Study in Ireland

Country flag: Ireland

With thousands of postgraduate courses to choose from, Ireland could be the perfect place to further your studies while taking in some traditional Gaelic culture

Ireland is renowned for educational excellence and with one of the youngest populations in Europe, students will be in good company should they decide to further their studies in the emerald isle.

This English speaking country provides a safe and friendly place to study and its rich history in arts and culture, coupled with coastal landscapes, unspoiled countryside and metropolitan cities will combine to offer an endless list of leisure opportunities when your nose isn't to the grindstone studying.

The Irish education system

There are numerous types of higher education institutions in Ireland:

Over the next two decades the Irish higher education system will undergo major reorganisation based on recommendations by the Higher Education Authority (HEA).

Entry requirements

The entry requirements for postgraduate study differ from university to university, course to course. However, most courses require an undergraduate degree, usually a minimum of a 2:2, in a related discipline. Some courses may require a 2:1 and this higher grade may increase your chances of gaining entry onto the more popular courses.

Make sure you understand the requirements for the specific course that interests you before applying and contact the institution to clarify if necessary.

Course fees

Citizens of the European Union (EU) are entitled to attend university in Ireland or any EU country (this means the 27 member states plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway). The same conditions apply to all EU citizens whether a national of the country or not. This means that you are not required to pay higher course fees than Irish students and you are entitled to apply for any grants available to help with tuition fees.

Postgraduate course fees in Ireland are set each year and will differ from institution to institution but costs can be considerably higher for non-EU students.

Ireland also operates a free fees scheme for undergraduate study, whereby students attending publically funded courses do not have to pay tuition fees; this is also available to EU nationals who meet a range of other criteria. For more information, see Citizens Information - Third-Level Student Fees and Charges .

Funding to study in Ireland

The Irish Student Grant Scheme is split into two parts: maintenance grants; and fee grants.

Maintenance grants go towards students' general living costs and are usually means tested. They also have a number of conditions based on nationality, residence and immigration status.

Fee grants are designed to cover students' tuition fees, cost of field trips or student contribution. Eligibility of EU students is also subject to stringent requirements.

Other institutions may offer separate grants or bursaries.

Postgraduates may receive financial assistance with the cost of tuition fees but are not eligible for a maintenance grant.

This kind of funding can be prone to change and you may not be eligible if you are an EU student who hasn't lived in Ireland before. To check what assistance you're entitled to, visit Citizens Information - Grants for Students in Further and Higher Education  or Student Finance Ireland .

Non-EU/European Economic Area (EEA) students are ineligible for Student Grant Scheme funding.

Irish exchanges and placements

Students attending UK universities can take part in the EU's education, training and youth support programme Erasmus+ . The scheme replaces its predecessor 'Erasmus' and offers study, training, work experience and voluntary placements to millions of young people, students and adults. Opportunities last from three months to one academic year.

Financial support is available through the Erasmus+ initiative to any UK public, private or not-for-profit organisation actively involved in education and training.

Your university must have a formal agreement with a partner university in Ireland. Check that your university is involved in the programme and offers the Erasmus+ scheme in your subject.

Speak to the Erasmus+ coordinator at your university about available opportunities.

Student visas

As an EU citizen, you are permitted to live in any EU country while studying as long as you:

Some countries require you to register with the local authority after three months. Find out how to register at Europa - Rights, Conditions and Formalities .

If you are a non-EU student, find out your visa requirements for studying in Ireland at Citizens Information - Student Visas to Study in Ireland .  

Work in Ireland

Country flag: Ireland

If you want to work in Ireland do some background research into the job market and available opportunities before packing your bags and heading to the Emerald Isle

Job market in Ireland

The key sectors of the Irish economy are services, industry and exportation.

Within industry, chemicals, computer equipment and food products are all big contributors to gross domestic product (GDP).

Trade and exportation have grown hugely in recent years. The country is one of the world's largest software exporters thanks to low taxation, its geographical location and the fact that English is an official language of the country.

As a result, industry giants in ICT, pharmaceuticals, social media and finance all have offices in Ireland, these large multinational companies include:

Ireland was hit significantly by the global economic downturn, which caused firms to cut back on recruitment. The outlook now appears to be improving.

Sectors that are in need of skilled workers include:

Candidates without work experience or third-level qualifications may, however, be overlooked.

Job vacancies

Search for jobs in Ireland at:

Work experience and internships in Ireland

Because of the competitive job market in Ireland, candidates are more likely to secure a role in the country if they have relevant work experience.

Depending on the industry in which you want to work, you could contact firms individually to see if they have a scheme in place.

Alternatively, there are numerous services for helping people secure work experience, including:

Internships and summer work placements for students can also be arranged by:

Volunteering in Ireland

Voluntary work is a great way of boosting your CV and showing prospective employers that you are dedicated to learning and improving your skills.

Volunteer Ireland , the country's single national volunteering organisation, assists people who want to help out across the country.

The European Commission (EC) funds a scheme called The European Voluntary Service (EVS) , which is aimed at people aged 18 to 30 wishing to volunteer abroad. It offers young people the chance to volunteer for up to 12 months in a number of European and non-European countries.

Opportunities vary from placements concerned with sport and culture to others focused on social care and the environment. For successful applicants, accommodation, travel, food and insurance are all covered by a European grant and you even receive a personal allowance each month.

Make sure you thoroughly research all volunteering opportunities and always check the terms and conditions before committing yourself to a scheme.

Language requirements

English and Irish (also known as Gaelic or Gaeilge) are the two official languages of Ireland, although English is the first language of the majority of the country.

Despite Irish not being spoken on a daily basis, it is an important part of the country's heritage and identity.

Good English skills will be sufficient for most jobs, although some knowledge of Irish might help.

Irish visas and immigration

According to the EC, European Union (EU) citizens have the right to:

For more information and to check what conditions and restrictions apply, see:

A Personal Public Service (PPS) number is a unique reference number offering access to public services and social welfare benefits. It is automatically issued to all Irish citizens. Non-Irish nationals can apply for a PPS number on arrival in the country. For more information, visit Citizens Information - Personal Public Service Number .

EU nationals may also be able to transfer certain types of health and social security coverage to their host country. For country-specific information on social security entitlements, see European Commission - Your Rights Country by Country .

Written by Editor, Graduate Prospects
July 2014