Study in Ireland – Why study in Ireland?

Studying in Ireland is growing in popularity and universities are now bursting with mainland EU students. The Emerald Isle is not only famous for its rolling green hills, Guinness, the national rugby team, and leprechauns – but also for its outstanding universities and warm, friendly culture.

During your studies in Ireland, you will find lots to inspire you. Ireland has produced wonderful poets such as W.B. Yeats, writers like James Joyce, and world-famous actors and musicians. Bram Stoker first dreamt up his Dracula while striding the walkways of Trinity College, Dublin, in the footsteps of Oscar Wilde, another notable Trinity alumnus. 

If you study in Ireland, you will experience its wild and glorious scenery, its rich history and its musical and literary culture. The Irish are open-hearted, sociable and believe in living life to the full. Their myths speak of contrasts – giants and elves – so whether you want to take long solitary walks along the country’s pristine beaches or join in a chorus of Dubliners’ songs in a crowded and jolly pub, or, you will find a part of Ireland to call your own when you study in Ireland.

Why study in Ireland? the possibility of studying in the only English-speaking country of the European Union. graduate in the country with the highest entrepreneurial concentration in Europe. develop between technological innovation and the lively and stimulating cultural atmosphere of ancient cities where girls and boys from all over the world study.

Study in Ireland – choosing a university

Deciding where to study in Ireland is, of course, a matter of personal taste. Do you want to be in the capital, or will a smaller city suit you better? Are you excited by the prospect of beautiful beaches, cobbled streets and castles, or do you want to live in the heart of a throbbing metropolis with an exciting nightlife, theatres, exhibitions and galleries?  Whatever university you choose, you can be sure that you will be getting an excellent education when you study in Ireland.

Over the last decade, increasing numbers of international students have been flocking to Irish universities, attracted by the outstanding teaching staff, variety  of courses, and the reasonable costs of gaining a first-class education. Elab offers a  Five Steps program to study in Ireland which will help you choose the best course and university, based on your interests and abilities. 

Study in Ireland – popular university rankings

When you are looking to study in Ireland, rankings may well be your first port of call. However, it is important to realise that the major global university rankings are biased towards research output, which is one of the main factors used in calculating the standing of a university, and this obviously puts new universities at a distinct disadvantage.

To counteract this trend, the Times Higher Education rankings also focus on the Top 100 universities which are under 50 years old – and rank three Irish universities in this category: the NUI Maynooth, Dublin City University and the University of Limerick.

University Global ranking
Trinity, Dublin 98
University College, Dublin 173
NUI Galway 258
University College, Cork 298
As you can see there is a big discrepancy between the two sets of figures, which reflects the methods used to assess universities.

When you opt to study in Ireland you have many very different options. Dublin is usually the first place students consider applying to because it is the capital. Check what Trinity College Dublin offers. Or why not look at the National University of Ireland, located in Galway on the west coast, which is known as the cultural heart of Ireland? Perhaps you might enjoy studying at University College Cork, the country’s foodie capital, or somewhere smaller like the University of Limerick, perched on the banks of the River Shannon?

Each of these well-resourced, amazing universities provides outstanding teaching and a broad range of courses. Once you decide to study in Ireland, let Elab help you choose the right option, the best location and put together a robust and well-structured application to study for your Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Ireland. 

Study in Ireland – choosing a course

Although Ireland has always produced visionaries and artists, it also has a strong reputation for offering high-quality courses in medicine, biotechnology, mechanical, aeronautical and manufacturing engineering, computer science, and econometrics. So, whether you are a creative dreamer or interested in acquiring practical knowledge and skills, if you study in Ireland you will find the ideal specialty, since Irish universities offer over 5,000 internationally-recognised qualifications.

Study in Ireland – undergraduate courses

The most popular courses for international students who apply to study in Ireland at undergraduate level include:

  • Data Analytics
  • Digital Marketing
  • Data Engineering
  • ICT
  • Life Sciences
  • Investment Banking
  • Construction
  • Law
  • Education
  • Social Sciences
  • Journalism
  • Healthcare

When you study in Ireland, it takes three years to gain a bachelor’s degree, four if you are taking an honours degree. Certain subjects – architecture, medicine, dentistry and veterinary sciences – run for five to six years.

Study in Ireland – postgraduate courses

At postgraduate level, the most highly sought after courses, according to the Irish Times, are:

  • Dublin City University
  • Maynooth University
  • NUI Galway
  • Trinity College, Dublin 
  • University College, Cork
  • University College, Dublin
  • Limerick University

Studying in Ireland for a Master’s degree generally takes one year – although certain research Masters degrees run for two years.

Study in Ireland – the application process

Undergraduate applications


Entry requirements to study in Ireland vary from course to course, so contact Elab for up-to-date information. You will normally have to submit your secondary school results and a certificate of language proficiency, usually IELTS or TOEFL. Get in touch with us and we will guide you through the application process, deadlines and requirements, and help you to check qualification recognition and how it translates into the Irish system of education. In addition, certain courses specify that to study in Ireland you need to have achieved a particular grade in mathematics, or to have passed your secondary level diploma with a language other than English etc.

 How to apply

Applications to study in Ireland at undergraduate level are submitted through the CAO, the Irish Central Applications Office, where you will log in and open an account, receive your CAO number and upload your documents. The deadline is 17.15 on 1 February , but you are allowed to change your mind about the course you would like to study between 1 May and 1 July. You can change your course choices online up to 1 February, free of charge. Changes made from 5 February to 1 March cost €10. The Change of Mind facility from 5 May to 1 July is free.

The normal CAO online undergraduate fee is 30 euros, whereas a late application, made after 1 Feb, incurs a fee of 60 euros and if you do so, you will have to and send in a paper application (rather than an online one) to the CAO by 17.15 on 1 May.

Postgraduate applications

Applying to study in Ireland at postgraduate level is a straightforward process. Applications can be sent directly to the university of your choice or, in some cases, to be processed through the Postgraduate Applications Centre. Call Elab to determine which path to take and for up-to-date information on deadlines. You will need to prepare some or all of the following documents:

  • Letter of motivation
  • CV
  • Copy of your undergraduate degree
  • One or more passport-sized photographs
  • Academic references

Study in Ireland – costs

Tuition fees

When you study in Ireland at undergraduate level, the Irish government subsidises tuition fees for domestic and EU students, so all you will have to pay is the contribution fee of 3000 euros, which also covers the cost of your examinations. 

When you study in Ireland for a postgraduate degree, fees can range from 4,500 euros up to 20,000 euros a year, with medicine and business coming in at the upper end of the fee range. Tuition fees for Engineering, Arts and Humanities, and Science and Technology postgraduate courses broadly start at 5,000 euros a year, and can rise to 9,000, depending on the university where you are studying. The exceptions to this rule are the MBA courses and postgraduate degrees in medicine. Contact Elab for up to date information on fees.

Financial assistance 

EU citizens who come to study in Ireland are eligible to apply for a broad range of scholarships, grants and bursaries.

There are tuition and maintenance grants available, which are open to EU applicants, for example, from the Irish Research Council, which offers a range of financial scholarships. If you are thinking of applying for a scholarship or grant, then your first of call should be Elab, or the website of the university to which you are applying.

The cost of living

A recent survey of the cost of studying in Ireland has concluded that, on average, you will need from 950-1500 euros a month, to cover accommodation, food, books, travel, leisure activities, bills and mobile phone contracts.
Since accommodation is always the largest expense facing students, it is worth considering the relative prices across Ireland’s university cities.

Unsurprisingly, Dublin is the most expensive, with a centrally located single flat costing up to 1500 euros a month, whereas Cork, Galway and Limerick are around 25 per cent cheaper. If you decide to live in residential halls, and not rent privately, you can pay far less – for example, from 4,500-5,500 euros for a full year’s accommodation in Limerick university halls of residence.

Expense Average Cost Range per month
Option 1 – On Campus Accommodation €600 – €680
Option 2 – Private Complex €600 – €1,000
Option 3 – Private rental (house share) €500 – 600 (bills not included)
Utilities (Electric/Gas/Refuse) €30 – €50
Food €250 – €350
Travel (Monthly Bus Ticket) €65 – €85
Textbook & Materials €75
Mobile phone €20
Personal Expenses (Social/Sports) €200 – €300

Of course, this is a fairly rough guide, since not everyone will spend 300 euros a month on socialising or sports, and you may not need to pay for transport or regularly eat out – but it does give you an overall picture of the cost of living when you study in Ireland. 

Study in Ireland – other useful information

  • EU students do not require a visa for studying in Ireland.
  • Ireland accepts the EU EHIC card, which entitles you to essential medical treatment free of charge, so make sure you bring it with you.
  • You will be able to take  part-time work in Ireland. Remember, however, that there are likely to be more job opportunities in larger towns and cities than smaller communities.
  • Ireland is ranked the third safest country in the world, according to the Global Peace Index, 2023.
  • The Numbeo Quality of Life rankings placed Ireland 8th, out of 189 countries, in 2023, a ranking confirmed by the UN Human Development Index (2022). Their reports consider the quality of education, peace and economic stability, affordability and health systems. 
  • Ireland is home to five Forbes Top Ten companies: Apple, Google, Alphabet, Amazon and Samsung, and is at the forefront of technological innovation. Studying in Ireland offers many career opportunities.
  • Introduction
  • Diagnostics
  • Personal Profile Map
  • Research
  • University Report
  • Final application choices
  • Application process plan
  • Mentor Program
  • Exam and Interview prep
  • Document completion
  • Application portal setup
  • Submission
  • Acceptance
  • Pre-departure procedures
  • Finances
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