Many universities in Ireland rank impressively well at world level, and the country as a whole is understandably a popular choice for international students. The varied selection of higher education institutes combines with historic cities, beautiful countryside and Ireland’s unique culture to make the country a highly attractive study destination. If you're among those choosing to study in Ireland, keep reading to find out more about Irish universities, cities and applications.
Universities in Ireland
Higher education in Ireland consists of universities, specialist colleges (offering courses in a single subject area), and institutes of technology. The latter do not just offer courses in technology subjects, but also cover a wide range of vocational programs, in subjects including hospitality, healthcare, pharmacy, media, textiles, marketing and many more.
Ireland’s seven public universities are all ranked within the world’s top 650 in the QS World University Rankings® 2014/15, as is one of the 14 institutes of technology. Ireland also has seven private-sector colleges, ranging in size from the tiny Burren College of Art, which has only about 200 students, to the huge Dublin Business School, which has a student community of about 9,000.
Read more about Ireland’s five highest-ranked universities, all placed among the world’s top 400:
Trinity College Dublin
Established back in 1592, Trinity College Dublinis Ireland’s oldest higher education institute and one of the seven “ancient universities” in the territory of the UK and Ireland. It is the only constituent college of the University of Dublin, and was modelled after the colleges of Oxford and Cambridge. Today, Trinity College Dublin is Ireland’s most prestigious university, ranked at 71st place in the world. About 17, 000 students are currently enrolled in one of the university’s three faculties: Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; Engineering, Mathematics and Sciences; or Health Sciences.
University College Dublin
Also based in the lively Irish capital,University College Dublinhas its roots in the Catholic University of Ireland, which was founded in 1854. Ireland’s second representative in the international rankings, it’s placed 139th in the QS World University Rankings 2014/15. Approximately 31,000 students are currently enrolled, and the university consists of five colleges, 34 schools and 18 research institutes and centers. It is associated with many notable alumni, including the famous Irish writer James Joyce, actor Gabriel Byrne, and Oscar-winning director and producer Neil Jordan.
University College Cork
The third-ranked Irish higher education institute, at 230th in the world, is University College Cork. In 1998 it was officially renamed University College Cork – National University of Ireland, Cork, but it’s still widely known as University College Cork, or UCC. Currently around 20,000 students are enrolled, with approximately 3,000 international students representing more than 100 nationalities. University College Cork was the world’s first university to receive the international Green Flag for environmental sustainability, in 2010, and has received five QS Stars for its overall performance. It’s based in the city of Cork, in the southern part of Ireland.
National University of Ireland, Galway
Like University College Cork, the National University of Ireland, Galway also has a five-star rating in the QS Stars assessment system, and is ranked currently ranked 280th in the QS World University Rankings. More than 17,000 students are enrolled at the university, which is based in the city of Galway, on the western coast of Ireland, and the campus is currently undergoing a €400 million redevelopment program. The university prides itself on offering a number of less-typical courses, including a BSc in Podiatry and BE/MEng in Sport and Exercise Engineering.
Dublin City University
A much younger institution compared to the three historic universities listed above, Dublin City University was established in 1975, and gained university status in 1989. Nonetheless, it’s gained a strong position in a short space of time, ranked at 366th place in the world. About 12,000 students are currently enrolled there, including around 1,000 enrolled in distance education courses. Based in the northern part of the city of Dublin, the university boasts an impressive selection of on-campus facilities, including The Helix – a large arts venue, complete with several different-sized performance spaces.
The University of Limerick, Dublin Institute of Technology and the National University of Ireland Maynooth also feature in the 2014/15 QS World University Rankings, all among the world’s top 650 higher education institutions.
Compare the top universities in Ireland >