apply universities Ireland

How to Apply to Universities in Ireland (6 Steps)


With its rolling hills and lush greeneries, Ireland is considered one of the most picturesque countries in the world. It’s also one of the best educational destinations, given its excellent universities and reasonably-priced study costs.

While only about 32,000 foreigners are currently studying in the Emerald Isle, the numbers are expected to increase through the following years. Although the application process can be lengthy, you can apply to universities in Ireland by following these steps.

1. Pick the Subjects you want to Study at Irish Universities

Although Irish universities offer a wide array of degree programs, some prove to be quite popular with foreign applicants. One is Business, which provides students with an international network that is useful upon graduation.

Another is Medicine, a degree which has placed many Irish-educated physicians at the forefront of the discipline As the country places much importance on medical education and research, its students – both local and foreign – get a strong foundation that makes them highly sought-after after graduation.

Nursing is another popular course amongst many foreign applicants. Many of its Nursing schools offer comprehensive curriculums that make their students great nurse leaders in their fields.

Apart from these top 3 options, Ireland is also a great place to study Engineering, Economics, and Social Science.

2. Pass the English Profiency Exams to Apply to Universities in Ireland

As most Irish universities teach their subjects in English, proficiency in this language is required. There is no need to show proficiency in Irish, as this is mostly required from local enrollees.

At Trinity College Dublin, undergraduate applicants need to have any of the following proficiency scores to apply to this university in Ireland. It is also required that the test be taken within the last 2 years.

  • TOEFL PBT – 570
  • TOEFL CBT – 233
  • TOEFL iBT – 90
  • IELTS – 6.5; band 7 for Dental and Clinical Speech students
  • PTE – 63

Those with certain certificates/baccalaureates may be exempted from the above-mentioned proficiency tests. However, they need to meet the following English scores:

  • GCSE – Grade C or higher
  • European Baccalaureate – 6 in English
  • French Baccalaureate – minimum 12 in English Language and Literature
  • International Baccalaureate – 5 at higher level
  • US High School Curriculum – Grade C during the final year

At the University College Dublin, Masters applicants have to meet the following proficiency grades:

  • IELTS – band 6.5
  • TOEFL PBT – 600
  • TOEFL iBT – 90
  • Cambridge Exam – Grade A for the first certificate, Grade C for Advanced or Proficiency certificate
  • UCLES – Grade C
  • ETAPP – Grade C1 or higher
  • PTE – 63
  • Duolingo English Test – 110

As test results vary according to university, it’s best to refer to your preferred school’s website for the complete details.

3. Prepare the application materials

Undergraduate applicants need to submit a high school/secondary certificate to apply to universities in Ireland. Admission will depend on the grades one has obtained during schooling.

Schools such as the University College Dublin follow an age limit of 17 years. The institution also requires health screening for students who wish to enroll in the following courses:

  • Biomedical, Health, and Life Science
  • Human Nutrition
  • Medicine
  • Physiotherapy
  • Radiography
  • Nursing

A police certificate is also required from applicants who live outside Ireland.

Masters students applying at Trinity College Dublin need to meet high entry requirements, such as a 2.1 honors degree or equivalent. They also need to submit proof of English proficiency through IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, etc.

Depending on the course, the student may need to take additional exams or undergo a screening interview.

4. Make a List of Which Universities in Ireland You want to Apply for

Although there are many Irish universities for you to choose from, it’s good to apply to any of the top 9 schools in the country. According to the recent World Rankings survey, the best institutions in Ireland are the following:

  1. Trinity College Dublin
  2. RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences
  3. University College Dublin
  4. The National University of Ireland in Galway
  5. University College Cork
  6. Maynooth University
  7. Dublin City University
  8. University of Limerick
  9. Technological University of Dublin

Apart from picking a top-ranked university, you should apply to Irish institution that does well in your field/degree.

When it comes to arts & humanities, business & economics, clinical & health science, computer science, education, engineering, life science, physical science, psychology, and social science, the best university to go to is Trinity College Dublin.

However, if you want to study law, the top-ranked Irish school is University College Dublin. The next best option, on the other hand, is the National University of Ireland in Galway.

UCD is also a formidable option for engineering, physical science, social science, arts & humanities, business & economics, computer science, and education as it is ranked second in the said fields.

University College Cork is also a great school to consider. After all, it is the second-ranked school in the fields of life science, psychology, and clinical/health science.

5. If cost is important, apply to affordable universities in Ireland

Studying in Ireland is cheaper than in other European countries, as you only need to pay about $16,000 a year. Add to that, you also have to spend as much as $4,500 a semester for your daily living expenses.

As these amounts can stack up rather easily, it’s best to apply to an affordable university in Ireland if you are concerned about finances. There are many inexpensive schools for undergraduate studies, after all.

A good example is the University of Limerick, which is ranked the 8th best university in the country. Here, you only need to pay about $4,000 a year. There’s also the Dublin School of Business, where the tuition is about $13,000 a year. At Griffith College of Dublin, you only have to shell out $14,500 for the year.

As for Master’s studies, you can expect to pay cheaper fees. The University of Limerick only levies about $7,300 a year, while top-ranked Trinity College Dublin will cost you about $13,500. Griffith College Dublin also levies the same tuition of $14,500 for its graduate students.

To avoid the problems of student debt in the future, make sure to inquire about the tuition right before applying.

6. Also, apply to scholarships in Ireland if cost is important

Apart from choosing affordable universities, you may be able to further lessen your study costs by applying for a scholarship. The following universities offer such programs to foreign applicants:

  • Trinity College Dublin
  • University College Dublin
  • Maynooth University
  • Waterford Institute of Technology
  • Dublin City University
  • The National University of Ireland in Galway
  • National College of Ireland
  • Galway Mayo Institute of Technology

Some scholarships are also geared towards students of certain nationalities, such as:

  • Inclusive Ireland Scholarship for Americans
  • UCD Undergraduate Scholarships for Americans
  • Irish Aid Funded Fellowship Training Program for Tanzanians
  • Claddagh Scholarship Program for the Chinese

Scholarships are also offered to students who wish to study certain fields. For example, the Maria Helena Kopschitz Scholarship sponsors students who are admitted to the MA in Anglo-Irish Literature at UCD. DCU offers a scholarship program for those who take a Law Ph.D. in the university.

Other scholarship programs include the Fulbright Program and the Walsh Fellowships, to name a few.

You should definitely apply to universiites in Ireland that offer scholarships to international students if the cost is important for you. As many students apply for scholarship programs, it’s always good to send in your applications right ahead of time.

I hope that this article on how to apply to universities in Ireland was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Europe Scholarships Page!