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Universities for Expats in Ireland

Submitted: October 2014

There are seven public universities in Ireland, five of which are ranked in the top 500 universities in the world. There are also 14 public institutes of technology and seven private colleges. There is a world university ranking site here showing how Irish universities and colleges rank globally. All public universities and other institutions in Ireland are funded by the State, so there are no tuition fees for Irish students. Free tuition also extends to undergraduate students who have been resident in an EEA member state or Switzerland for at least 3 out of 5 years prior to the beginning of the course; this is subject to some further conditions which are explained in detail here. Universities and colleges can however charge a student contribution of up to €2,750 which is intended to cover the costs of student services and exams. There is an intermediate EU fee rate which is available to certain students who do not qualify for free tuition, the actual EU fees payable by these students varies, as they are set individually by the institutions themselves. All other students pay full fees, which again vary between institutions.  EU fees for most courses are around €7,500 per year; full fees are around €20,000.

Entry into higher education is decided on a points system based on the best six results achieved in the Leaving Certificate examinations. Individual universities and colleges will have different points requirements for the courses that they offer. There is a calculator here which converts exam results into points. Most Irish universities and colleges will also accept students on the basis of their IB results; there is some information regarding this here. There is a table of equivalence between IB and Leaving Certificate results here. GCSE/GCE results are also acceptable and there is a table of equivalence here which generally applies to all institutions. A minimum requirement for most institutions is four passes at GCSE level at grade C or above including both English and maths, and two passes at GCE A level at grade C or above.

As an expat, you should be aware that many Gaelic-related courses are partly conducted in Irish Gaelic, so fluency or near-fluency in the language is often a prerequisite for entry into these courses in Ireland. If you are looking for a qualification to show that you are proficient in Irish, you can study for the Teastas Eorpach na Gaeilge (TEG) European Certificate in Irish examination. TEG offer diplomas at six different levels similar to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) from A1 to C2. TEG Certificates are the only official qualification in Irish. If you are intending to study for a course that is taught in Irish, you may find that this qualification will increase your chances of admission.

If you are intending to study in Ireland, you may require a visa. Residents of many countries around the world do not need entry visas prior to entering Ireland; the countries that this applies to are in Schedule 1on the list held by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade here.




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