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Many Irish universities rank impressively well at world level, and Ireland as a whole is understandably a popular choice for international students. If you're among those choosing to study in Ireland, keep read on to find out more about Irish universities, cities and applications.
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 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 700 in the 2012/13 QS World University Rankings, as is one of the 14 institutes of technology. Three make the top 200: Trinity College Dublin (TCD) at 67, University College Dublin (UCD), 131, and University College Cork, 190.
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.
This 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 that’s not enough, there’s an extra incentive for students coming from within the EEA or Switzerland, who qualify for the Free Fees Initiative – this means undergraduate courses at Ireland’s public institutes is free, apart from a relatively minor ‘registration fee’.
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Discover some of Ireland’s top cities for students...
The Irish capital has by far the greatest concentration of universities and colleges – among the reasons for its top-ten placing in the 2012 QS Best Student Cities. A popular city-break destination, there’s certainly no shortage of things to see and do in Dublin – from admiring beautiful medieval architecture and retracing the steps of famous novelists, to visiting the Guinness Brewery and discovering the meaning of ‘craic’ in one of the city’s lively pubs. The city is known for being expensive, and living costs are higher here than elsewhere in Ireland. But Dublin is certainly not the world’s priciest student destination – and it gives a lot back.
Universities in Dublin: University College Dublin, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin City University, Dublin Institute of Technology.
Parallel with Dublin, but on the west coast instead of the east, lies Galway. Combining beautiful beaches with a buzzing city center, Galway offers all the traditional (and modern-day) Irish experiences you could want: cobbled streets, brightly painted buildings and heaving pubs hosting throbbing live music. The city is known as a hub for arts and culture, and hosts popular annual events such as the Galway Arts Festival and Cúirt International Festival of Literature.
Universities in Galway: the National University of Ireland, Galway, and Galway Mayo Institute of Technology.
Also well known for its cultural activity is Cork City, located on the south coast. Since polishing itself up for its time as the European Capital of Culture in 2005, Cork has arguably never looked better, and =its combination of historic architecture and vibrant cultural life makes it a popular stop for tourists. There’s a good selection of nightlife, from traditional pubs to trendy bars, and as usual in Ireland, stunning countryside is never far away.
Universities in Cork: University College Cork and Cork Institute of Technology.
Top ten things to do while studying in Ireland >
Undergraduate student from countries within the EEA and Switzerland can benefit from the Free Fees Initiative. This means you’ll only need to pay a ‘registration fee’, which varies between institutions, but is capped €2,250 (US$2,950) for the 2012/13 academic year.
For students outside the EEA/Switzerland, tuition fees vary depending on both the institution and the subject. For 2012/13, the government organization Education in Ireland advises undergraduate students to expect to pay €31,000-€45,000 for medicine and related subjects, €9,100-€20,300 for engineering, €9,100-€16,500 for science and technology, and €9,100-€15,500 for business and arts and humanities.
Student grants are available through the centralized Student Grant Scheme, and scholarships are offered by the government, individual universities, and independent organizations. Check with your university to find out which you may be eligible for.
EU students applying for undergraduate courses should use the Central Applications Office (CAO). The usual deadline for online applications is 20 January, and for paper applications is 1 February. However, ‘late’ online applications can be made until 1 February, and paper applications until 1 May.
There is a small application fee, ranging from €30 (US$40) for an early online application, up to €80 (US$105) for a late paper application.
Entry requirements vary, but proficiency in the English language is a set requirement. For students who need a little extra practice, preparatory English courses are available at many universities, and also at separate English tuition schools.
Students from within the EU, EEA or Switzerland do not need a visa to study in Ireland. There are also a number of other countries whose citizens do not need a visa – a full list is provided by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Students from countries exempt from visas should bring proof of acceptance onto a course when entering the country, and register with immigration authorities if intending to stay in Ireland for more than 90 days.
Those who need to apply for a visa should do so online, via the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service. The process requires students to submit:
Click to apply
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