Study in Ireland
Ireland’s excellent reputation for education and its welcoming culture has made it an increasingly attractive place for foreign students. Two further factors play in to Ireland’s growing popularity. First, being part of the EU helps to make it an easy and accessible student destination for students from within the EU. Further, English being the main language of instruction also makes it highly attractive for students from all over the world.
Ireland is historically known as the “Island of Saints and Scholars” and has a long and strong tradition of education. This has meant that education has always been highly valued and a focus for funding and development. It has also been a major factor in Ireland’s economic success in recent years. Among other things, Ireland was named “Best Place in the World to Live” by the Economist in 2005 and was ranked the second wealthiest country per capita in the world by the UN Development Program (2005).
Whether you plan to study in Ireland as an exchange student, as a regular student or simply participate in short-term summer courses in Ireland, you will not only enjoy the friendliness and hospitality of the Irish people, but also the international atmosphere and the high quality of Ireland’s higher education institutions and research institutes.
At post-secondary or the third level institutions of higher education offer bachelor degrees of three years, master degrees of one to two years and doctorate degrees. Some institutions also offer shorter certificate and diploma courses. There are nine Universities in Ireland – 2 in Northern Ireland and 7 in the Republic of Ireland. International students are welcome to study at any third level institution. These universities offer bachelor, master and doctorate programs in addition to a wide range of research.
There are also 14 institutes of Technology that offer programs at degree, national diploma and national certificate levels in a wide range of subjects such as engineering and science. All education at the institutes is validated by Ireland’s national certification authority to ensure that the education provided holds the highest international standard. Many institutes of technology hold postgraduate diploma and degree programs, both taught and research. A further type of higher education institution in Ireland is the Colleges of Education and independent third level colleges. There are five Colleges of Education for educating primary school teachers. Independent third level colleges offer certificate, diploma and degree programs in such areas as accountancy and business studies, law, humanities, hotel and catering, tourism studies and art. All these colleges have recognition and external accreditation from the national certification authority or alternatively from other institutions such as universities.
Irish higher education institutions offer courses at ordinary and Honors Bachelors, Masters and Doctorate levels and undergraduate and postgraduate diplomas over a full range of disciplines.
Due to its geographic location, Ireland is a popular study destination for international students from non-English speaking nations. The official language of Ireland is Irish but English is the main language which is spoken by most of the localities, and there are a wide variety of English language courses available at all levels of study. Students can take summer courses to learn English as a part of their holiday, or as part of a formal course in preparation for accredited levels of English language.
Business and Management courses are also well-represented in the institutions of Ireland. All manners of Bachelors and Masters Business related courses exist, as well as MBA programs. It is advisable to pursue a subject of study that interests you, as opposed to choosing an education course based on Ireland’s Skilled Occupations List in an effort to migrate to the country upon graduation. The student visa process is separate from skilled migration, and professions on the SOL list change over time. Education in Ireland is a unique opportunity to pursue studies at some of the world’s top universities and other schools in a beautiful, friendly country.
A bachelor requires a completed secondary school education with acceptable results. Masters in Ireland will require a previously completed bachelor or equivalent from and Irish institution or equivalent abroad. A doctorate will require at least a master degree in your chosen field of research. In some cases, a doctorate also requires a certain amount of work experience for entry. 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 programs. 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 Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma is also accepted as meeting the minimum entry requirement for higher education programs, provided due notice is taken of the various grades and combinations of subjects indicated in the current published entry requirements. Specific program 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.
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 program. 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.