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Ireland is renowned for its educational excellence and could be the perfect place for students to further their studies. Alongside its rich Gaelic culture, the English speaking country will provide a friendly and safe place to live and study. With its vast coastal landscapes, beautiful countryside and metropolitan cities, Ireland is the perfect choice for students looking for a new adventure in beautiful surroundings.

The education system

Ireland has numerous types of higher education institutions:

  • Institutes of Technology – these provide education and training in business, science, engineering, music and linguistics. The institutes offer higher certificate awards as well as undergraduate (bachelor’s), postgraduate (master’s) and PhD (doctoral) programmes
  • NUI-Recognised Colleges – federal university The National University of Ireland (NUI) recognises five colleges which include the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, the Institute of Public Administration and the National College of Art and Design.
  • Colleges of Education – separated into primary and secondary-level colleges, they consist of teacher training institutions.
  • State-aided Institutions – establishments that offer many different degree courses and are given part funding from the state.
  • Private Colleges – provide more of a vocational programme for industries, for example, business studies, art, catering and law.
  • Universities – these are fully recognised internationally and are compiled from seven universities in Ireland and two from Northern Ireland.

Furthermore, the Irish higher education system will be undergoing a big reorganisation over the next 20 years based on recommendations by the Higher Education Authority (HEA).

What do I need to get into a university in Ireland?

Students should ensure they understand the entry requirements for the institution and course they are applying for. However, generally Irish universities and colleges accept A Levels or the Irish Leaving Certificate for entry. Some degree courses or universities may ask for specific GCSE grades for admission such as, C’s in English and Maths to ensure a standard is met for all students.

Entry requirements

The entry requirements for postgraduate study differ from university to university and course to course. However, most degree courses require an undergraduate degree, usually a minimum of a 2:2, in a related discipline. Some degree courses may require a 2:1 and this higher grade may increase your chances of gaining entry onto the more popular degree courses. In addition, institutions may prefer applicants to have suitable and valuable work experience.

How much will it cost me to study in Ireland?

EU citizens are entitled to attend university or colleges in Ireland and pay the same tuition fees as Irish students. Postgraduate course fees are set each year and can differ from institution to institution, but costs will be considerably higher for non-EU students as they are considered international students. Ireland also offers a free fee scheme for undergraduate study for publicly funded degree courses, this means students studying on these degree courses do not have to pay tuition fees. For more information you can check here (Citizens Information – Third-Level Student Fees and Charges).

Will I get funding to study in Ireland?

As an EU national students are eligible to apply for the same funding as Irish students. The Irish Student Grant Scheme is made up of two parts including maintenance grants and fee grants. Maintenance grants will aid students’ general living costs and are usually means tested. There are also a number of conditions to be eligible including nationality, residence and immigration status. Fee grants have been designed to help students cover their tuition fees, field trips and contribution. There may also be other conditions for EU students to reach eligibility for this funding.

Individual institutions may offer grants, scholarships or bursaries and students can search for this information on the individual university or college’s website. If you are an EU student but haven’t lived in Ireland before, you can see what assistance you could be entitled to here (Citizens Information – Grants for Students in Further and Higher Education) or here (Student Finance Ireland). Non-EU/EEA students are not, unfortunately, eligible for the Student Grant Scheme funding in Ireland.

Will I need a student visa to study in Ireland?

EU citizens are permitted to live in any EU country and able to study there as long as they are enrolled at an approved university or other education institution. They must have enough income (which could be from savings or part time work) to support themselves and have health insurance cover (which can include EHIC and/or private health insurance). Non-EU students can find out their visa requirements for studying in Ireland here (Citizens Information – Student Visas to Study in Ireland).

Cost of Living

Students who are deciding to live and study abroad need to consider how much it will cost them to live. We have compiled a list of everyday items in Ireland to help you get started on your research.

Dining out: 12.00 euros per meal

McDonalds: 7.00 euros per meal

Beer: 4.50 euros per pint

Coke: 1.50 euros per can

Water: 1.20 euros per bottle

Milk: 0.50 euros per pint

Bread: 1.50 euros per loaf

Bus ticket: 2.30 euros one way

Bus ticket: 92 euros monthly

Utilities: 142.00 euros monthly

Internet: 34.00 euros monthly

Cinema: 9.60 euros per ticket

Rent: 878.00 euros per month