If you’re considering studying abroad for your bachelor's or master's studies, and you are interested in diving into a new culture and engaging in an experience that will inspire you to step outside of your comfort zone, then studying abroad in Ireland in 2020 might be a great choice for you. SchoolApply specializes in helping students from around the world apply to and gain acceptance to the university that is the right fit for them. Ireland is home to plenty of universities that meet the needs and preferences of SchoolApply students and its popularity as a study abroad destination continues to grow.


Why study abroad in Ireland?

Ireland’s Ministry of Education strives to build stronger bridges between education and the wider community. This includes making Ireland more attractive to international students by improving the capacity to meet skills needs, placing more focus on entrepreneurship, creativity, and innovation, and growing a more vibrant research community. On top of its stellar education system, the Republic of Ireland has a rich culture, beautiful scenery, and affordable university tuition fees – even for non-EU students.

If you’re interested in travel, there are many places in Ireland that you can visit on day trips. While you live and study in Ireland, plan on visiting Galway, Dublin (if you’re not studying there already), Cork, and Killarney.

Low-cost quality education, a range of higher education institutes and programs to choose from, a fascinating culture steeped in tradition, lush rolling hills, and plenty of new places to explore, studying abroad in Ireland is a life-changing opportunity that’s totally within reach!

Finding the right university in Ireland

SchoolApply can introduce you to many top universities throughout Ireland. These schools include:

The National College of Ireland
Mary Immaculate College
Cork Institute of Technology
IT Carlow
Trinity College Dublin
American College Dublin

Several of these well-reputed universities and colleges are located in Ireland’s capital, Dublin. This city is a great study location for those who like to keep busy – historical tours, sports events, concerts, arts, and entertainment, and an active nightlife keeps this city buzzing. The National College of Ireland, located in Ireland’s capital city, offers programs in business and management and much more.

Trinity College Dublin presents a beautiful campus made up of old buildings located close to the city center, which ensures its global reputation will stay intact for a long time to come. Trinity proudly offers programs in arts, humanities, and social sciences, engineering, math, and science, and boasts famous alumni such as author Oscar Wilde.

Established in 1993, American College Dublin is a branch campus of Irish American University and is a private, non-profit liberal arts school. This small Irish- and American-accredited college is known for its multiculturalism and is home to students from over 35 different countries. Over 60% of the small student body are international students.

Colleges outside of Dublin offer another view of the country. Located just outside the historic city of Limerick, Mary Immaculate College offers programs in education and humanities and prides itself on being a top-quality liberal arts college. The campus has grown significantly over the past decade, offering students state-of-the-art amenities and a prime location near an international airport and the beautiful River Shannon. Mary Immaculate provides students with a wonderful opportunity to experience Ireland’s quaint and personal side.

IT Carlow is another great college in a thriving town that is only an hour’s drive from Dublin. This institute of technology offers many courses such as engineering and science, business, and computing. Carlow offers the comforts of a small town but is never far away from a big city full of opportunities for adventure.

Cork Institute of Technology also offers a wide range of programs with a strong emphasis on engineering and science. It also offers programs in music, art, and design. This historic school located in Ireland’s second-largest city, Cork, has over 12,000 students and offers an authentic west coast vibe. Public transportation is incredibly convenient and makes it easy for students to explore the beauty of Ireland’s west coast and all it has to offer.

If you’re not sure where to start in your search for universities and programs in Ireland, then look no further than SchoolApply. We will take your goals, needs, and preferences into consideration when we create a list of Irish universities that would be a good match for you.

SchoolApply has partnered with some of the most prestigious and highly ranked colleges in Ireland.

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Applying to universities in Ireland

If you’ve ever looked into studying in the United Kingdom, you may be familiar with UCAS: the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service. It’s a centralized application system that every prospective UK student is required to use. Ireland has something similar, called CAO: the Central Application Office. Most students use the CAO website (www.cao.ie) to submit their applications to Irish universities and colleges.

There is one key difference between the CAO and UCAS: applicants from outside of the European Union are often not eligible to use the CAO. An exception to this rule is non-EU passport holders who have worked in the EU for at least three of the past five years.

Non-EU applicants should contact their dream school’s admissions office or the international office to find out how to apply. Most of the time, they are requested to send in their applications directly to the university. The deadlines for these direct applications vary from school to school. Another option would be to contact SchoolApply – our expert education advisors can let you know about the application deadlines for your preferred school (or schools) and help you prepare your application before submitting it on your behalf.

Whether you are applying through the CAO or by sending your application directly to the university, the requirements are very similar. You will need your high school transcripts translated into English and proof of your English proficiency if English is not your native language. The best way to show off your skills is to complete a test like the IELTS (the International English Language Testing System) or the TOEFL (the Test of English as a Foreign Language). Personal statements are generally not required by Irish universities. Some schools may request references from teachers, professors, or other professional contacts. Keep in mind that many Irish universities are very competitive and the most in-demand Bachelor’s Degrees require very good high school grades and exam scores.

Universities in Ireland tend to make their acceptance decisions fairly late because they wait to receive applicants’ final grades right before they graduate from their preceding program (high school or undergraduate studies). This means that those who apply through the CAO only find out about the schools’ decisions in August or September. Non-EU students, however, get their offers a little earlier, often in July, to give them enough time to get their visa.

Getting your student visa for Ireland

To apply for a student visa for Ireland, you must be admitted to a full-time course from the Interim List of Eligible Programmes (ILEP). If you are attending a program for longer than three months, then you would apply for a “D study visa.” Detailed visa application information can be found on the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service of the Department of Justice and Equality website. Don’t get stressed, we have done most of the work! The student visa application process for Ireland is as follows:

1. You need a letter of acceptance from a recognized school in Ireland for a full-time program.

2. To submit your online visa application, send the following original documents in English or with a notarized translation:

  • Proof of English language proficiency (TOEFL or IELTS score)
  • Receipt for full course fee payment
  • Proof that you can afford living expenses
  • Proof that you are capable of paying future tuition payments
  • A document stating your intent to return to your home country after finishing your program in Ireland
  • Proof of private medical insurance if your school is not providing you with this service
  • Passport photos
  • A passport valid for at least 12 months

3. Complete your application, upload the required documentation, and pay the application fee.

Education in Ireland

A helpful resource for international students who are interested in or planning to study abroad in Ireland is ‘Education in Ireland’. The organization promotes Ireland as a study destination and supports all of the international students who have made Ireland their host country during their university’s studies. Education in Ireland attends fairs around the world with the objective of connecting with international students and makes it possible for representatives and colleges throughout Ireland to promote their universities and their range of programs.

Education in Ireland also has an extremely convenient website for students who are about to embark on their first excursion to the country. This site gives details about obtaining health insurance, registering with the police, opening a bank account, and details on working while studying. All of these extremely helpful tips make the relationship between Ireland and its international visitors easy and manageable, paving the way for the exciting prospect of studying abroad.

Working while studying in Ireland

A lot of students need financial support as they complete their university studies abroad. Education in Ireland makes the process of working and studying as easy as possible for international students. Registered students – from the EU or not – can work up to 20 hours per work and 40 hours during holiday periods.

Shops, grocery stores, cafes, and pubs are well-suited for students because they offer flexible schedules and allow you to balance your part-time employment with your studies and student life. If you are worried about having lower funds than you intended when setting off on your international adventure, don’t worry! Working part-time is an easy option. Most universities guide students in their hunt for a job, and local businesses are familiar with working with students and are happy to hire international students. If you’d like to focus all your energy on studying, SchoolApply can also help you search for scholarships that will ease the financial stress of studying abroad.