Study in Ireland

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Why Ireland?

  • STUDY in one of the best education systems in the world for Higher Education Achievements
  • BENEFIT from Ireland’s investment in the education system
  • CHOOSE  from over 5000 internationally recognised qualifications
  • ACCESS world-class research opportunities in world-leading programmes
  • CONNECT with career opportunities with leading global companies located in Ireland
  • ACHIEVE your ambitions in Europe’s most entrepreneurial country
  • JOIN the 35,000 international students from 161 countries enjoying Ireland’s vibrant culture
  • LIVE in the only English speaking country in the Euro Zone
  • EXPERIENCE living in one of the friendliest and safest countries in the world

The Irish Government invests over 782 million annually in research in Ireland’s higher education institutions. The impact of this funding is that Ireland’s higher education institutions now lead  the world in an increasing number of fields.

Irish universities are in the top 1% of research institutions in the world in terms of research impact in 19 fields, spanning natural sciences, social sciences and the humanities. This creates a unique opportunity for you at undergraduate and postgraduate level to join research programmes that are driving innovation and changing lives worldwide.

Ireland is also where some of the world’s biggest and best companies have located key, strategic research facilities. And in Ireland, you’ll find a unique ecosystem that sees academic researchers working hand-in-hand with small home-grown and start-up companies in partnership with some of the most powerful multinationals on the planet through a programme for shared research projects developed by Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland.

How to Apply - Undergraduate - Non EU Applicants

  • Academic Entry Requirements
    Entry requirements for courses may vary from year to year, depending on the number of places available and the number of applicants, so there is a great deal of competition for the more popular programmes.  Irish students compete for entry based on results achieved in the Irish Leaving Certificate Examination. Students are graded on their six best subject scores.
    The International Bacculaureate (IB) Diploma is also accepted as meeting the minimum entry requirement for higher education programmes, provided due notice is taken of the various grades and combinations of subjects indicated in the current published entry requirements. Specific programme and faculty requirements must be met at all institutions. All applications are assessed individually and the Diploma does not guarantee admission. Individual institutions may stipulate requirements additional to the minimum required.English Language Requirements
    A good grasp of the English language is essential for students whose first language is not English. You need to be able to understand, converse and write English well as it is the language of instruction at all Irish institutions of higher education.
    Students must show a proficiency in English to be accepted for a degree programme.  Good news – many universities and colleges provide English language training courses for students hoping to study with them. There are also over 100 private English language training schools nationwide which run short and long-term courses.  The list below indicates the minimum standards in English which should be met. All English language certificates must have been issued within 2 years of the expected commencement date of your course. In certain circumstances, results in examinations other than those outlined below may be accepted as proof of ability.
Level Required
Irish Leaving Certificate in English
Ordinary level grade D
GCSE English Language
Grade C
GCE O-Level English Language
Grade C
University of Cambridge
Pass in Use of English Examination
Composite score of 6.0- 6.5 with not less than 6.0 in any one component
Cambridge Proficiency
Grade C
Cambridge Advanced
Grade A
ARELS oral examinations
Grade C1
PTE Academic
Minimum Score of 36


If you are interested in applying to study medicine in Ireland, please note that you will have to do the HPAT assessment test which was introduced for EU students applying for undergraduate medicine in the medical schools in Ireland. The score achieved in the HPAT-Ireland examination will be added to the Leaving Certificate points to create a total points score. Students will be eligible to compete for undergraduate medicine places provided they achieve a minimum of 480* points AND meet the matriculation requirements of the Medical School
*subject to change year on year.

For all non-EU applicants please contact the International Office in the college you are interested in applying to.

How to apply - Postgraduate - Non EU applicants

Non-EU Applicants
Students who have lived for a period outside of the EU need to provide evidence to be eligible for EU fees. These necessary documents must be lodged with their application.

Please note:
A student’s registered status (EU/non-EU) cannot be changed during a programme for which they have registered. Full-time education in the EU does not by itself give them the status of residence.

Closing dates vary depending on course and institution. Higher education institutes can be very strict on closing dates so refer carefully to information on your chosen program for more details. These can be found on the higher education institute’s website.
Every higher education institute will need certain information and documents to help them process your application quickly. Certain programmes may also need other identity proof.

For all non-EU applicants applying for a postgraduate course at one of the Irish Higher Education Institutitions, you can apply through the Postgraduate Application Centre (PAC) website. For the courses and colleges that are not listed on the Postgraduate Application Centre (PAC) website. Please apply directly to the college you are interested in.

Tuition Costs

Tuition costs vary depending on the course, the institution and whether you are classified as an EU student or non-EU student. They also fluctuate so make sure to double-check the fees with your chosen institution before you begin the application process.

Non EU Undergraduate Tuition Costs

Tuition costs vary considerably depending on the institution and the study programme. Tuition costs do not remain static, so it is important to double-check fees with theInstitution(s) you are considering applying to. Tuition fees for 2016/2017 for undergraduate, non-E.U. students at a higher education institution are as follows: 

Course average fees

   Medicine and related

   €37,128 – €52,000


   €10,000 – €21,600

   Science & Technology

   €10,000 – €21,600

   Arts & Humanities

   €10,000 – €16,500


   €10,000 – €16,000

Tuition Costs EU (undergraduate)

Tuition fees will be paid by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) for Irish / EU nationals entering third level for the first time and who have been ordinarily resident in the EU for at least 3 of the 5 years preceding entry to third level unless they fall into one of the following categories:

  1. Students repeating a semester / year
    b. Students pursuing a second undergraduate course

The HEA stipulates that students who already hold a Level 6 or a Level 7 qualification and are progressing to a Level 8 course in a different general area of study will not be deemed eligible for free (tuition) fees.

The detailed eligibility criteria for Free (Tuition) Fees is set out on

If you do not qualify for either “free” fees or EU fees you will be liable for the full rate of non-EU (International) fees.

Student Contribution Fee 2015/16

If you are eligible under the Higher Education Free Fees scheme you will have to pay the Student Contribution; the ‘free fees’ scheme will pay the other element of the published programme fee. A charge of €3,000 is payable by each student to cover non-tuition student services such as examination entry fees, support for student services and support for student clubs and societies. These charges are regulated by the Department of Education and Skills. From September 2014, an Irish, EU, EEA or Swiss student who has spent at least five years in primary school or second level school in Ireland can avail of EU fee rates.

Non-EU Postgraduate Tuition Costs

Tuition costs vary considerably depending on the institution and the study programme. Tuition costs do not remain static, so it is important to double check fees with theInstitution(s) you are considering applying to. Tuition fees for 2015/2016 for Postgraduate, non-E.U. students at a higher education institution are as follows:
Course average fees

   Medicine and related

   €12,035 – €51,635


   €10,500 – €19,500

   Science & Technology

   €10,500 – €18,000

   Arts & Humanities

   €10,500 – €20,000


   €10,500 – €30,000

Tuition Costs EU (postgraduate)

Average tuition fees for 2014/2015 for postgraduate, E.U. students at a higher education institution in Ireland are as follows:

Course Average Fees

   Medicine & Related

   From €3,800 to €21,000


   From €5,500 to €9,000

   Science & Technology

   From €5,000 to €10,000

   Arts & Humanities

   From €4,400 to €9,600


   From  €6,000 to €30,000

Graduate students ordinarily resident* in the EU/EEA/ Swiss Confederation** for a minimum of 3 years prior to registration  may be entitled to pay fees at the standard EU rate. Graduate students who are not, or have not been, ordinarily resident* for the minimum required period in the EU/EEA/ Swiss Confederation must pay tuition fees at the non-EU (International) rate.


*Ordinarily resident  means being resident in the EU/EEA/Swiss Confederation for a minimum of 183 days in any one calendar year for a minimum of 3 years
**EU/EEA/Swiss Confederation click here for a list of countries
From September 2014, an Irish, EU, EEA or Swiss student who has spent at least five years in primary school or second level school in Ireland can avail of EU fee rates.
If you do not qualify for EU fees you can be charged non-EU fees. Each third-level educational institution sets its own fee rates. You should contact the ones you are interested in to find out more about their fees.
Following the Minister for Education’s announcement  17 March 2014 regarding changes to how third level fees for the children of Irish emigrants will be assessed, the current position is as follows:
The planned changes apply to new undergraduate entrants from the 2014/15 academic session onwards.
This does not affect the rules governing entitlement to free fees for undergraduate study. The planned changes relate to students being eligible for the EU fee rate rather than the Non-EU fee for their programme.
Documentary evidence of completion of at least five academic years of study in the EU/EEA/Switzerland (at either primary or post-primary) will be required by the University. e.g. confirmation/certification from the schools attended.

Living Costs

Before deciding to study Ireland, you should ensure that you have sufficient funds to cover your costs of living. For students who require a visa, being able to demonstrate this will form part of your application. While you may be able to undertake part-time work during your time here, you should not have to rely on this income to meet all your expenses.

Precisely how much you will need will vary depending on where you are studying in Ireland, on the type of accommodation you choose and, of course, on your own personal lifestyle.  But, on average, we estimate that a student will spend between €7,000 and €11,000 per year.

One-Off Costs
As well as your course costs, there are other one-off costs (this means costs which you only have to pay once, not regularly) which you may have to pay if you are travelling to Ireland. Make a note of the ones which apply to you and estimate the total cost of these.

  • Visa application
  • Travel insurance
  • Medical insurance
  • Post/baggage to/from Ireland
  • Registration with police
  • Television
  • Mobile phone
  • Deposit for Accommodation

Student Visa Requirements

Like most other countries,  Ireland requires candidates from many non-EU countries to have a visa to come and study in Ireland. If you are a citizen of any of the non-EU countries on this list, then you do not need a visa to study in Ireland. However, if you are a citizen of a country not named on this list, you must apply for a visa before you travel to Ireland. The student immigration process is divided into two categories,  based on whether you are applying for a degree programme offered by a higher education institution or you intend to pursue an English-language or non-degree course.

Applying for a Student Visa

You must make your visa application on-line using the AVATS on-line facility , the online visa application facility is available worldwide and must be used by all applicants.
Your application will only be processed when the on-line form is completed AND the required documentation, passport photograph and appropriate fee are received by the relevant office as indicated by the on-line system.
You should read the visa application details very carefully. If you do not provide the documentation required, your visa will be refused.
Some points for you to note. When making an application you must:

  • Complete the online application form
  • Check the Irish Embassy details where your documentation is to be sent
  • Provide a passport sized photo
  • Ensure your passport is valid for 12 months
  • Pay the application fee
  • Provide a signed letter of application which explains why you require the visa
  • A Letter of Acceptance from the Irish university, college or school, confirming you have been accepted and enrolled on a course of full-time education, involving a minimum of 15 hours organised daytime tuition each week.
  • This letter must name you (the applicant) and verify the title/duration of the course
  • It should also confirm the amount of fees payable for your course, and that this amount has been paid.
  • If the college has taken out medical insurance on your behalf, details of this must be contained in this letter of acceptance. If it is not arranged by the college, you must organise this yourself and provide evidence with your application.

Evidence of Payment of Fees

Evidence that all fees have been paid prior to the visa application being submitted. These applications should contain either

  • A copy of an Electronic Transfer of Funds from the applicant to the Irish Bank of the college, showing details of the beneficiary’s name, address, bank details and the same details for sender and a copy of a letter/receipt from the Irish college confirming that the fee has bee received or
  • A valid receipt showing that the course fees have been lodged to an approved student fees payment service.
  • Where the course fees are less than €6000 fees must be paid in full to the college. Where the course fees are in excess of €6000, you must pay at least this amount. The minimum amount is an Immigration requirement. However, the college you wish to attend may require full payment of fees.
  • Fees paid to the college are a matter between the student and the college. However, in the event of the visa application being refused the college should refund the fee ( minus any small administration charge) within a reasonable period.
  • Show evidence of language proficiency, you must show that you have the capacity to fully partake in your chosen course through the medium of English.  INIS requires IELTS of 5 but most Irish universities and colleges generally require IELTS of 6.5
  • Make sure you keep copies of all documents submitted
  • If you are applying from China, India, Nigeria, Russia, United Arab Emirates or the United Kingdom, please also check the Irish Embassy website for details of further documentation which may be required.


You must provide evidence that you have access to sufficient funds to cover your tuition fees and cost of living expenses. You must show you have sufficient funds to support your stay in Ireland without recourse to public funds, or the reliance on casual employment.  In order to provide evidence of access to sufficient finances you will need:

  • A detailed statement of your bank account covering a six-month period immediately prior to your visa application, and showing sufficient funds to cover your costs.
  • Produce official confirmation that you are in receipt of a scholarship

Note: The estimated cost of living in Ireland for a student for one academic year is €7,000. You must demonstrate that you or your sponsor has ready access to an amount of at least €7,000 for each year of your studies, in addition to the course fees for each of those years. Where NON-EEA Students are studying for a period of less than 6 months the non-EEA Student must have access to €500 per month of the stay or €3000 whichever is the lesser.
Alternative Evidence of Finance – Degree Programme Students
A pilot programme has now been introduced that would allow degree programme students to provide an alternative to bank statements as a method of proof of finances.  The alternative method is an “education bond” with a minimum value of €7,000.  The bond must be lodged to an approved student fees payment service (e.g. the electronic fee payment service offered by EduStep)

Checking on your visa status

  • You should apply as early as possible for your visa as it normally takes eight weeks for it to be processed but in busy periods it may take longer than this.
  • You can check online to see if your visa has been processed (using your Visa Application Number). This list is updated weekly.
  • If you get approval for a visa, the Embassy to which you sent your documents will affix a visa to your passport.
  • If you are refused a visa you may appeal the decision within 2 months.

Note: Ireland is not a member of the Schengen Agreement. You will, therefore, still have to apply for an Irish visa even if you have a visa for a Schengen country.