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Education system in Ireland

Know how the Irish education system works!

Academic excellence, internationally-recognised qualifications, vibrant campus life, abundant growth in research, and immense employment opportunities, education in Ireland will offer you all.

Study levels in Ireland
The Irish education system is quite similar to that of the UK which in itself explains the quality it provides to its students. Education in Ireland is mainly categorised in four levels.

  • Primary education including pre-primary
  • Post primary education
  • Further education and training
  • Higher education

National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ)
The NFQ specifies the standards of Irish education qualifications. It measure and compares the learning standards and achievements of qualifications and also facilitates the transfer between institutions i.e. it allows students to move from one study level to another as long as their student visa requirements are fulfilled. Since the qualifications under NFQ correspond with that of European Qualification Framework, your degree is recognised and accepted globally.

Note that the both Irish universities, Institutes of Technology and HECA private colleges provide third-level qualifications on the NFQ.

Fee structure
Ireland is a great place to enjoy a world-class education, quality of life and colourful confluence of culture. While the tuition fee in Ireland is reasonable, it is best to plan well to manager your expenses well. Tuition fees for international students vary according to the type and duration of the course. Each university in Ireland sets its own tuition fees, depending on subject and level of study. The average degree costs between €10,000 and €25,000 a year.

Teaching and learning style
Universities and colleges in Ireland provide an interactive and innovative learning approach wherein you’ll be engaging with your classmates and your instructor alike while understanding the topic/concept of discussion. Irish system reaches out to support international students, both in the classroom and outside of it.

You’ll be expected to do a lot of independent learning which can include working on assignments, reading a lot of academic lists and making notes during your lectures. In addition to lectures, tutorials are also conducted to helps students understand the concepts in a better manner. The classroom size is smaller than India and English is the medium of instruction. As an Indian student, you may take some time to get used to the Irish accent but once you do, you’ll know why it is called the most charming accent of the world.

Higher (or third-level) education
The higher education comprises universities, colleges, and institutes of technology, most of which are Irish government funded. Ireland has a total of 7 universities, 7 colleges of education, 15 private higher education institutions and 14 Institutes of Technology (IoT). There a few additional third-level private institutions in Ireland that offer specialised education in disciplines like business studies, art and design, law, medicine, etc.

Higher education can entail degree and non-degree programs.

Non-degree programs

Level

Description

Level 6

Higher certificate (mostly offered by IoTs)
Duration: 2 years

Level 7

Higher diploma
Duration: 1 year

Level 8

Graduate diploma
Duration: 1 year

Level 9

Postgraduate diploma
Duration: 1-2 years


Degree programs

Level

Description

Level 7

Bachelor’s degree
Duration: 3 years (medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, and architecture programs may be for 5-6 years)

Level 8

Honours bachelor’s degree
Duration: 3-4 years

Level 9

Master’s degree
Duration: Mostly 1 years with exception to certain courses that may extend to 16-24 months

Level 10

Doctoral degree
Duration: 3 years of research followed by dissertation


Pathway programs
There are also many pathway programs to higher education for international students including foundation studies mostly in business, social sciences, engineering or pure/applied sciences. Irish universities have arranges with private pathway providers that helps students receive the extra support and assistance they need to succeed. Indian students aiming for masters can also apply to pre-master pathway programs if they’re unable to fulfil the requirements for direct entry.

Academic year
Higher education is usually divided into two semesters.

First semester: Starts in September and runs till December

One-month Christmas break: December/January

Second semester: Starts late January and runs till May

Summer break: May till early September


After graduation
As per the revised Third Level Graduate Scheme Permission, the Irish Government offers the opportunity to students who have graduated from Irish institutions to stay in Ireland for up to 24 months for employment.

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