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Study in Ireland: the complete guide

Studying in Ireland today means following a quality university course and improving your English in a friendly and multicultural atmosphere.

Ireland is an increasingly popular destination for students. This small European country welcomes more international students every year. It is estimated that almost a quarter of students at Irish universities are foreigners. Following Brexit, there is a real enthusiasm for Irish universities. It must be said that Ireland is an attractive country in which to go to study because it is English-speaking and a member of the European Union and the euro zone.

Trinity College Library, Dublin, Ireland

Higher education in Ireland

Ireland is home to some of the best schools in Europe and even the world. Reputable and inexpensive universities, compared to the rest of the English-speaking world.

Ireland has 8 public universities (Dublin City University, Maynooth University, NUI Galway, Trinity College Dublin, TU Dublin, University College Cork, University College Dublin, University of Limerick) but also private colleges and institutes of technology spread throughout the country. These institutions provide excellent education in all areas.

The Irish system is close to the European system for organizing LMD studies (Bachelor, Master, Doctorate) and therefore also offers 3 levels of training: the Bachelor Degree (equivalent to the License, over 2 or 3 years), the Master (over 2 years) and PhD (doctorate, over 2 or 3 years).

The higher education system in Ireland is organized into two cycles: Undergraduate and Postgraduate.

The Undergraduate cycle (Bac+3 and Bac+4 levels) corresponds to the first university cycle. We prepare a Bachelor (equivalent to a License) and, specific to Ireland, a Bachelor of Honor (equivalent to a Master 1)

The continuation of studies after obtaining the first university degree corresponds to the Postgraduate. It prepares for the Master (Bac +5) and up to the Doctorate (Bac +8)

Dublin City University
Dublin City University

How to go to study in Ireland?

The steps to take

For enrollment in a course Undergraduate (Bachelor and Bachelor of Honnor), the process is carried out online with the CAO (Central Application Office), the central application office. You can make several wishes.

Please note that there is a strict timetable to respect in order to submit your application on time. There are two registration sessions: usually, from November to February and then from March to May. But don’t delay, registering for the first session offers more opportunities. You maximize your chances of being accepted into the course of your choice and, a significant detail, the registration fees are not increased. At the end of May, the admission results start to come in and you then have a period of time to confirm your choice.

For registration in Postgraduate (Master or Doctorate), the application is made directly upon submission of an application to the university concerned.

Once your file has been accepted, you will need to prepare your arrival. If you are a European national, the administrative formalities are reduced.

Remember to apply for a European Health Insurance Card before your departure and why not take out complementary health insurance to cover your health costs abroad.

Study in Ireland after high school

It is possible to study in Ireland directly after the baccalaureate and up to the doctorate.

If you plan to study in Ireland after obtaining your baccalaureate, it will be in an “undergraduate” course, that is to say at the first university cycle. For a Bachelor registration (equivalent to the License), go to the CAO.

The O'Reilly Library building at the Glasnevin Campus of Dublin City University
The O’Reilly Library building at the Glasnevin Campus of Dublin City University

The cost of studying in Ireland

Studying in Ireland is much more accessible than in other Anglo-Saxon countries.

You have the possibility to study in Ireland at a lower cost for a course Undergraduate. Indeed, the so-called FFI initiative (Free Fees Initiative) put in place by the government means that there are no tuition fees to pay for European nationals. You only have to pay the registration and administrative fees. Compared to the cost of a Bachelor’s degree in the UK, for example, studies in Ireland are, so to speak, almost free.

However, the student budget varies according to the course, the institution and the city of residence. It is advisable to plan a fairly large budget for the financing of your year of study. Provide an envelope of around 8000 euros per year to cover rent, utilities, food expenses, transport costs but also leisure expenses.

Please note that continuing your studies after the Bachelor’s degree represents a fairly significant cost. For a round Postgraduate (for a Master’s student) there is no longer any exemption. Count between 10 and 25,000 euros per year, depending on the sector and the university.

Some will choose to continue their studies in Ireland after the Bachelor and invest in their human capital. Indeed, a course of studies abroad remains a real asset on your CV. Not to mention that mastering English opens up professional prospects.

Maynooth University, Maynooth, Ireland
On the outskirts of Maynooth University, Maynooth, Ireland

How to get a scholarship in Ireland?

It is possible to study for free in Ireland as part of a university exchange. Ireland has been part of the Erasmus program since its inception. For an Erasmus student, there is no contribution to pay to the host university. Find out about the steps to take with the international office of your faculty.

If you decide to come to study in Ireland on your own initiative, you can obtain a study grant to help you finance your project. Consider checking the SUSI (Student Universal Support Ireland) website for eligibility criteria and applying for a scholarship. Don’t forget the aid for international mobility offered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, other ministries and also your regional council.

What level of English to study in Ireland?

A good level of English is required to access higher education courses. A test is mandatory. You will need to present the TOEFL or IELTS and obtain the minimum score required for entry to the university of your choice. It’s up to you to choose one or the other of the certifications (or both) depending on your skills and the format of the tests. Your result is to be communicated at the time of registration, so do not wait to register for an exam session in an authorized language centre.

Coumeenoole Beach in County Kerry, Ireland
Coumeenoole Beach in County Kerry, Ireland

Student life in Ireland

students in Ireland

Ireland offers a safe and conducive environment for study and interaction. You will quickly feel at home because of the great diversity of its student population and the legendary hospitality of its inhabitants.

Although the start of the academic year most often takes place at the beginning of October, international students are invited beforehand to a welcome and integration week in order to familiarize themselves with the functioning of the courses and their new university. The opportunity to bond as soon as you arrive.

Studying in Ireland allows you to discover an English-speaking country that has kept its own culture. An exceptional cultural heritage, without forgetting a preserved nature, to explore during your free time.

If Ireland remains attached to its past and its traditions, it is also an innovative and dynamic country which attracts young talents and hosts the headquarters of a large number of international companies (Apple, Facebook, Google, IBM, etc.). Local and international students each participate in their own way in this jovial and creative atmosphere conducive to intellectual stimulation and emulation.

Howth, Dublin, Ireland
Howth, Dublin, Ireland

Student accommodation in Ireland

Most universities have a housing office (office accommodation), a good first point of contact for international students in their search for suitable accommodation.

On the campus

Some students choose to stay in on-campus accommodation, which is available at many universities although it can be difficult to find due to high demand.

Accommodation on campus must be paid in 2 instalments, in September and February. In most campus accommodation, it is not possible to pay your rent on a monthly basis. You will usually have to pay a deposit of one month’s rent in advance, refunded when you leave.

Rental or roommate

Students who wish to be totally independent choose independent rental accommodation. Students pay their rent monthly and in advance. At the beginning of the rental, you pay a deposit of one month’s rent which will be returned to you on your departure (provided that you have not caused any damage to the premises). The normal duration of a lease is 9 or 12 months. If you break a lease without notice or if you do not respect the terms of the lease, you will lose your deposit. One month’s notice must be given before leaving the premises., the international student housing platform, enables direct communication between room advertisers and potential tenants. It is ideal for exchange and international students as they are guaranteed their room selected in their new country before their arrival, made possible by the secure booking system of

Accommodations can also be found in local newspapers and real estate agencies in towns. Websites such as or also contain a large portfolio of rental properties.

In host family

Some students choose to live with a host family in their home. This way you have your own independence but you still have the comforts of home (and some rules) as well as a family to help you settle into a new way of life in a new country.

Upper Lake Glendalough, Wicklow, Ireland
Upper Lake Glendalough, Wicklow, Ireland

Ireland is therefore a wonderful option to study abroad in an Anglo-Saxon country. Very close to France, the change of scenery will be total. Ireland is renowned for the benevolent welcome of its people and the beauty of its landscapes, but also increasingly for the excellence of its education.

If the advantages are therefore numerous, rigorous and meticulous preparation will nevertheless be necessary in order to choose your university, your city (Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Waterford, etc.) and your accommodation.

We hope this article has enlightened you a bit!

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