Brief Background: Ireland has a long history of
welcoming international students, going back more than a thousand years
to when it was known as the Land of Saints and Scholars. In 2017-18,
more than 12,000 international students from the United States studied
in Ireland’s public higher education institutions. International
students globally made up around 16 percent of all higher education
enrollments in Ireland. The United States, China, and France are the top
places of origin among full-time international students in Ireland,
according to IIE’s Project Atlas.
Recognizing the value that international students contribute to the
education system, and to society in general, Ireland launched Irish
Educated, Globally Connected—an international education strategy for
2016 through 2020. This strategy aims to support the development of
global citizens through Ireland’s high-quality education system by
attracting talent from around the world to its educational institutions,
and equipping students with the skills and experience they need to
Dublin City University
National University of Ireland, Galway
Technological University Dublin
Trinity College Dublin
University College Cork
University College Dublin
University of Limerick
Ireland’s higher education offerings include eight universities, five
public colleges, 11 institutes of technology, and eight private
colleges. Irish qualifications are internationally recognized and the
full academic range of studies is available, including the arts and
humanities, social sciences, medicine, business, and engineering. In the
past 30 years, successive Irish governments have put enormous resources
into education and research. As a result, the reputation of its higher
education system has grown considerably, and its research is now making
an international impact. In the 2019 QS World University Rankings,
several individual institutions rank in the global top 50 for a diverse
range of key subjects including English, politics, and veterinary
science; and in the top 100 for history, pharmacy, and biology.
Ireland is also where some of the world’s biggest and best companies
have located key, strategic research facilities. These include nine of
the world’s top 10 information and communication technology (ICT)
companies; nine of the world’s top 10 pharmaceutical and life science
companies; and half of the world’s major financial services companies.
Companies include Boston Scientific, Pfizer, Apple, Facebook, and
Google. CEOs of these cutting edge global companies repeatedly point to
the strengths of Irish-educated graduates as crucial to their decision to
establish facilities in Ireland.
Education in Ireland’s website
addresses many questions about studying in Ireland, lists
internationally recognized and approved programs, and provides links to
the websites of Irish universities.
Good to Know: Most undergraduate degrees take four
years to complete, though there are some programs that can be completed
in three. Courses offered by the institutes of technology range in
duration from two to four years.
Course typically refers to an academic program of study.
Undergraduates can directly enter professional programs in medicine,
veterinary medicine, dentistry, and law.
Most Irish degree programs do not include general education
requirements. However, several universities offer bachelors’ degrees in
When applying, students are advised to consider choosing a general
area of interest and refrain from being too specific. Business students,
for instance, can begin to specialize in accounting or finance once at
university. Students who want to change their major will likely need to
start their coursework over.
Search: Students can search by city, course, and university through the Education in Ireland website.
Each institution will have information about its courses on its website
along with testimonials, interviews and, in some cases, videos.
Apply: Programs and application processes vary
across Irish universities, but overall the application process is
straightforward. Applications are made directly to each institution, and
students apply directly to their intended course of study. Students can
apply to more than one course at a particular university. Special
subjects such as law, medicine, dentistry and veterinary can all be done
at an undergraduate level in Ireland and applicants may apply directly
to the institution.
is an application system, similar to the Common App, which allows
international students to apply for medicine, dentistry, physiotherapy,
and pharmacy programs at six different Irish universities.
Application Fees: Application fees vary among different institutions, and average 50 euros.
Academic Calendar: Academic schedules in Ireland
begin in late August or early September and end the following May.
Specific dates will vary slightly, but generally universities operate on
a semester schedule, with mid-term breaks in the fall and spring
semesters, and winter and summer vacations.
“The best part of attending university in Ireland is the
curriculum, the diversity on campus, the clubs/societies, and events, as
well as the opportunity to travel throughout Europe.”
—Alyssa Rogers, New Jersey, University College Dublin
Deadlines: The initial deadline for applications
varies by course and institution. Some are as early as Feb. 1, but most
deadlines are around March 31. Students are admitted on a rolling basis
beginning in October, and offers will generally be honored until May 1.
The late application deadline stretches until July 1. In some cases,
applications may be considered beyond this date.
Admission Requirements: Requirements vary by
institution, but three types of credentials are generally accepted: IB
Diploma, French Baccalaureate, or a combination of high school grades
and standardized test scores. Some schools require additional written
materials—personal essays, writing samples, and in some cases both.
Depending on the institution, students may be required to submit up to
two recommendation letters for each course to which they apply.
Upon Acceptance: Students interested in scholarship
opportunities should research scholarship deadlines and begin submitting
applications once they have received an offer of admission. More
information on scholarships can be found on the Education in Ireland website.
Tuition and Fees: Tuition for full-time
undergraduate programs ranges from 10,000 to 22,000 euros per year,
though tuition for medical and related fields is usually much higher.
Housing: On-campus housing is provided for all
first-year international students at every university; the average cost
is 6,000 euros per year. Following their first year, students are
responsible for securing housing.
Estimated expenses beyond tuition range between 7,000 and 11,000 euros per year based on accommodations and personal lifestyle.
Visa and Other Permits: US citizens do not need a
visa to study in Ireland. However, all students from outside the
European Union must register with the Garda National Immigration Bureau
(GNIB) within seven days of arriving in Ireland. To register, students
must present a letter of acceptance from an Irish institution confirming
their place in a recognized program, furnish evidence of having private
health insurance, and show proof of sufficient funds (at least 3,000
euros) to cover accommodation and living expenses.
International students studying full-time in Ireland can work up to
20 hours a week or up to 40 hours during holiday breaks. International
students who have graduated from an Irish institution can also work in
Ireland for one year after graduation.
International students are required to have private health insurance.
Students who purchase insurance from their home country must ensure
that the insurance will be valid in Ireland and in any other country
where the student might travel during their studies. If a student is
part of a group insurance program operated by the university he or she
will attend, a letter of enrollment mentioning this will be adequate
proof for the GNIB authorities.
Advice from the Field: University specific inquires can be sent to email@example.com. Questions will then be directed to an international recruitment specialist at the university of interest.
Each university in Ireland has its own alumni networks. These have
global representatives focused on supporting and organizing events for
alumni around the world.