Admission Requirements for Higher Education in Ireland

Ireland is home to a good number of universities for higher education. There are a various institutions that provide third level of education in Ireland. You can study in university sector, technological sector and college of education; these are also funded by state. Independent private colleges also impart higher education.

When applying to any Irish university or college the first thing one should keep in mind about your status an EU or Non EU. The assessment of an EU and NON-EU status is determined at the point of the application and hence this status cannot be changed subsequent to first year registration.

European Union (EU) Students

A candidates qualifying for EU status should meet the following criteria:
  • The applicant must be a national of an EU member state and should also reside in an EU member state for three of the five years prior to the commencement of the programme.

  • They must receive all their post-primary education within an EU member state.

  • They must be a full-time employment in an EU member state for three of the last five years prior to the commencement of the first year of the course they have opted to apply for. This point only applies to candidates over the age of 23.

  • Their parents have been a full - time employment in an EU member state for three of the five years prior to the commencement of the programme. This point only applies to candidates under the age of 23.

  • EU students applying for undergraduate courses should only use the Central Applications Office (CAO). The usual deadline for online applications is 20 January (tentatively) every year, and for paper applications is 1 February (tentatively). However, the late online applications can also be made until 1 February (tentatively), and the paper applications can be made until 1 May (tentatively).
All other applications that do not fulfil the above mentioned criteria are considered to be non-EU applications.

Non EU Students

  • All Students outside the European Union (EU) can apply directly to their chosen university. Such applicants should address the International Office or Admission Office of the relevant university for information on the application process, as each university has their own application procedures and closing dates.

Entry Requirements

The number of entry level points depend on any course depends on number of places and number of applicants competing for those places thus it varies from year to year. The entry requirements in Ireland vary between different universities and degree programmes. The CAO publishes minimum points required for different courses as admission to different rounds of offer made to the applicant.

It is best to contact the international office of your chosen university to find out what grades you will need for your course.

Students with disability

There are various support systems for students who have disability and wantto undertake third level education. You may qualify for Disability Access Route to Education (DARE) scheme.

English Language Proficiency

Although entry requirements vary from one university to other, but the proficiency in the English language is a set requirement for every applicant. The language of instruction in Irish education institutes is in English therefore, it is mandatory to demonstrate high level of English proficiency for the students. If you have not passed English as subject in Irish Leaving Certificate Examination or matriculation examination then you will have to provide the minimum standard in one of the  recognised international English test: TOEFL, IELTS, Cambridge Examination etc.

For students who need a little extra practice, preparatory English courses are available at many universities, and also at a separate English tuition schools.

Tuition fees in Ireland

The students within the EEA and Switzerland pursuing undergraduate courses can get the benefit of Free Fees Initiative, which means that they only need to pay a ‘registration fee’.

The tuition fees for students outside the EEA/Switzerland vary depending on both the institution and the course that they opt for.

There are various student grants available through the centralised Student Grant Scheme, and also scholarships are offered by the individual universities, independent organisations and government.
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