1. Higher education in Ireland

1.1 Irish higher education system

According to the IM World Competitiveness Yearbook, Ireland is in the top 20 worldwide for its higher education system.

There are seven universities in Ireland. All seven are in the top 650 of QS World University Rankings. There are also 14 Institutes of Technology. All of these institutions are able to award full degrees. In addition to public institutions, you can find a number of private universities in Ireland.

Ireland is an English-speaking country with a young and multi-cultural population. It has a rich literature culture yet is rightly marketed around the world as the tech-hub of Europe, making it a proven gateway to quality education in diverse subjects and various careers choices.

1.2 Entry requirements for Irish universities

Entry requirements vary from course to course. You will usually need to achieve specific grades in your A levels, IB or other qualifications. Irish universities do not make conditional offers. No one receives an offer from an Irish university until they have received their grades.

1.3 Application process for Irish universities

If you wish to apply to an Irish university you must do so through the Central Applications Office ( This performs a similar function to UCAS in that it is a centralised application process. It differs in many respects, however. You can apply for up to 10 courses at Irish universities. You can change your mind about the courses you wish to apply for throughout the year but can never apply to more than 10 courses.

You will not receive conditional offers from Irish universities. Places at university are not awarded until the results of the Leaving Certificate are known. This is usually around the same time as A’ level results are announced in mid August.

Places are awarded at Irish universities according to the results of the leaving certificate. A levels and IB Diplomas are awarded points that correspond to equivalent to the Irish Leaving Certificate. However, these points differ from the UCAS tariff. It is quite possible for popular courses in Ireland to require a points total that is only achievable with 4 excellent A levels.

Please check the CAO website for further details about the application process. Please contact the individual universities for an indication of the grades that are likely to be required for admission to particular courses.

1.4 Accreditation and recognition

Ireland’s National Framework of Qualifications is a 10-level system that gives an academic or vocational value to qualifications obtained in Ireland. Bachelor's degrees are in level 7 and level 8in the Framework (NFQ Level 7 and NFQ Level 8), equivalent to level 6 in European Qualifications Framework (EQF Level 6) and the first cycle of the Qualifications Framework of the European Higher Education Area (1st EHEA or Bologna cycle). This can be a very useful reference point for EU students who consider employment and opportunities outside Ireland after graduation.

2. How much does it cost to study in Ireland?

2.1 Tuition fees for Irish universities

There are currently no tuition fees in Ireland. However, there are registration fees which are payable each year.  These are currently €3,000 a year. Tuition fees may be reintroduced at some point in the future and they may be significantly higher than the current registration fee.

Private universities in Ireland already charge fees and these are typically around €6,000 per year. The largest private university in Ireland is Griffith College where you can study business, law, journalism, computer science and a range of other subjects.

2.2 Loans and grants

It is worth pointing out that there is no automatic financial aid or student loan scheme in Ireland, meaning that British students choosing to study there may very well have to finance their education and living costs independently. This also applies to Irish students ordinarily resident in the UK.

2.3 Costs of living in Ireland

The cost of living in Ireland varies significantly depending on where you are studying. The Irish Council for International Students estimates that you need between €10,000 and €15,000 (£7,200 – £10,900) to cover living expenses in Dublin for each year of study. Rents and many prices are cheaper in areas outside of Dublin so lower overall costs can be expected. Accommodation costs range from €300 per monthfor a shared room to €700 per month for a flat in Dublin. For food and utilities, you are likely to spend around €280 - €400 per month.

Irish universities also publish their own Cost of Living Guides, which help you calculate more precisely how much it costs in total to complete your Bachelor's degree.

This is a sample monthly budget for students from Dublin Institute of Technology:

Rent €307
Utilities €33
Food €172
Travel €119
Books & Class materials €74
Clothes/Medical €45
Mobile €32
Social life/Misc €132
Total €914 (£790)

3. Student life in Ireland

3.1 How do I get a visa to study in Ireland?

No visa is required for EU citizens.

3.2 Can I work as a student in Ireland?

EU students are free to take up employment while studying in Ireland. Once you have a job offer, you should register with the Irish Tax Office and obtain a PPS number. You cannot obtain a PPS number before receiving a job offer.

3.2 Health Insurance

Under EU / EEA regulations students from other member states who are attending a course of study are entitled to medical services in Ireland. However, you need to provide the Irish health authorities with documentation from your home country to validate your entitlement to these services. If not, hospital services might cost you as much as €550 per day. As students, you will normally have to pay for all optical and dental services.

We advise you to contact the Health Authority in your home country, well in advance of travelling to Ireland, to fulfil any registration requirements and obtain necessary forms.

About A Star Future

A Star Future provides information and guidance to British students looking to pursue their undergraduate studies abroad.

Through our presentations in schools and our websites we aim to ensure that British-educated students are well informed about their choices.