Studying in Ireland: costs, requirements, fields of study, opinions

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Every year, over 20,000 students from around the world study in Ireland.

What is the reason for such popularity of this country, what requirements must be met and what costs should be taken into account?

What is studying in Ireland like?

Studying abroad in Ireland is becoming more and more popular among European students every year. Due to Brexit, many students are looking to study in other English-speaking countries than the UK.

If you’re looking for information about studying in Northern Ireland, the application process and living there, you’ll find it in our article about studying in England (the application process and requirements are the same across the UK).


When it comes to studying in Ireland with a view to leaving Poland, approximately 1% of all international students are Polish.

What do international students appreciate about studying in Ireland?

  1. Friendliness and openness to international students – Dublin in 2020 was rated as one of the friendliest cities in Europe
  2. High quality of education – Ireland is one of the countries with the largest research base
  3. Beautiful nature and culture – Ireland is a beautiful country that offers many opportunities for travel, sports and music.
  4. Job opportunities after graduation – Ireland is at the forefront of countries in terms of the number of international corporations based in this country (from corporations related to Social Media through financial or pharmaceutical companies)
  5. Good location – there are many flight connections between Poland and Ireland or between other European countries and Ireland.

In Ireland, you can choose from a variety of undergraduate courses.

The education system in Ireland consists of levels which determine the level of qualifications that will be obtained after completing a course.

There are 10 levels in total:

Level 5 is equivalent to obtaining the Polish Matura or IB results.

Once you have obtained a Level 5 qualification, you can apply for admission to higher education institutions.

Level 6 corresponds to the Higher Certificate courses, which last 2 years and are a practical preparation for work, e.g. as a Laboratory Technician, HR Specialist, Hotel Manager or Sensory Integration Therapist.

They often complement the qualifications already possessed or develop specific skills. Higher Certificates do not grant a higher education – it can be obtained by completing your Level 7 education.

Level 7 is an Ordinary Bachelor Degree. This level of education is a standard undergraduate course of 3 years. You can apply there directly after high school.

Some Ordinary Bachelor Degrees may last for 1 year – when they complement a Higher Certificate course.

Level 8 is an Honors Bachelor Degree. This level also stands for standard undergraduate studies. They last between 3 and 4 years. You can apply directly after high school.

What is the difference between Ordinary and Honors Bachelor Degree?

  • Different length – the title that is obtained in both fields is a Bachelor Degree, while both of these levels of study last a different length of time – this is related to the ECTS points necessary to earn during studies
  • Education after Higher Certificate – one-year completion of the Certificate made at Level 6 is possible only at the Ordinary Bachelor Degree
  • Continuing your education after a Bachelor Degree – In most cases, you can only get into a Master’s degree program after an Honors Bachelor Degree!

What if you have completed your Ordinary Bachelor Degree and want to study for your Masters degree in Ireland?

You can complete your education with an additional year of Honors Bachelor Degree and have the opportunity to apply for a Master’s degree.

Level 9 is a Master Degree. Master’s studies in Ireland last 1-2 years.

All these levels of education are offered at universities in Ireland.

There are several types of universities in Ireland:

  • Universities 
  • Institutes of Technology
  • Colleges 

At Universities it is possible to study Ordinary Bachelor Degree, Honors Bachelor Degree or Master Degree.

Institutes of Technology allow you to study for a Higher Certificate, Ordinary Bachelor Degree, Honors Bachelor Degree or Master Degree.

At Colleges it is possible to study for a Higher Certificate, Ordinary Bachelor Degree, Honors Bachelor Degree or Master Degree.

Universities are typical schools focused on teaching and passing theoretical knowledge.

Institutes of Technology and Colleges are focused on practical teaching and internship programs.

The greatest variety of education institutions in Ireland can be found in Dublin.

Studenci zagraniczni wybierający studia w Irlandii bardzo chętnie odwiedzają Cliffs of Moher

Study in Ireland - Fields of study

Ireland offers a wide range of majors. All will be in English (although there are some courses conducted in Irish).

The most popular fields of study in Ireland are:

  • Pharmacy
  • Medicine
  • Business
  • Biology
  • Engineering
  • Art studies (music, acting, culinary)

Many students apply for health-related majors. Nursing studies, physiotherapy, dentistry are also as popular as medical studies in Ireland.

In addition, law studies, language studies, psychology studies and humanities are also available in Ireland.

In the case of master’s studies, there are also a lot of courses in various fields available in Ireland, so it’s worth getting acquainted with the offers and you will surely find a course you want to go for. Master’s studies are focused on specialized knowledge in a given major.


The most popular majors for the Master Degree are:

  • Education (secondary)
  • Programming
  • Business Management
  • HR management
  • Finances

In the case of Ireland, part-time studies are also possible. Students may opt for such a solution to combine studies with work.

However, it should be remembered that these are not typical extramural studies, and classes can take place even in the middle of the week.

Aplikacja na studia w Irlandii wysyłana jest online przez system CAO

Study in Ireland - Requirements

Requirements for studying in Ireland are determined by each university individually.

The application to study in Ireland is done through the CAO system.

The main criterion when choosing a university are the so-called CAO points, which are a summary of the requirements at a given university.

What requirements do universities set for the application?

When applying for the Honors Bachelor Degree, the following will be considered:

  • Matriculation Certificate (Matura Certificate) AND
  • High School Graduation Certificate

When applying for Higher Certificate or Ordinary Bachelor Degree, you can also apply with:

  • Matriculation Certificate (Matura Certificate) AND
  • Certificate of completion of a technical school / post-secondary school

All applications for undergraduate studies in Ireland are done online through the CAO application system until a maximum of February 1st.

In the CAO system, you select universities (up to 10) and provide your personal details.

If you apply while still in high school, your grades and matriculation results must be sent to the university as soon as you receive them, and then you can also get an offer.

Since the results from the high school final exam are one of the main criteria for calculating CAO points, it is not possible to start studies without a high school diploma.

However, if you do not meet the requirements of the university due to bad results, you can apply for admission to the Foundation Year, i.e. for the zero year.

You can read more about the requirements and the application process in HOW TO GET IN.

Study in Ireland - Costs

The costs that you have to spend on your studies are an important aspect when choosing a country of study.

What is it like in Ireland?

The cost of studying in Ireland consists of several components:

  • tuition,
  • student contributions and
  • additional academic fee.

The price of a bachelor’s degree for European students depends on the university and the field of study and varies between 5,000 and 15,000 euros per year.

The most expensive are medical faculties – veterinary medicine, medicine, dentistry, nursing.

Tuition fee constitutes the most of the standard undergraduate price.

As a citizen of the European Union, you can benefit from a subsidy to your study costs.

Under the Free Tuition Initiative, the government in Ireland pays the tuition fees for undergraduate studies, and students only cover the student contribution and the additional academic fee (a total for 2021 is €3,254).

EUR 3,000 is the fee for studying at a public university (within the student contribution), and private universities cost about EUR 5,000-9,000 (here, tuition subsidies cannot be applied for).

There is another form of funding in Ireland – SUSI grant.

This is a scholarship based on family income. The SUSI grant may be awarded as a living grant and/or as financial support for student contributions.

You can read more about the costs of studying in Ireland in the COSTS page.

Wiele osób wybierając studia w Irlandii docenia malownicze widoki Irlandii

Studying in Ireland - Reviews

For every future student, an important aspect of choosing the country of study and university are the opinions of other students or graduates – they give a good idea of ​​ what studying and living in a given place really look like.

In the case of studies abroad in Ireland, students emphasize the great openness of the Irish and the pleasant atmosphere as well as the opportunities to travel around the island itself and around Europe – Ireland is a great starting point to most countries in Europe.

What should you know before coming to Ireland?

  1. The Irish spend a lot of time in sporting activities, and rugby matches are almost a national holiday in Ireland.
  2. Traditional Irish music is played in almost every pub.
  3. It is worth getting acquainted with the culture and history of Ireland before arriving – it helps with settling in.
  4. During your studies you can meet a lot of international students as well as Irish.
  5. Ireland is a green island for a reason. Be prepared for a lot of rain.

You can read more about studying in Ireland from a student’s perspective on our blog and FAQ.

Application to study in Ireland with Educat

Have you read the article and want to apply to study abroad? 

Do you have any questions about the application?

EduCat will help you with the application process to study abroad. Our Mentors support students at various stages of preparing for the application – whether you need help with the application system, issues before going to university or the entire process from start to finish. You can use all the support in one place – on the EduCat platform.

In the meantime, write to us and we will try to answer all your questions and help you prepare for your studies abroad.

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