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Ireland - General information
region British Islands
Capital Dublin
Language Irish, English
Currency Euro
Population 6,399,115
Students 196,000
Foreigner students 17.9%
Statistics - Universities
Universities in top 200 1
Universities in top 500 5
Universities in top 1000 8
Universities in top 5000 18
Cost of living in Ireland
Expenses - USD/Month Min. Med.
Accommodation 407 528
Food 213 442
Transportation 90 197
Communications and utilities 98 121
Clothing 24 92
Sports and leisure 27 98
Total 860 1,477
Accommodation in Ireland USD/Month
Shared room outside of centre 411
Shared room in city centre 533
1 bedroom apartment outside of centre 780
1 bedroom apartment in city centre 944
Location on map

Briefly about the secondary education in Ireland

Education in Ireland can easily rival the British one in quality and variety of research and applied programs, and in terms of tuition fees, the country clearly outperforms its neighbor. It doesn't matter whether a student chooses to study IT or agriculture — here any specialty is modern and adapted to the needs of the market. And the open and hospitable Irish people will make everyone feel like they belong on the emerald island.

List and ranking of universities in Ireland

Information is exploratory. For accurate information, refer to the official website of the school.
1121Trinity College DublinIrelandDublin
from  5,030 USD
to  50,953 USD
from  3,894 USD
to  38,956 USD
2222Dublin University CollegeIrelandDublin
from  7,257 USD
to  60,611 USD
from  0 USD
to  37,355 USD
3033University College CorkIrelandCork
from  11,345 USD
to  53,257 USD
from  4,483 USD
to  24,601 USD
3794NUI GalwayIrelandGalway
from  14,558 USD
to  25,978 USD
from  5,747 USD
to  31,207 USD
4365Dublin City UniversityIrelandDublin
from  0 USD
to  19,211 USD
from  6,096 USD
to  27,216 USD
5356University of LimerickIrelandLimerick
from  11,954 USD
to  55,334 USD
from  3,063 USD
to  19,899 USD
6127Maynooth UniversityIrelandMaynooth
from  14,408 USD
to  16,009 USD
from  14,942 USD
to  18,144 USD
6338Dublin Institute of TechnologyIrelandDublin
from  1,756 USD
to  15,476 USD
from  2,065 USD
to  23,213 USD
9Royal College of Surgeons in IrelandIrelandDublin
from  13,581 USD
to  61,513 USD
from  3,778 USD
to  15,315 USD
10Waterford Institute of TechnologyIrelandWaterford
10,940 USD
from  11,206 USD
to  13,341 USD

Advantages of education in Ireland

Disadvantages of education in Ireland

Tuition fees and education structure in Ireland

Education typeAgeDurationMin. costAvg. costLanguage requirements
Summer camp9+2-12 weeks640 USD/week854 USD/weekA1 — Elementary
Language courses14+1-12 weeks181 USD/week267 USD/weekA1 — Elementary
Secondary education12+6 years14,942 USD/year23,480 USD/yearB1 — Intermediate
Foundation17+1-2 semesters11,740 USD/year16,009 USD/yearIELTS 5.0
Bachelor's18+4 yearsFreefor EU/EEA and Swiss nationals18,677 USD/yearоколо 36,287 USD/год для медицинских специальностейIELTS 6.0
Master's20+2 years4,269 USDfor EU/EEA and Swiss nationals19,745 USD/yearIELTS 6.5
MBA20+2 years8,538 USD/year20,278 USD/yearIELTS 6.5
Doctoral20+3 years4,269 USDfor EU/EEA and Swiss nationals10,000 USD/yearIELTS 6.5
Additional costs
ItemAverage cost
Language exam250 USD
Student visa107 USD
Insurance213 USD/year
Registration fee53 USD
Flight213 USDDepends on the departure location
Rent480 USD/month
Transportation107 USD/monthbuses
Meals192 USD/month
Study materials75 USD/month

Options and schemes for admission to universities in Ireland

Admission requirements in universities in Ireland

You can enter the majority of universities in Ireland after 11 or 12 years of secondary school. The certificate must have excellent grades in English and mathematicsfor a majority of programs over the past 2-3 years. You will also need an IELTS (preferred) or TOEFL certificate. Some institutions may require non-EU applicants to complete a Foundation program or 1 university year in their home country, but this is rather an exception.

Third-country nationals submit documents directly to the chosen university, so the requirements should be checked with the admissions office of a particular university or college. Due to autonomy, the admission policy for foreigners may differ from institution to institution. EU and UK representatives apply through the Central Application Office.

Usually, universities have two application deadlines: an early one at the beginning of February and a standard one at the end of June. It is recommended to start preparing for admission a year before.

Documents for admission
For bachelor's degree:
  • Completed application on the university website;
  • Certified high school diploma + transcript with gradesthere is a possibility of special grade requirements for program related subjects;
  • Language certificate IELTS or TOEFL;
  • Letter of recommendation;
  • Portfolio and/or interviewdepending on the program;
  • International passport.
Additionally for master's and doctoral studies:
  • Bachelor's / Master's diplomas + transcript with grades;
  • CV;
  • Proof of required work experience;
  • Letters of recommendation (2-3);
  • Research proposalonly for doctoral studies.
All documents and/or their copies must have a certified translation into English.

Legalization and recognition of diplomas in Ireland

Irish organization NARIC is responsible for the recognition of foreign education certificates and their compliance with the Irish high school diploma (leaving certificate). As a rule, you can enter the universities of Ireland after grade 11 if that is your school system. However, local educational institutions have the right to take NARIC decisions as a recommendation and establish their own rules for admission of applicants: to take a Foundation program or complete 1 year of university in their home country.

Also, not all universities ask applicants from countries outside the EU to legalize a certificate or diploma — for some, a notarized translation into English is enough. However, Ireland is a part of the Hague Convention, so a university or college may require documents to be legalized with an apostille.

Foundation programs in Ireland

Foundation programs are widely available at universities and colleges in Ireland for international students. It is not mandatory to take such courses, but the administration of universities claims that Foundation graduates, as well as International Baccalaureate holders, have a greater chance of admission, especially to prestigious institutions with high competition. In some cases, Foundation implies subsequent admission to a university or college upon successful completion of the course.

Educational institutions of the country almost always expect high academic results in mathematics and English from applicants. Therefore, preparatory programs are most often aimed at mastering the fundamentals of technical disciplines and/or training before passing the IELTS exam. The duration of Foundation studies can vary from 3 months to an entire academic year. The timing depends on the student's initial level of knowledge. Also, the universities of Ireland offer summer courses: during a long vacation, you can improve your English proficiency and/or study specialized subjects and at the same time get to know the university from the inside.

Colleges in Ireland

Colleges in Ireland can be affiliated with major universities. For example, University College Cork and University College Dublin, together with two other universities, formally form the National University of Ireland. Moreover, they all function as separate independent universities with their own leadership and campuses.

Colleges may be self-sufficient educational institutions, offering bachelor’s and master’s programs for both local and international students, just like any of the universities. The only difference is that colleges have a narrower focus and, accordingly, fewer programs. Most of these colleges in Ireland are private, but this does not always mean that the cost of studying in them is higher.

Further Education Colleges are aimed at early employment. They most often work at high schools under the Leaving Certificate Vocational Program. FE colleges do not accept foreigners.

Bachelor’s in Ireland

There are 2 types of Bachelor's studies in Ireland. For the Ordinary Bachelor Degree (BA) the student must study for 3 years and gain 180 ECTS. Holders of Honours Bachelor Degree (BA Hons) often study for 4 years and gain 240 ECTS. The latter, as a rule, involves a larger volume of material, high standards of teaching, and full immersion in the academic aspects of the specialty. This degree is usually required for admission to the research master's degree, and sometimes even allows you to immediately go to a doctorate. The Honors Bachelor Degree holders also have more options for Post-graduate Diploma programs. This qualification stands between bachelor's and master's. It will take 1 year to get it.

Documents required for admission
  • Completed application form on the university website;
  • Translated school certificate + transcript with grades;
  • Language certificate IELTS or TOEFL;
  • Letter of recommendation;
  • International passport.

Master's Degree in Ireland

Master's degree in Ireland, as in most European countries, lasts for 1-2 years, depending on the specialty. During this time, the student earns from 60 to 120 ECTS credits. There are 2 types of master's:

  • Taught Masters Degree which includes a fixed curriculum and thematic lectures and seminars before the student begins to write a research paper;
  • Research Masters Degree does not involve compulsory group classes. A student devotes all the time to scientific activities, actively interacts with laboratory staff, and develops skills for future independent research. Such programs are good preparation for future PhD.
Documents required for admission
  • Completed application form on the university website;
  • Bachelor's degree + transcript with grades;
  • Language certificate IELTS or TOEFL;
  • CV;
  • 2 letters of recommendation;
  • Proof of the required work experience (if necessary);
  • International passport.

Doctorate in Ireland

PhD programs in Ireland last 3-4 years. ECTS credits are awarded only for the taught elements (lectures and seminars), therefore there is no standard amount of credits at this level of education. As in the UK, doctoral students in Ireland are first awarded the title of Master of Philosophy (MPhil) and only after successfully passing all exams — a PhD degree.

The country's universities offer not only academic but also professional and practical doctoral programs. The latter implies the active interaction of the young researcher with business representatives, in which new technologies and solutions can be introduced. Also, the supervisor in this case does not have to be from the academic environment.

Documents required for admission
  • Completed application form on the university website;
  • Bachelor's and Master's degree + transcripts with grades;
  • Language certificate IELTS or TOEFL;
  • Research proposal;
  • CV;
  • 2 letters of recommendation;
  • Proof of the required work experience (if necessary);
  • International passport.
Academic career and teaching staff
  • PhD Researcher. Doctoral students are not yet full-fledged academic workers, but they can already receive grants for their research projects and participate in the research of their professors. The Post-doc position can be considered a transitional step between study and work;
  • Lecturer is the first academic career position at an Irish university. The lecturer must have a PhD and have publications in reputable magazines. First, a contract is signed for 1 year. Upon successful completion of the test period, the lecturer continues to work and receives more administrative responsibilities. Salary is 2,988-7,257 USD/month;
  • Senior Lecturer is a promotion that a lecturer can receive with the necessary experience in teaching, research, and administrative work. Salary is 5,657-8,325 USD/month;
  • Associate Professor is an honorary academic position. Its owner is an experienced researcher and teacher, whose work is recognized not only in the country but also abroad. Salary is 7,044-9,819 USD/month;
  • Professor. This title can be obtained thanks to many years of experience and merit in the scientific community, provided that the candidate has not yet reached retirement age. The position is awarded according to the same criteria as the Associate Professor. Salary is 9,605-12,807 USD/month.

Scholarships and grants at universities in Ireland

Foreigners who are not citizens of the European Union cannot study in Ireland for free. The total cost of education is quite high, however, many educational institutions and the government of the country offer various scholarships, grants, and discounts to foreign applicants. These payments cover up to 50-100% of the tuition fees. Most scholarships are awarded for academic excellence and scientific achievement, and funding opportunities for athletes and artists could often be found. People with disabilities and refugees with official status almost always receive financial aid.

The deadlines for applying for scholarships are set independently by each university. In some cases, the applicant automatically applies for funding, in others, a separate application is required. Also, universities award academic scholarships based on the results of the past academic year.

View university scholarships in Ireland

Student visa to Ireland

To enter Ireland non-EU/EEA students need to obtain a visa: short-term type C for visits up to 3 months and long-term type D for a longer stay. Visa processing costs about 107 USD and takes up to 8 weeks. Documents are submitted online. All of them must be in English or have a certified translation. Check details regarding fees, documents, and the whole application procedure for your country.

Required documents
  • Completed visa application form;
  • International passport (valid 6 months after graduation);
  • Old passports (if any);
  • 2 color photographs 3.5x4.5 cm;
  • Certificate from the place of studyfor students and high school students at the time of the application;
  • Certificate from the place of employmentif you are employed at the moment of the application;
  • Sponsorship letter, bank statement, a certificate from work and sponsor's passport (if the applicant does not pay for the trip himself);
  • An invitation letter from an Irish university;
  • Confirmation of paying tuition fees;
  • Proof of residence in Ireland;
  • Medical Insurance for the entire stay in Ireland[1].

Upon arrival in Ireland, the student must obtain a temporary residence permit. To do this, you need to register with the Garda National Immigration Bureau and receive a GNIB-card, which is renewed once a year. You must first open an account with an Irish bank for at least 3,202 USD. The GNIB card does not work as a visa for leaving and re-entering the country — for this Re-Entry Visa is required. In addition, Ireland is not part of the Schengen area, so you will have to issue a separate document to travel to Europe.

Opportunity to work while study

The student visa allows students from overseas to work up to 20 hours a week during studies and full time during vacations. You do not need a separate permit for employment, but you will need to obtain a PPS number. Without it, the employer is not allowed to hire you. You also need an account with an Irish bank to where your salary will be transferred. The minimum wage in Ireland is 10 USD/hour. Typically, students receive up to 16 USD/hour working in the service sector or in junior office positions. Also, during their studies, many get an internship if it is not included in the compulsory program.

As for EU and EEA students, they are allowed to work in Ireland without any restrictions

Opportunity to stay and immigration to Ireland

In Ireland, there is a standard way to stay in the country after studies (Post Study Pathways). A bachelor's graduate may extend their stay in Ireland to find work for 1 year, Master's graduate — for 2 years. At the same time, the status of the temporary residence permit changes: from student (Stamp 2) to temporary residence permit (Stamp 1G). The total life expectancy in Ireland for study and job search must not exceed 7 years with a bachelor's degree and 8 years with a master's degree. Having found a suitable job, the candidate prepares a work permit at the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, the fee is 320 USD. After 5 years of living in Ireland on a work visa, a person has the right to apply for citizenship.

Employment prospects and opportunities

  • In Ireland, all conditions have been created for finding a job after graduating from a local university. Even non-EU/EEA nationals have enough time to seek employment: 12 months after bachelor’s and 24 after master’s. There are a lot of labor migrants among the Irish themselves, so they understand more than anyone the importance of work and life abroad and consider candidates of all nationalities on an equal basis.
  • In Europe, a graduate has every chance of getting a job with a diploma from an Irish university: the document is recognized by all developed countries. The most prestigious are UCD and TCD diplomas.
  • Academic career. On average, 20-30% of the teaching staff at universities in Ireland are foreigners[2]. However, this is more typical of large and well-known universities and colleges. They also have the largest number of foreign students who can build an academic career here after graduating from doctoral studies.

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