Ireland with a long tradition of educational excellence is a country steeped in a warm, hospitable and vibrant culture coupled by a stunning landscape. The world renowned Trinity College in Dublin was established as early as in 1592. The colleges and universities offer a profusion of courses in Literature, History, Environmental studies, Technology, Communications and Irish studies. Some of the cherished academic destinations are University College, Dublin City University, National University of Ireland and University of Limerick.
The Irish Education system comprises of three basic levels Primary, Secondary and Higher Education. Higher Education offer a wide range of post-secondary courses, to vocational and technical training, to full degree and the highest post-graduate levels. The higher education programs are run by both public and private colleges and institutions and lead to awards validated by the Irish government’s awards agency – Higher Education and Training Awards Council (HETAC), as well as awards validated by a range of Irish, UK and other international awarding bodies. The higher education system in Ireland is broad in scope and encompasses the university sector, the technological sector, the colleges of education and private, independent colleges. The institutions which fall within the first three groupings are autonomous and self governing, but substantially state funded.
The academic awards that can be achieved at an Irish higher education institution consist of Higher Certificate of two year full-time course, Bachelors Degree after three year full time course, Honours Bachelors Degree after a three or four year course, Graduate Diploma which is designed for graduates seeking a vocational reorientation – usually a one year course, Masters degree normally one-two year(s) duration and Doctorate (PhD) which ranges between a period of 3-4 years. The academic year typically runs from September to June.
Admission to higher education programs in Ireland is highly competitive and is based on the results received in the Irish Leaving Certificate. Although the entry requirements for courses vary from year to year, depending on the number of places available and the number of applicants, the International students have two options. Either they may attend secondary school in Ireland and complete Leaving Certificate Examination or undertake recognized public examinations in the home country but they must score well. For example, for medicine 3 good ‘A’ Level passes (grades A/B) or the equivalent, in relevant subjects are required. The minimum requirement for most degree level programmes is 3 grade ‘C’s at A level or equivalent.
English Language Requirement
Ireland is an English speaking country and for all applications, natives of non-English speaking countries have to provide a proof of their competence in English Language. The student must have scored either 220 on a computer based TOEFL or 550 on paper based TOEFL or 61 on iBT or a composite score of 6.5 on IELTS with not less than 6.0 in any one component. However, this requirement may vary with course.
The colleges and universities in Ireland have intake in September of each year. With the exception of colleges in Northern Ireland, application for most full-time undergraduate courses is made through a Central Application Office (CAO). The candidates have a choice of paper application as well as Online Application. There is a €45 application fee for paper based application and €35 for online application. The closing date for application is 1st February. In addition, there are certain Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) which accept direct application from non-EU students.
Postgraduate & Research
To apply for postgraduate and research programs in Ireland the student is required to contact the admissions office or international office of the relevant institution directly.
Tuition & Living costs:
Tuition fees vary widely depending on the institution and the study program. An example of tuition fee for undergraduate program may range from €10000 to €450000 depending on the field of study. Living expenses will also differ depending upon the location of the institution, the type of accommodation preferred and on the personal expenditure of the student. On an average a student will spend between €7000 and €12,000 per year depending on location and lifestyle.
Ireland offers limited number of scholarships for International students. National University of Ireland Galway offers Doctoral Research Fellowships in select disciplines of Humanities and Social Sciences, Waterford Institute of Technology offers a wide range of Scholarships for Undergraduate and Postgraduate Non-EU students, University of Limerick offers eight non-EU fee scholarships for research postgraduate students and similarly other institutions also offer some scholarships for non-EU students.
Further, the students who are enrolled for a full time course of minimum one year duration leading to a qualification recognized by the Ministry of Education and Science are allowed to work part-time for 20 hours per week or full time during college vacations.
Visa applications for Ireland have to be completed online at https://www.visas.inis.gov.ie/avats/OnlineHome.aspx . Once the online application is completed, printed application summary, passport and other supporting documents need to be submitted at VFS centers located at Delhi, Chandigarh, Jalandhar, Cheenai, Cochin, Hyderabad or Kolkata. The supporting documents include Letter of Acceptance from the concerned HEI, proof of academic eligibility, proof of English proficiency and financial documents. Once the visa application is approved, the Consulate will affix a visa to your passport. Thereafter, the Immigration Officers at the point of entry check the passport and other supporting documents to ascertain whether the individual can remain in the state or not.
Graduates who have received primary, masters or doctorate degree from Irish third level educational institution post January 1st, 2007 are eligible to apply for Graduate Scheme wherein they are permitted to stay in Ireland for a non-extensible period of six months starting on the day upon which they receive their results for the purpose of searching for jobs or applying for green card or work permit. Under this scheme the student is eligible to work for up to 40 hours per week till he receives a Green card or work permit.