Studying in the Republic of Ireland

Why study in the Republic of Ireland?

  • The Republic of Ireland has a great reputation! Many big companies - for example Facebook, Google, Apple and Intel - choose it as their European base, looking for a skilled, educated and highly capable workforce
  • It's really close to the UK, so it'll be easy and relatively cheap to travel to and from - you'll be able to visit home as much as you like
  • Living in the Republic of Ireland will be easy, as there'll be no language barrier. Everyone speaks English, so you'll have no problem meeting new people and understanding your course
Discuss studying in the Republic of Ireland with other people in the forums.

The Republic of Ireland's education system

In the Republic of Ireland, university-level education is referred to as 'third level education'. There are four types of institution you can choose to attend at this level:

  • The university sector: State-funded universities which are independently run, similar to UK universities, there are seven in the Republic of Ireland
  • The technological sector: Provide programs of education and training in business/science/engineering/linguistics/music at certificate, diploma and degree levels, there are 14 in the country
  • Colleges of education: Teach three-year Bachelor of education degrees and 18-month postgraduate diplomas which provide specialised training for primary school teachers
  • Private, independent colleges: Mainly offer courses in professional vocational training and business

The Republic of Ireland also offers a number of different types of course you can study for:

  • Higher certificate: A two year full-time course
  • Bachelors degree: A three year full-time, undergraduate course
  • Honours Bachelors degree: A three or four year full-time degree
  • Graduate diploma: A one year vocational course for graduates
  • Masters degree: A one or two year course which is either taught or a research-based program
  • Doctorate (PhD): Takes a minimum of three years involving original research - you can either be awarded a pass or fail, with distinctions in rare cases

The academic year in the Republic of Ireland is very similar to the UK; it is split into either two or three terms with holidays in December, at Christmas, and April, around Easter. The year begins in September and ends in June.

Most degrees, particularly at an undergraduate level, are taught through a mix of lectures, tutorials and - where appropriate - lab work and practical demonstrations. Masters degrees are often assessed through coursework and research work. Generally, the minimum passing grade is 40% (like the UK) and the highest mark available is 100.

Find out about how to apply to university in the Republic of IrelandStudying in the Republic of Ireland stats

How much will it cost?

Tuition fees

The amount of tuition fees you pay in the Republic of Ireland will depend on your circumstances; you may qualify for free fees, EU fees or non-EU fees.

To qualify for free tuition fees you will need to fulfill all three criteria:

  • You must be a first-time undergraduate on a full-time programme
  • You must be a citizen of the EU, EEA or Switzerland
  • You must have been ordinarily resident in an EU member state for at least three of the five years directly preceding study

Free tuition fees are not available at private institutions.

If you don't fulfill all of these criteria but are still a citizen of the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you might be liable for fees at the EU rate. You may have to pay these if:

  • You already hold a degree or have completed more than the first year of a higher education programme
  • You are repeating a year of study
  • You have been a resident outside the EU for more than two of the five years directly preceding the course
  • You are attending the course part-time

The EU rate for undergraduate degrees is roughly between €1,891 - €6,371(£1,447- £4,875) per year but this may differ between universities.

On top of tuition fees there is also a €3,000 (£2296) student contribution fee which you pay at the start of each year which covers the cost of exam entry fees and support for student services/societies/clubs. This fee is paid by all students unless you are getting a SUSI grant.

Living costs

Living in the Republic of Ireland

Living costs in the Republic of Ireland will vary slightly between areas with the bigger cities, like Dublin, being more expensive, however you can generally expect to spend the following over a month:

  • Accommodation: €300 - €800 (£230 - £612)
  • Food and household supplies: €210- €350(£161- £268)
  • Books and study materials: €100(£76)
  • Social/Other activities: €150- €250(£115- £191)
Find out about student Visas and what you need to study in the Republic of Ireland


The currency in Ireland is the Euro, depicted by €. The current exchange rate is €1 : £0.77

Exchange rates can change quickly and, while this value is correct at the time of writing, it's worth checking again before you travel.

Financial assistance

All home, EU and EEA students studying in the republic of Ireland can apply for a student grant. As an undergraduate you can receive a maintenance grant, fee grant or both.

Maintenance grants are given to help contribute to a student's living costs. Whether you will receive this depends on your nationality, residence and means, and you will not receive the grant if you are repeating a year. These grants are only available to those studying at publicly funded institutions - not private ones.

The fee grant can help cover all or part of the student contribution, costs of essential field trips, and all or part of any tuition fees the student may be expected to pay (unless you qualify for free fees).

Working while you study

International students in Ireland can work while they study as long as they are taking part in full-time study, for at least 1 year, on a course leading to a qualification recognised by the Irish Department of Education and Skills.

These students are required to comply with the Universal Social Contribution (USC), Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI), employment laws, and taxation requirements for as long as they're working.

Students are also allowed to undertake internships as part of their course, as long as it doesn't exceed 50% of the duration of the program, the employment isn't in a self-employed capacity, and it's an integral part of the academic program which contributed to the final award.

Living in the Republic of Ireland

Irish people have a reputation for being very friendly and welcoming to overseas visitors. It's often said to be so popular with students because of it's deep cultural traditions and diverse range of outdoor activities. Plus, Ireland's major cities, Dublin for example, are popular with both tourists and students. Because of this, these cities are always lively and full of new people to meet and socialise with.

Study in the Republic of Ireland

The legal drinking age in Ireland is 18, and so socialising in pubs and drinking with friends are popular activities among both students and locals. Recently, alcohol prices in pubs in Ireland have gone up, so buying alcohol in and drinking at home has become more popular - although it's still a very sociable activity.

Traveling in Ireland is really easy and reasonably cheap. Major roads link Dublin to all other main cities, and there's a dedicated passenger railway between them too. For traveling around in cities, buses are the best and cheapest option.

Most Irish universities make it really easy to meet people and make friends; at the beginning of each year the Student Union will usually organise a welcome party for new students and there may be an orientation and separate parties for international students.

Find out about student accommodation in the Republic of Ireland

Where to study?

The Republic of Ireland has several different kinds of institution you can choose to study at, many with excellent reputations - Trinity College, Dublin appearing in QS's top 100 universities in the world. A complete list of universities can be seen here with their world ranking, where appropriate, noted in brackets:

  • All Hallows College
  • American College Dublin
  • Athlone Institute of Technology
  • Burren College of Art
  • Church of Ireland College of Education
  • College of Computer Training
  • Cork Institute of Technology
  • Dublin Business School
  • Dublin City University (366)
  • Dublin Institute of Design
  • Dublin Institute of Technology
  • Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology
  • Dundalk Institute of Technology
  • Gaiety School of Acting
  • Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology
  • Griffith College
  • Hibernia College
  • Institute of Public Administration
  • Institute of Technology, Blanchardstown
  • Institute of Technology, Carlow
  • Institute of Technology, Sligo
  • Institute of Technology, Tallaght
  • National University of Ireland, Galway (280)
  • National University of Ireland, Maynooth
  • Trinity College, Dublin (71)
  • University College Cork (230)
  • University College Dublin (139)
  • University of Limerick
  • Mary Immaculate College, Limerick
  • Uversity, Dublin
  • Institute of Technology, Tralee
  • Letterkenny Institute of Technology, Letterkenny
  • Limerick Institute of Technology, Limerick
  • Waterford Institute of Technology, Waterford
  • IBAT College, Dublin
  • ICD Business School
  • Independent College, Dublin
  • National College of Ireland, Dublin

Useful links

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General external links

Tuition fees and finance

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