Why Study in Ireland

Ireland, known as the ‘Land of Saints and Scholar’s, also famous as the land of elves, leprechauns, castles, warriors, and balladeers. Ireland’s reputation for high-quality education has made the nation a frontrunner in the education sector is a culturally rich country with traditions deep-rooted in history. It has close links with other English-speaking countries of the world, especially the UK and the US. The country’s long and acclaimed tradition of excellence in providing high-quality education is recognised the world over. Historically, Ireland has been one of the eminent seats of education in Europe. It retains the reputation till date with successive modern governments attaching equal regard and importance to education.

Higher education in Ireland consists of universities, institutes of technology, colleges of education, and specialist colleges. Side by side with technology courses, the institutes of technology cover a wide range of vocational programmes in subjects including hospitality, healthcare, media, textiles, etc. Specialist colleges on the other hand offer courses in a single subject area. However, overseas education in Ireland attracts a major chunk of Indian students in literature, technology, communications, history, and environmental studies.

Every year almost 200,000 students from all over the world come to study in Ireland, and this number grows each year. This steady increase points towards the fact that Ireland has a great blend of high-quality education and opportunities of an enriching cultural experience to offer to international students. With great employability, rich cuisine and culture, and one of the warmest people on the planet, we have listed down 10 great reasons why Ireland should be on the top of your list of preferred overseas education destinations.

The higher education system in Ireland is broad in scope and encompasses the university sector, the technological sector, the colleges of education and private, independent colleges. The institutions which fall within the first three groupings are autonomous and self-governing, but substantially state funded. Education has been a key factor in making Ireland one of the fastest growing economies in the world over the past decade. “Cooperative Education” involves placement of students in employment relevant to their Degree programmes for six or eight months during their undergraduate studies. Some Institutions in Ireland adopts this model as an integral part of the academic programme.

    Cost Of Living & Studying

  • The annual tuition fee varies from 8000 to 15,000 Euros (i.e. RS. 6 lakhs to Rs12 lakhs) depending on the program and institution. The approximate annual living expense of an Indian Student is projected as 7000 Euros.
  • An exact estimation about the cost of living of a student at Ireland may be difficult since no two people live in the same way. However for a nine-month academic year, in addition to course fees and other academic expenses an international student living in Ireland will need approximately € 7000.
  • University College Dublin (UCD) and Trinity College Dublin (TCD) make annual estimates for students living outside their family home. Their estimates for the academic year 2013-2014 were € 9036 and € 10 500 respectively. These figures include rent, electricity, food, books and laundry and medicine as well as travel and social life expenses.
  • These figures are near the minimum sum needed for a person to survive in Ireland. Costs can be higher or lower according to the way of life the person chooses to lead. Costs should be increased proportionately if you are calculating costs for a period of one full year.

    Courses and Universities

True Ireland MBA programs like ‘SMURFIT’ are among the top MBA programs in the world and not in the very reach of normal Indian student (work experience, GMAT scores and excellent academic background are the basic entry requirements). However there are good institutions that offer MBA programs for fresh gradates and such MBA programs are very popular among Indian students. Being the silicon valley of Europe with all major IT giants like Facebook, Google having their European headquarters in Ireland, Computer Science (IT Programs) are always among the most popular courses in Ireland.

Civil/Construction engineering and other engineering disciplines, hospitality/tourism management, pharmacy, psychoanalysis etc. are the other popular programs which majority of the students opt for.

There are nine universities in Ireland - 2 in Northern Ireland and 7 in the Republic.
The University of Dublin, Trinity College (TCD), founded in 1592, is the oldest university in Ireland.
The National University of Ireland (NUI) is a federal institute consisting of four constituent universities; University College Dublin, National University of Ireland Dublin; University College Cork, National University of Ireland Cork; National University of Ireland Galway and National University of Ireland Maynooth.
NUI also has three recognized colleges: National College of Art and Design (NCAD), The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and St. Angela's College of Education. The University of Limerick (UL) and Dublin City University (DCU) are our newest universities and were founded in 1989. The two universities in Northern Ireland are: the University of Ulster (UU) and the Queen's University of Belfast (QUB).

    Eligibility Test Requirements

For postgraduate programs most of the good universities prefer a first class or high second class honors degree. In the undergraduate level most of the good universities look for 75% or higher.

Most of the institutions have only one intake that begins in September. Recently few institutions have started accepting students for February intake, but this is not available for all programs.

International English Language Testing System is normally known as IELTS which is administered by University of Cambridge Local Examination Syndicate (UCLES), British Council and IDP Education Australia. The score of IELTS is valid for 2 years. The test fee comprises Rs. 11,800/. For more info visit the official website at www.britishcouncil.org or www.ieltsindia.com. Students can make registration either in person or by mail.

TOEFL is Test of English as a Foreign Language. The test is conducted by ETS (Educational Testing Service) and the test fee is $130. Those who want to study in UK have to clear the test with definite scores. The score is valid for 2 years and the score is sent to 4 universities by ETS free of cost at the time of exam. ETS charges additionally for scores sent to universities later. For more info visit the official website at www.toefl.org or www.ets.org

The Pearson Test of English Academic. PTE Academic is a computer-based academic English language test aimed at non-native English speakers wanting to study abroad. It tests Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking

How much will it cost?
Average tuition fees are about €25,000 per year and average living expenses are about €10,000 per year. Each university has it own requirements and fee structure. Fees vary from institute to institute and some programs including an MBA have higher fees.

Popular study courses in Ireland
Business and Administration
Business and Administration is quite a popular area of study in Ireland. Many universities in Ireland offer courses in this field at different levels. The courses are structured to prepare students for an employment output. Apart from conceptual knowledge of the field, students are also imparted with practical training in the form of internships and trainings so as to turn them into successful business managers and entrepreneurs.

Information Technology
Going by the global trend, information technology has maintained its popularity in Ireland with institutes such as Dublin Institute of Technology and Trinity College offering courses in the discipline. Well aware of the fact that Information Technology now lies at the heart of every business and every organization across the globe, many universities offer rigorous programs in the fields related to Information Technology.

Engineering is an evergreen area of study. Ireland, too, offers excellent study opportunities for students who wish to pursue engineering courses. Universities in Ireland offer courses in various sub disciplines within engineering such as electronic, electrical, mechanical, automobile, biomedical etc. The course equips students with hard core engineering skills along with a sound conceptual base.

    Admission and Application Procedure

It is highly recommended that you begin your application process at least 6 months prior to course commencement date (Preferably by March for September admissions). Majority of the post graduate applications are administered through Post Graduate Application centre (PAC) which is a common application system for many universities and institutes of technologies. Also Ireland Education authorized representatives (Like Global Education) will be able to process the application more effectively and efficiently.

VISA PROCESS Students need to submit the application to Ireland Embassy in India through online applications and the supporting documents needs to be processed through Visa Facilitation centres (VFS). Normal processing times are 4-6 weeks and may take higher during peak seasons.

Normally first year fees need to be paid prior to the visa application. But students applying to certain universities and institutions are allowed to lodge the applications without paying first year fees under ‘Approval In Principle” (AIP Scheme), where you can pay the fee once the visa is approved in principle. However the embassy will stamp the visa only after submission Proof of first year fees paid.


  • Copies of your educational qualifications.
  • Letter of acceptance from a recognized school/college/university confirming that you have been accepted on a course of study. The course of study must be full time and havea minimum of 15 hours per week study time.
  • Evidence that the fees have been paid in full.
  • Evidence that you have sufficient funds to maintain yourself for the entire duration of your stay.

Studying and living in Ireland
a) Attend secondary school in Ireland and complete the Leaving Certificate Examination with Irish students. This route is chosen by a number of students who commonly take the examination in conjunction with English language tuition.

b) Undertake recognized public examinations in their own countries. This is a more common route and it is essential that every applicant check that the educational qualifications she/he is presenting are adequate to satisfy entry requirements. To have a realistic prospect these results should be very good, e.g. for medicine 3 good ‘A’ Level passes (grades A/B) or the equivalent, in relevant subjects are required. The minimum requirement for most degree level programmers is 3 grade ‘C’s at A level or equivalent. If there is any doubt about the acceptability of an applicant’s qualifications, clarification should be sought in good time from the particular third level institution.

As English is the language of instruction at all Irish Institutions of higher education, students must demonstrate a proficiency in English to be accepted for a third level programme. Generally, the required minimum score in TOEFL is 550. Many universities and colleges provide English Language training programmes for intending students. Furthermore, there are over 110 private English language training schools throughout the country which run both short and long terms courses.

Travelling and arriving in Ireland
Things you need to know:
Emergency number in Ireland: 999 OR 112
The police in Ireland are called GARDA, plural Gardaí (pronounced ‘gardee’). They patrol the streets on foot and in cars and are unarmed. Conditions for all non-EEA Students (http://www.inis.gov.ie/) There are conditions that all students (both visa required and non-visa required) must satisfy before they will be granted permission to remain in Ireland as a student.

You can book accommodation with the institution that you choose to study in or you can go into the private sector. For private sector accommodation, students are recommended to arrive at least 2 weeks prior to the start of the term. Most rented accommodation is furnished however the standard will vary according to price points. For Dublin, The Evening Herald is the best newspaper for private accommodation listings. For Cork and Limerick, the newspaper, Evening Echo can be a good source of adverts.

Another alternative is ‘digs’. This is living in a family home with the landlord. You can choose to have your own room or share with another student. Depending on your budget, options are available.

All Indian students must register in person with the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) after arrival and after completion of registration at the institution of choice if their stay in Ireland is for more than 90 days. The visa that you get is your permission to enter Ireland. Once you register at your institution, you get a set of documents to be presented to GNIB which grants your student visa.

It is cheaper to cook your food than eating out. All basic ingredients, fruits and vegetables are available in the main supermarkets. The supermarkets that are conveniently located all over Ireland are Tesco and Dunnes Stores. Superquinn which is mainly located in Leinster (convenient for Dublin based students) and Musgrave Supervalu are other popular supermarkets. Cut price brands Aldi and Lidl have also opened more than 100 stores in Ireland, however they store limited range. Having said that, they offer good discounts. Vegetarians should not have problems as there are shops that stock food stuff aimed at vegetarians.

Indian students are advised to obtain private health insurance in Ireland. Some institutions include insurance in the fees they advise to students. It is best to have a plan that is valid in Ireland. There are different levels of private health insurance available. Basic plans cost €120 and are available from companies like O’Driscoll O’Neil Insurance Brokers (www.odon.ie). These are plans that you can purchase before you arrive in Ireland and satisfies the visa requirement as well. More comprehensive plans are available from companies like VHI Healthcare, AVIVA and Quinn-Healthcare. However they have conditions like an address in Ireland and PPS Number (all employees in Ireland have a PPS number for tax purposes). You would also need to wait for your coverage to begin which can be 26 weeks. Some of these companies might have student discounts, you would have to check with them.

If you are within 22 years of age, it is advised that you get Meningitis C vaccination done in India. The other recommended vaccinations are against MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) and Chicken Pox.

All third level institutions will have an accommodation officer or advisor who can provide information for you about accommodation on, or close to your campus. The following options are generally available:

Self-catering accommodation includes a large number of options from a room in a shared house to a large private apartment. While self-catering accommodation can offer full independence, the prospective student should be aware that there can be significant set-up costs associated with self-catering accommodation. You will be required to pay the first month’s rent and a deposit in advance. The deposit is normally the same amount as the monthly rental figure. Minimum lease period is usually 1 year and if you vacate prior to this period you will be liable to pay rent for the remaining period. Please note that miscellaneous items might have to be purchased e.g. crockery, cooking utensils, bed linen etc.

Most universities and a number of other colleges offer on-campus accommodation. This can range from a single or shared room in a large apartment to a one-bedroomed apartment. Your institution of choice will be able to provide you with full details of the options on offer.

Many international students, particularly in the first year, opt to choose family based accommodation. This means a private room in a family home where two meals (generally breakfast and evening meal), utility costs and laundry services are provided. Again the institution you are applying to will have lists of experienced families in the area who provide approved accommodation for international students.

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