Ireland is an increasingly popular destination for students from all
over the world. The friendliness and hospitality for which Irish people
are renowned, contribute to the ease with which overseas students adapt
to the way of life and in particular, student life.
Having developed from being a predominantly agricultural economy in
the 1950s Ireland is now a thoroughly modern nation with well developed
manufacturing and international services sectors and has the highest
economic growth rate in the E.U. - hence the title 'The Celtic Tiger'.
The educated workforce produced in Ireland by the education system has
been a key factor in attracting international investment to the country
and in the growth of the modern technological industries which have
helped make Ireland one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
The international dimension of education is important in Ireland,
which has one of the most trade dependent economies in the world. The
Irish Government has invested in the internationalisation of our
education system, both to promote the international activities and
linkages of our colleges and to encourage students from overseas
countries to study in Ireland.
Higher education in Ireland is judged by international standards and
the employment market for graduates is a global one. Overseas students
receive a quality education in a friendly environment. They in turn
enrich the educational experience of our own students and bring an
international dimension to our campuses. Lifelong friendships and
networks are formed between Irish and overseas students which later
enhance the cultural and trade relationships between our countries.
Higher Education in Ireland consists of the universities (with
associated colleges of education), institutes of technology, and a
number of private independent colleges. The universities and institutes
of technology are autonomous and self-governing, but are substantially
There are nine universities in Ireland - 2 in Northern Ireland and 7
in the Republic. The University of Dublin, Trinity College (TCD),
founded in 1592, is the oldest university in Ireland. The National
University of Ireland (NUI) is a federal institute consisting of four
constituent universities; University College Dublin, National University
of Ireland Dublin; University College Cork, National University of
Ireland Cork; National University of Ireland Galway and National
University of Ireland Maynooth. NUI also has three recognised colleges:
National College of Art and Design (NCAD), The Royal College of Surgeons
in Ireland (RCSI) and St. Angela's College of Education. The
University of Limerick (UL) and Dublin City University (DCU) are our
newest universities and were founded in 1989. The two universities in
Northern Ireland are: the University of Ulster (UU) and the Queen's
University of Belfast (QUB).
In addition to offering degrees at Bachelors, Masters and Doctorate
levels, over a full range of disciplines, the universities and colleges
also undertake research in many areas. Undergraduate and postgraduate
diplomas are also available and universities are involved in continuing
and distance education programmes (aimed mainly at Irish residents).
Institutes of Technology
There are currently 14 Institutes of Technology located throughout
the Republic offering programmes at degree, national diploma and
national certificate levels in a wide variety of subjects. Their
qualifications are externally validated by Ireland's national
certification authority, which ensures that their qualifications reach
the highest international standards. Many of the Institutes of
Technology also run postgraduate diploma and degree programmes, both
taught and research.
Colleges of Education
There are five Colleges of Education for primary school teachers.
These colleges offer three year full time courses leading to a B.Ed
degree which is the recognised qualification for primary school
Independent Third Level Colleges
These colleges offer programmes leading to certificates, diplomas and
degrees, which have received recognition by Ireland's national
certification authority or from other external accreditation
institutions (such as universities). Courses on offer include:
Accountancy and Business Studies, Law, Humanities, Hotel & Catering,
Tourism Studies and Art.
Study Programmes Available to Overseas Students
In addition to full undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, Irish
universities offer a wide selection of study programmes involving
credit transfer arrangements with overseas universities and colleges.
These range from Summer programmes, to semester programmes, to full
academic year programmes in a broad spectrum of faculties. These
Junior Year Abroad (JYA) and Study Abroad Programmes (mainly aimed at
non E.U. students)
SOCRATES (Applicable to citizens of Member States of the E.U. as well
as to Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway). SOCRATES aims to promote the
concept of lifelong learning in response to constantly evolving
education and training needs. There is a variety of programmes
promoted by SOCRATES, including:
ERASMUS (higher education)
The main costs that students can expect to incur while in Ireland
include fees*, accommodation and living expenses. These vary
considerably depending on the course, the institution and the
lifestyle of the student.
*Third level education in Ireland is free for students who are
first-time undergraduates and,
are E.U. nationals and have been ordinarily resident in an E.U.
Member State for at least three of the five years preceding their
entry to an approved third-level course.
The universities and colleges have a small number of scholarships
for overseas students. Students are advised to contact the institution
directly to obtain Application.
Studying overseas is a very enriching experience however it can be
quite costly, hence it is worth spending time and consideration
choosing the most suitable programme and most appropriate institution.
Apart from the universities in Northern Ireland, application for
most full-time undergraduate courses is made through a Central
Applications Office (CAO). The CAO provides an applications pack with
a handbook which lists all the courses on offer and gives information
on how to apply.
The CAO website is :