - University College Dublin is the largest university in Ireland and is mostly located at a campus at Belfield to the south of the city centre. There are currently more than 33,000 students including 9,500 international students, making it the most international Irish university. It is ranked number 1 in Ireland for graduate employability by QS World Rankings and has been in first place for five consecutive years.

Dublin City University - Dublin City University was created in 1975 as the National Institute of Higher Education, enrolling its first students in 1980. In 1989 it became a university by statute and adopted its current name, and it now has more than 18,000 students more than 20% of whom are international students enjoying one of the top universities in Ireland.

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Exam to study in Ireland

All courses in Ireland are generally taught in English, so universities and colleges require a minimum English language standard to ensure that students are able to complete their courses. This is also a requirement of visa applications and there is a range of approved tests that you will need to have chosen from and passed before applying. 

Different institutions will have different requirements, so you should check with them before undertaking a test. Approved tests include IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, Duolingo English Test and CELA amongst others.

Study options

Higher education courses in Ireland are similar to those in the neighbouring UK. Full-time undergraduate degrees in Ireland usually last three years, while masters degrees generally last one year, though research masters can be two years long. 

PhDs are usually 3-4 years long and are available in ‘structured’ and ‘traditional’ programmes, with the structured course providing an extra level of support through an organised schedule of training and evaluation.

Qualifications gained in Ireland are widely recognised around the world and all degree courses studied here are directly comparable to their UK counterparts.

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Student life in Ireland

Studying in the Republic of Ireland can provide a rich student experience. 

Most universities have services to help students find on-campus accommodation in their first year. Halls of residence offer a great opportunity to meet new people and form lasting friendships. 

Societies and sports clubs are a great way to immerse yourself in with your peers from Ireland and around the world. You could give Gaelic football a go, a traditional Irish team sport, or join an International Students’ Society to meet like-minded people. 

It’s clear to see that life for international students in Ireland can be an exciting experience.

Also read What's student life like in Ireland?

Scholarships to study in Ireland

Irish universities encourage diversity and welcome many talented students from all around the world every year. Hence, most Irish universities offer some form of financial aid or scholarship for eligible students in need. There are also several government scholarship schemes available, depending which course you are planning to study.

Through the Government of Ireland International Education Scholarship, the Irish government provides 60 scholarships for international students seeking to pursue undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral programs at Irish universities. The scholarship award totals €10,000 and covers tuition and registration fees, offering a valuable opportunity for students to further their education in Ireland.

International students pursuing research-based master's degrees or doctoral programs in Ireland may be eligible for the Government of Ireland International Education Scholarship, offered by the Department of Education and Skills.

The Agriculture and Food Development Authority, Teagasc, provides the Walsh Fellowship to 140 students seeking to pursue a research-based master's program or doctoral degree in areas such as agriculture, horticulture, agri-food economics, and rural development.

Related topics: Irish Scholarships For International Students


Student visa to Ireland:

An Ireland student visa is needed for any international student coming from outside the EU. You can apply from up to three months before you arrive and processing time is usually around eight weeks. The Irish Government offers a one-year stay back visa for Bachelors graduates and up to two years for Masters graduates through its Third Level Graduate Scheme. You can also apply for a Green Card Permit to stay in Ireland long-term. 

Student visa requirements for Ireland - You will be required to present supporting evidence including a letter of acceptance from the institution; academic records; English language test proof; proof of funds to support yourself through your studies; medical insurance and a declaration of your intention to return to your home country at the end of your studies.

Also read How to clear your Irish study visa interview

Application Process

The first step is to gain admission to the course of your choice and to pay the required admission fees, after which you can apply for a long-stay study visa. This can be done online before submitting your required documents and passport. Once in Ireland, you need to register with a local immigration visa office.

Admission Requirements to study in Ireland:

  • Language proficiency proof (IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, etc.)
  • Completed application form (CAO for undergraduate, direct or university portal for postgraduate)
  • Translated and evaluated transcripts/credentials
  • High school diploma, post-secondary diploma, or degree (as applicable)
  • Personal statement or letter of intent (depending on the level of study)
  • Letters of recommendation (usually two, depending on the level of study)
  • Standardised test scores (if required, e.g., GRE, GMAT for postgraduate programmes)
  • CV (for postgraduate programmes or work experience requirements)
  • Portfolio/audition (for arts/performance programmes)
  • Proof of financial support (bank statements, scholarship letters, etc.)
  • Irish student visa (e.g., Stamp 2 permission)
  • Medical insurance (proof of private medical insurance coverage)

Cost to study in Ireland

The costs of studying in Ireland can vary depending on both which institution/course you are studying and where you are living, with living costs higher if you are based in Dublin than in other cities and towns.

  • Visa fees - The cost of an Irish student visa (Stamp 2 permission) is typically €300.
  • Course fees - Students outside of the EU, EEA, Swiss State or UK have to pay the cost of their education in Ireland in full. These can vary depending on the course, but the cost of an undergraduate course in Ireland can range between €9,850 and €55,000.
  • Living costs - 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.

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1. How much does it cost to study in Ireland?

Tuition fees for international students in Ireland range from €10,000 to €35,000 per year depending on the program and institution, while the cost of living in Ireland for a student ranges from €7,000 to €12,000 per year.

2. Is Ireland cheap to study in?

Compared to some other popular study destinations, Ireland can be relatively expensive to study in. However, the cost of studying in Ireland can vary depending on a number of factors, including the institution, program, and location.

3. Is it cheaper to study in Ireland than UK?

Tuition fees for international students in Ireland are generally lower than in the UK, with fees ranging from €10,000 to €35,000 per year depending on the program and institution. In contrast, international students in the UK can expect to pay tuition fees ranging from £10,000 to £38,000 per year. The cost of living in Ireland can be more affordable than in the UK, especially in terms of accommodation and transportation costs.

4. Can international students work in Ireland?

International students in Ireland are generally permitted to work while studying, although there are some restrictions. Students from the European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) are allowed to work without restriction. Non-EU/EEA students are allowed to work part-time for up to 20 hours per week during the academic term and up to 40 hours per week during holidays or scheduled breaks.

5. Can I change my course while studying in Ireland?

It is possible to change your course while studying in Ireland, but you will need to follow certain procedures and meet specific requirements. You will need to apply for a new visa and may need to provide additional documentation, such as proof of acceptance into the new program and evidence of sufficient funds to cover your studies.

6. Which is the minimum level an international student can apply to study in Ireland?

The minimum level an international student can apply to study in Ireland depends on the program and institution they are interested in. For undergraduate programs, most universities and colleges in Ireland require international students to have completed secondary education or its equivalent. In most cases, this means that you will need to have a high school diploma or equivalent qualification.

7. Do I need a work permit to work as a student in Ireland?

To work legally in Ireland, you will need to obtain a Personal Public Service (PPS) number and a work permit (employment permit). The PPS number is a unique identifier issued by the Irish government, which is required to work, pay taxes, and access public services in Ireland. You can apply for a PPS number at your local Social Welfare Office and your prospective employer will apply for the work permit on your behalf.

8. How many hours can I study and work in Ireland as a student?

During the academic term, you can work up to 20 hours per week, and during holidays or scheduled breaks, you can work up to 40 hours per week. There is no fixed limit on the number of hours you can study in Ireland as a student. However, full-time undergraduate and postgraduate programs generally require a minimum of 20-25 hours of study per week, while doctoral programs require a higher time commitment.

9. Do I need to register somewhere after I reach Ireland to study?

When you first arrive in Ireland, you will need to register with the Irish immigration authorities. This typically involves applying for a student residence permit or 'GNIB card', which allows you to live and study in Ireland for the duration of your program. You will need to provide identification, proof of enrollment, and evidence of financial support to obtain this card.

10. Do I need a new visa to travel outside Ireland while studying?

If you are an international student studying in Ireland, and you wish to travel outside of the country during your program, you will need to check the specific visa requirements for the countries you plan to visit. If you are a non-EU/EEA student, you will generally need a multiple-entry visa to travel outside Ireland and return. In most cases, you will need to apply for this visa in your home country or country of legal residence before you travel.

11. Is there a limit on study time in Ireland?

There is generally no limit on the length of time that international students can study in Ireland, provided that they meet the necessary academic and immigration requirements.

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