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TOP-10 prestigious colleges and universities in Ireland where international students can get high-quality higer education

Education information

Today, Ireland is the leading country among best destinations for educational tourism according to foreign students. Ireland attracts international students with high-quality educational services, a wide range of schools and colleges, exciting cultural programs. SMAPSE offers TOP-10 prestigious Irish colleges and universities where international students can get high-quality and balanced higher education that will open wide career opportunitites. 

Please, don't hesitate to contact SMAPSE experts as they are always ready to answer all your questions. 

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Ireland Educational System: features and benefits

  • Middle Ages educational traditions. As far back as the Middle Ages, priests studied in Irish monasteries and were send to teach in Europe. Until now, the state is famous for its exceptional educational services, a competent combination of tradition and modern approaches.
  • Universities of Ireland do not always take high places in rankings, but, despite this, Irish university diplomas are highly valued by employers in Europe and the USA , students easily find a good job.
  • Attractive studying opportunities for foreign students: many students can find a part-time job for the best companies in the country during their studies, and after graduation they can easily find a full-time job and stay in Ireland
  • Today, the research level of Ireland is not lower than the highest scientific indicators of the United Kingdom thanks to the huge funding of the research field and the involvement of foreign scientists
  • Dublin has every chance of becoming a world scientific center in the coming years - such IT giants as Google, Facebook, Zynga have already placed their branches here.
  • A simplified procedure for admission for all who are getting higher education in Ireland: minimum language requirements, average scores of the certificate, etc.
  • Local citizens are very friendly towards foreigners, they are happy to make new acquaintances and are ready to help

Higher Education in Ireland for international students

Studying at universities is based on the Bologna system, at the universities of Ireland there is a three-stage system of scientific titles: bachelor, master and doctor. There are two programs of undergraduate studies in Ireland: the three-year-old Ordinary Bachelor Degree and the four-year-old Honors Bachelor Degree. After a four-year program, which includes a large number of seminars and lectures, students receive a diploma (usually with honors). 

The Master's program in Ireland is a two-year program: under the supervision of a supervisor, students are engaged in research work, there are much less lectures and seminars on this program. Doctoral studies last from 2 to 6 years.

There are several types of higher educational institutions in Ireland - there are some differences, so the choice of a university depends on the future specialty. Those, who want to do science and devote their lives to research, study at universities. There are a total of 9 universities in Ireland.

It is better to study applied sciences at institutes or colleges in Ireland - the programs are practice-oriented and carefully prepare students for future work. Many organizations value diplomas of institutes and colleges more than university ones for practical knowledge and skills.

The academic year starts in September and finishes in June, includes two or three semesters. A serious load awaits students: the curriculum includes a large number of lectures, seminars, individual lessons with a curator. All universities in Ireland are technically well equipped and have high-quality sports equipment (sports are usually required at universities). Students enjoy spending time in clubs, studios, and student communities.

Another advantage of Ireland is its affordable price: it is considered one of the most affordable English-speaking countries for studying. In the leading universities of Ireland, students will pay about 15.000-20.000 euros per year, the most expensive - medical specialties (study for them will cost about 30 thousand euros). Education in less prestigious universities will cost about 15.000 euros. Living expenses are in a wide price range (living in the capital, of course, is more expensive). Average cost of a student who has chosen higher education in Ireland, food, accommodation and travel is 7.000-10.000 euros per year (it is 30% cheaper than in the UK).

Students can work while they study, but only 20 hours a week, and it’s easy to find work: it is beneficial for the country to attract last-year students to work in their specialty. Many continue to work in companies after graduation and thus remain in Ireland. Any student with high academic results can receive material encouragement.

Admission to universities in Ireland for foreign students

  • High school diploma should include good grades, almost everything is “excellent”
  • Language proficiency must be confirmed by TOEFL certificate (550), IELTS - from 6 points
  • But the path to TOP universities in Ireland is quite difficult: competition is high. It is safer to take a preparation course, the University Foundation. Foundation is a one-year pre-university preparation course that aims to help students from abroad adapt to the new academic and language environment. 

Learning programs-summary information

Name Meaning Equivalent Min. age Duration, 
Next stage Cost
GCSE General certificate of secondary education secondary education (non-accomplished) 14 1–2 A-Levels 15,000 USD+
A-Levels Advanced level secondary education (accomplished) 16 2 University 15,000 USD+
BTEC Business and Technology Education Board secondary special education 14 2–3 University/ work 15,000 USD+
Oxbridge Preparation Preparing for Oxford and Cambridge secondary education (accomplished) 17 1 University 15,000 USD+
International Baccalaureate International baccalaureate secondary education (accomplished) 16 2 University 18,000 USD+
Foundation/ Pathway Year Preparatory year admission to the 1st year of university 17 1 University 14,000 USD+
NCUK The Northern consortium 2 year university 17,5 1 2 year University of NCUK 13,000 USD+
Special Preparation (Medics/Math/Business) Specialized training - 14 optional optional 4,000 USD+
Academic English Academic English Language school 8 + 6–12 months School or University 8,000 USD+

Top 50 universities in the USA

1 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
2 Stanford University
3 Harvard University
4 California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
5 University of Chicago
6 Princeton University
7 Cornell University
8 University of Pennsylvania
9 Yale University
10 Columbia University
11 Johns Hopkins University
12 Duke University
13 Northwestern University
14 University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
15 New York University
16 Carnegie Mellon University
17 University of Wisconsin-Madison
18 Brown University
19 University of Washington
20 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
21 Rice University
22 University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
23 Boston University
24 University of California, Davis
25 Washington University in St. Louis
26 Purdue University
27 University of Southern California
28 University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB)
29 University of Maryland, College Park
30 University of Pittsburgh
31 Michigan State University
32 Emory University
33 University of Minnesota
34 University of Florida
35 University of Rochester
36 Case Western Reserve University
37 Texas A&M University
38 University of Virginia
39 Vanderbilt University
40 University of Colorado Boulder
41 Dartmouth College
42 University of Notre Dame
43 Arizona State University
44 University of California, Irvine
45 Georgetown University
46 Tufts University
47    University of Miami
48 North Carolina State University
49 University of Massachusetts Amherst

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


Cost of living in Ireland

Expenses - USD/Month. Min. Med.
Accommodation 407 528
Food 213 442
Transportation 90 197
Communications and utilities 98 121
Clothing 24 92
Sports and leisure 27 98
Total 860 1,477


Statistics of English courses in Ireland

Programs Intensity Group Language requirements The minimum cost of the week
General English 15-22,5 8-12 Beginner €130+
Intensive Courses 25-30 5-10 Beginner €220+
Combined Courses 25-30 5-10 Beginner €305+
IELTS Preparation Courses 25-30 8-10 Intermediate €220+
Cambridge Preparation Course 20-30 8-10 Intermediate €130+
English for Business 25-30 6-10 Intermediate €220+
One-to-one tuition individual 1 Beginner €35+ lesson
Academic Year Programme 20 10-15 Beginner €2,70

Accommodation in Ireland

Shared room outside of centre 411
Shared room in city centre 533
1 bedroom apartment outside of centre 780
1 bedroom apartment in city centre 944


Estimated Costs

Estimated Costs Min., € Average €
Consular fee of the embassy €60 €60
Flight (Moscow - Dublin - Moscow) €227 €550
Medical insurance €100 €120
Study material €35 €65
Delivery of invitations by express mail €45 €75
Transfer/Escort €90 €120
International exams €130 €175
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