Studying in ireland


What do I need in order to study in Ireland? explains what to do before you come to Ireland and what you need to do after you arrive in the country.

Ireland has many options to further your education and learning – More information

The Irish education system is made up of progressing levels of education. Irish Education System explained

The National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) has 10 levels of education and allows you to compare the different standards and levels of education available to you across the education system.

There are many educational routes to a chosen career – see section below on career pathways.

Learning English

ACELS is the quality assurance body for the English language teaching sector in Ireland. The list of English language schools and organisations in Ireland recognised by ACELS is published annually. 

There are many schools and courses for students who want to improve their English language skills located throughout Ireland. Most are privately run and offer preparation programmes for the major English language examinations, such as TOEFL, IELTS, Cambridge and Trinity College (London). Many can provide students with a full package of tuition, homestay accommodation and extra-curricular activities. More information

Your local ETB adult education and adult guidance services for people 18+ can help you decide what training is suitable for you and also provide free English language classes. You can find a national map here.

There are also some free language exchange groups/English conversation groups around the country. Ask at your local library. List of local libraries

Universities & Technical Universities

Third-level education in Ireland is provided by universities and technical universities.

Applications: The majority of students applying to university apply via the Central Applications Office (CAO). Details of application procedures and closing dates are available on Central Applications Office (CAO).

Entry Requirements: Useful information about entry requirements and applying as an EU/EFTA Applicant. Language: English is the teaching language in the universities, so all applicants must show proficiency in English.

University Fees

Fees: Most undergraduate students doing a state-funded third-level course do not have to pay tuition fees, if they meet the criteria under the terms of the Free Fees Initiative.

If you do not qualify for free fees, you may still be eligible for EU fees – the rate is set by each university separately, so contact them directly to find out about the EU fee rate and whether you qualify. More information

Student Contribution: There is an annual charge payable to colleges for the costs of student services and examinations – this is called the ‘Student contribution’ and is approximately €3,000. You may be able to apply for a SUSI student grant to help with the cost of this contribution.

College Grants & Financial Supports

Going to college can be expensive, with fees, a laptop, other equipment, travel, and accommodation to consider. However, there are a range of schemes to help you with the cost.

Student Grant Scheme (SUSI) is the main student grant. To receive student funding, you must meet certain eligibility criteria, including residency, nationality and income.

Other financial supports available.

Scholarships for International Students are offered through the government of Ireland, the Irish higher education institutions and other organisations. More information

Qualification Recognition

How to get your foreign qualification recognised in Ireland. More Information

NARIC Ireland (National Academic Recognition Information Centre) gives free advice on the recognition of foreign qualifications in Ireland. NARIC Ireland foreign qualifications database

Students with A Disability

AHEAD (Association for Higher Education Access and Disability) provides information on a range of educational supports for students with disabilities at third level. There is also information about accessing college. Here is a short video that explains what AHEAD has to offer.

Career Pathways

In addition to university, there are many routes to your chosen career. 

Colleges of Further Education

Colleges of Further Education offer Post-Leaving Certificate (PLC) courses that are a mixture of academic and practical learning and work experience. These courses are a great option, as they are designed as a step towards skilled employment and, as such, they are closely linked to industry and its needs. The courses are full-time and last for one to two years, and you receive a QQI level 5 or 6.

You are eligible to apply for the SUSI College Grant.

Check out PLC Courses and Further Education in Ireland – PLC Courses might also be a useful link.


An apprenticeship is the recognised way people train in a craft trade or profession. It gives you an opportunity to combine education with hands-on experience while earning a wage. Common apprenticeships include construction, electrical, engineering, hospitality, cooking, mechanics, and IT. More information 

The main craft trades and professions are coordinated and managed by SOLAS, along with the Department of Education, employers and unions.

FET Courses

FET (Further Education and Training) is for anyone who is over 16 who wants to learn new skills or enhance existing skills to get the right job, progress to third-level, or support the achievement of their personal goals.

FET offers a wide variety of life-long education options, including apprenticeships, traineeships, PLC courses, community and adult education, and core literacy and numeracy services. FET courses and programmes are provided through the Education and Training Board network throughout the country, as well as through other local providers, including online through SOLAS eCollege. More information


SOLAS offers training and further education programmes to both jobseekers looking for employment and employees wishing to improve their skills. There are part-time, full-time, evening and online courses for jobseekers.  More information

Connect 2 europe

Subscribe to our Connect2Europe newsletter to keep up to date with European opportunities, grants, events, useful resources and news.