Ireland offers a diverse range of higher education institutions from traditional Universities to the more recently established Institutes of Technology, Colleges of Education and Independent Colleges. A broad choice of courses is offered across all disciplines. The Universities also offer Academic Year, Semester and Summer Programmes -many with credit transfer arrangements.
All of the higher education institutions provide extensive on-campus services from individual counseling and study workshops to career advice centers and accommodation offices. There are international student officers trained to deal with specific queries or problems faced by overseas students. You will also find that there are numerous students clubs and societies to choose from, with activities organized both on and off campus. In addition to this all facilities boast well-stocked libraries and information technology facilities which are second to none.
Although a number of educational institutions are clustered around the capital city Dublin and the other main urban centers, each region of the country is strongly represented by high quality third level institutions.
The academic year typically runs from September to June and is divided into either two or three semesters with holidays in December (Christmas) and April (Easter).
Most universities run a semesterised system and modularisation has been introduced in the majority of colleges to allow greater flexibility for students. Teaching at undergraduate level generally involves a programme of lectures supplemented by tutorials, practical demonstrations and laboratory work (where relevant).
Entry requirements for oversea students are determined individually by each institution and are generally based on national examination performance and English language aptitude.
Study Abroad Programmes
Whether you are considering spending a summer, a semester or a full academic year studying at an Irish university you are sure to encounter a unique and enriching educational and cultural experience. Irish universities offer a wide selection of Study Abroad Programmes allowing credit transfer arrangements with overseas universities and colleges.
A friendly and hospitable country, Ireland has a very special welcome for visitors from North America with whom it has a tradition of strong links. Every year the Irish experience is spoken of with enthusiasm by a growing number of North American and other overseas students. Some come because of their Irish descent and their interest in learning more about the history and culture of their forbears. Others come for an introduction to European politics, economics and society and to bring a European dimension to their studies. All comment on the ease with which they settle into student life in Ireland, the friendliness of the people, the physical beauty of the country, the vibrant social and cultural life and the opportunity studying in Ireland offers for both academic and personal growth.
Each of the Irish Universities has a Study Abroad office which is responsible for coordinating programmes aimed at overseas students spending either a summer, a semester or a full academic year studying in Ireland. The objective in any Study Abroad Programme is to experience different lifestyles and encounter new viewpoints. Junior Year Abroad and Study Abroad programmes offer students a unique and enriching educational and cultural experience.
Modules are offered in a broad spectrum of faculties and, with the exception of Summer Programmes, have a GPA entry requirement and involve a full-time course load. Many of these programmes involve credit transfer arrangements with overseas Universities and Colleges. We encourage students to visit the Internet pages of the universities or contact the institutions directly for further detailed information on the Study Abroad programmes on offer. Applications for all Study Abroad programmes should be made directly to the relevant institution.
In addition to full undergraduate and postgraduate courses, Irish Universities offer a wide selection of study programmes specifically designed to meet the needs of overseas students. These range from summer programmes, to semester and full academic year programmes over a broad spectrum of faculties. Further details can be viewed on their individual websites.
Ireland enjoys a temperate climate influenced by the relatively warm waters of the Gulf Stream in whose path the island lies. During the winter months temperatures rarely drop below freezing and snow is uncommon. The coldest and wettest months are December, January and February, which have mean temperatures of between 4°C and 7°C . July and August are the warmest months with mean temperatures of between 14°C and 16°C, rarely rising above 20°C.
Third level students have a number of accommodation options available to them. Most third level institutions have on-campus student residences, often resembling small villages with on-site facilities such as shops, launderettes, restaurants etc. Prospective students should contact the host institution for further details.
Another popular option, particularly in the main cities is self-catering rented accommodation, often shared with other students. Students opting for this kind of accommodation are advised to arrive in the country two or three weeks prior to the start of the academic year in order to secure a place in a house/apartment.
Some third-level students opt for host family accommodation. This can be a good option for those leaving home for the first time as it helps to integrate them into the local community and the Irish way of life. Students are normally provided with their own room and with morning and evening meals.
Note: Most third level institutions have an Accommodation Office, a good first point of call for overseas students in their search for suitable accommodation. Accommodation can also be found through the local newspapers and estate agents in the cities.
Money & Banking
Ireland was one of the first countries to qualify to join the "Euro-Zone" and on 1 January 2002, the EURO (£IR;1= 0.787564) went into circulation.
Ireland has a thoroughly modern financial system and banking is simple and convenient. ATM machines are located in the towns and cities and international credit cards and other financial instruments are widely accepted. Banking costs vary. However, many banks offer special student rates or even 'free banking' so it is well worth shopping around before opening an account.
For up-to-date exchange rates see:
Whilst Ireland is considered to be a relatively safe place to live, students are advised to exercise caution when walking home alone in the evenings, particularly in the more urbanised areas. From November through to February it can get dark as early as 4.30pm. The colleges themselves will be able to brief students on the personal safety issues relative to their particular area.
Despite increasing urbanisation and the difficulties historically associated with the conflict in Northern Ireland, personal safety is generally very high and there is a low level of violent crime.
The Police force is called the Garda Siochana (meaning Guardians of the Peace), usually called the Gardai. The force is unarmed and is headed by a Government appointed Commissioner. A Garda Siochana is operationally independent but answerable to the people, Parliament and Government through the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform. The Courts are completely independent. A Garda Siochana exercises all police functions in the country. It is responsible for all criminal investigations, the enforcement of road traffic law, the maintenance of public order, immigration control and it enforces drug laws and provides the state security service. In so doing it seeks to uphold and protect the human rights of all individuals within the state.
Health & Welfare System
Ireland's health system is run by regional health boards which are all centrally controlled by the Department of Health and Children. Free medical care is available for those on low incomes and hospital services are available for reasonable costs for those on higher incomes. Visits to a General Practitioner costs about EUR45.00.
A student health service is provided in third level institutions. It is free of charge and completely confidential. It is staffed by doctors, nurses and counsellors who are equipped to deal with various medical problems however, this service does not provide 24 hour cover.
Students are strongly advised to arrange insurance for private medical care as this ensures choice of hospital, doctor and hospital accommodation in the event of illness. It is possible to obtain private medical insurance from the Voluntary Health Insurance Board (VHI) or from BUPA Ireland to cover private medical care:
The Voluntary Health Insurance Board
70, South Mall Cork.
Tel: +353 21 277188
12 Fitzwilliam Square
Tel: +353 1 6627662
Website: services and study skills workshops are also provided on-campus for all students. In addition, all third-level institutions have 'International Student Offices' whose personnel are equipped to deal with the issues faced by overseas students.
From 1st June 2004 the E111 and a number of other 'E' forms (i.e. E128) have been replaced by a new European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). The EHIC must be obtained in the home country before departure. (
For a small country, Ireland offers an enormous diversity of landscapes: from long sandy beaches to rugged coastline; from bogland plains to the dramatic cliffs of the West coast, with much more in between! The environment provides endless opportunities for outdoor leisure pursuits including water sports, hill walking and rock climbing. Many colleges also have their own on-campus sports complex with facilities such as swimming pools, running tracks, squash courts and gyms.
Cities, towns and villages in Ireland also afford boundless opportunities for relaxation and recreation including pubs, clubs, restaurants, museums, art galleries, craft exhibitions, indoor sports facilities and music and arts festivals. Festivals are held throughout the year all over the country - a wonderful opportunity to sample some Irish culture whilst getting to know different parts of the island.
Because of its size, travel within Ireland is relatively easy. CIE (Coras Iompair Eireann) - the national transport service- operates trains, buses and coaches throughout the country. Irish Rail (Ianrod Eireann) operates the nationwide rail services, the Dublin Area Rapid Transit (DART) and other suburban rail services. Private coach and bus services are also available.
The United Kingdom and other parts of Europe are also easily accessible by both air and sea. The main airports in the country are in Dublin, Shannon, Cork and Belfast, but there are also a number of regional airports. All of these offer regular services to and from London (one hour's-flying time) and many offer direct flights to other main European capitals and to the United States. Ferry services operate from several ports on the East and South coasts to England, Scotland, Wales and France.
EU member since 1-1-1973
Ireland is an English-speaking country with close cultural, economic and educational links with the English-speaking world, especially with the UK - our next door neighbour and with the USA, where Irish Americans form a high proportion of the population. We are European - part of the EU family of nations and cultures and of the increasingly integrated European Education Area. Ireland is Global in outlook - for several centuries Irish people have emigrated to and settled in many countries around the globe and today we welcome people to Ireland from all over the world.
Ireland - where education and learning count...
from the mediaeval monastic centers, to the "hedge schools" of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, to the schools and colleges of today ...
... from the Irish scholar monks in Europe in the middle ages, to the missionary teachers of the 19th and 20th century in Asia, Africa and the Americas, to the international scholars and researchers of today ...
... from the 8th century Book of Kells to Joyce, Beckett, Shaw, Heaney ...
...from the traditional, cultural and literary to leading-edge, 21st century science and technology.
Ireland - where education and industry meet
Ireland has one of the best education systems in the world according to the 2004 IMD World Competitiveness Report. It has close links to industry and is characterised by creativity, flexibility, agility, pragmatism and informality. Education has been a key factor in making Ireland one of the fastest growing economies in the world over the past decade. Government policy on investment in research and "4th level" education as the key to developing Ireland as a knowledge society in the new global economy.
Ireland is a country steeped in tradition and history with a long established reputation for its education excellence. It has a unique and interesting culture which retains many features of its ancient Celtic origins while also reflecting the influence of other traditions and trends.
Irish people have a great love of conversation and have a genuine interest in other people. This friendliness and hospitality for which the Irish people are renowned contributes to the ease with which overseas students adapt to the way of life and in particular, student life in Ireland.
Although we do have our own distinctive Celtic language and culture, English is the predominant language spoken in Ireland today. The Irish use it so effectively that it has been said that better English is spoken in Ireland than anywhere else in the world! Every year almost 200,000 students of all ages and from all over the world come to study in Ireland to benefit from the highest quality English Language training in schools throughout the country