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Canada or Ireland- Which Country for Higher Studies?

Updated on 09 April, 2024

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad abroad Editorial Team

Choosing between countries to study abroad can be challenging considering each country’s benefits. International students choose from multiple the top desired study abroad nations such as the USA, UK, Australia, Canada, Ireland, and more. So which country to choose, Canada or Ireland? The choice seems tough, considering the increasing global popularity of both destinations as major educational and employment hubs. Ireland and Canada have unique strengths and USPs to offer aspirants. Here’s a closer look at some of the parameters that may help you choose the right study abroad destinations.

Interested to Study In Ireland? Apply for Free Counselling

Canada or Ireland- Eligibility Criteria

Finding it hard to choose between Canada or Ireland for master’s or undergraduate programs? A lot depends on the average eligibility criteria in both countries for students. 


  • You should have finished twelve years of school education for undergraduate programs. 
  • You will have to appear for the SAT examination for four-year degree courses. 
  • There are diploma courses available for two years. 
  • It is easier for PG or master’s programs to get admitted to vocational courses. 
  • You will require GMAT scores for management programs, while GRE scores are needed for engineering degrees. 
  • Cut-offs are not usually applicable to colleges in the country.
  • You also require scores in English language proficiency tests such as IELTS or TOEFL. 
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  • A minimum score of 60% or higher is needed in Class XII. 
  • Diploma and foundation programs are available for those who have scored 50%. 
  • Students should have completed 18 years before enrolling in degree programs. 
  • Entry requirements are slightly less stringent at universities in Ireland, although education standards are quite high. 
  • Universities take applications for UG courses via the CAO (Central Applications Office) online system. 
  • You have to provide your IELTS/TOEFL scores. 
  • For postgraduate courses, you will need a diploma or degree at the bachelor’s level and a relevant subject of study. 
  • You will have to provide scores on English language proficiency tests too.
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Admission Cycle

Here are the admission cycle or intakes for Canada and Ireland


IntakeCourseAdmission cycle
Fall IntakeUndergraduate, Postgraduate and degree programsSeptember – January
WinterDegree/diploma programsJanuary – April
SummerDiploma/Certificate programMay-August


IntakeCourseAdmission cycle
Autumn Undergraduate, Postgraduate and degree programsJune – September
SpringUndergraduate, Postgraduate and degree programsSeptember – January
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Top Universities

Both Canada and Ireland are home to many top universities. However, here is the subject-wise list of top universities as per QS World University Rankings 2022 (QSWUR). 

Arts and Humanities

Universities (Canada)QS WUR by Subject 2022Universities (Ireland)QS WUR by Subject 2022
University of Toronto=16Trinity College Dublin, =46
University of British Columbia30University College Dublin=92
McGill University=37National University of Ireland Galway=271
University of Montreal=120University College Cork=288
York University=159Dublin City University=338

Engineering and Technology

University (Canada)QSWUR Subject 2022University (Ireland)QSWUR Subject 2022
University of Toronto=34Trinity College Dublin, =165
University of British Columbia36University College Dublin=206
University of Waterloo=49University College Cork289
McGill University=53National University of Ireland Galway=295
University of Montreal=104University of Limerick338

Life Sciences and Medicine

University (Canada)QSWUR Subject 2022University (Ireland)QSWUR Subject 2022
University of Toronto12Trinity College Dublin, 106
University of British Columbia=24University College Dublin151
McGill University28University College Cork=191
McMaster University=49National University of Ireland Galway=297
University of Alberta=75Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland=353

Natural Sciences

University (Canada)QSWUR Subject 2022University (Ireland)QSWUR Subject 2022
University of Toronto24Trinity College Dublin, =201
University of British Columbia26University College Dublin=228
McGill University63National University of Ireland Galway401-450
University of Waterloo=93University College Cork451-500
University of Alberta=152  

Social Science and Management

University (Canada)QSWUR Subject 2022University (Ireland)QSWUR Subject 2022
University of Toronto21Trinity College Dublin, =99
University of British Columbia31University College Dublin=136
McGill University43Dublin City University=267
Université de Montréal129University College Cork=276
Western University=185National University of Ireland Galway=290
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Ireland vs Canada: Scholarship

Both Canada and Ireland offer scholarships to international students. Here are the details about the same.


Scholarship NameEligibilityAmount (Approx)
Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship ProgramStudents with excellent academic record receives this.Variable Amount
Global Citizen ScholarshipAll undergraduate students are eligibleCAD 12,797
University of Buckingham Ondatje Postgraduate ScholarshipMasters students in the University of Buckingham are eligibleCAD 6396
Conestoga College International Degree Entrance ScholarshipAll post and undergraduate students are eligibleCAD 1918
Ivey MBA ScholarshipsGMAT scores and academic excellenceCAD 12, 813 to half tuition fee


Scholarship NameEligibilityAmount
The Government of Ireland International Education ScholarshipBoth UG and PG students are eligible

EUR 10,000 stipend


Fully-funded tuition and other registration charges

The Walsh FellowshipPostgraduate studentsEUR 22,000 each year
Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship 2020Postgraduate studentEUR 22,000 each yea

Ireland vs Canada: Cost of Living

Another parameter worth keeping in mind is the cost of living in Ireland vs. Canada. Ireland is approximately 26% costlier on this count than Canada, according to an Expatistan report. Average UG courses will cost you around INR 11-15 lakh in Canada compared to INR 9-11 lakh in Ireland as per estimates, while PG courses may cost around INR 7-21 lakh in Canada and INR 11-13 lakh in Ireland. However, costs may vary depending on the institution and location, among other factors. 

Canada vs. Ireland for Indian Students- Visa Process


  • Apply for the work permit after graduation within 90 days of completing the course. 
  • The application procedure will come with a mandatory medical test. 
  • Spouses may take up full-time work if they stay for one year or more. 
  • You can work for more than 20 hours each week and up to 40 hours weekly during breaks and holidays. 


  • You can apply for a student visa if you enroll in a course spanning more than three months. 
  • You will have to show minimum funds in your bank account while applying, covering costs for one academic year and proving that you or your parents/sponsor will be providing the expenses required for the education. 
  • If you have the valid Immigration permission Stamp 2, you will be allowed to work up to 20 hours weekly during the session and up to 40 hours weekly during breaks and vacation periods. 
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Post Graduate Study Work Permit

Canada has a post-graduation work visa, enabling students to work after completing their course for a tenure of up to three years. The students are allowed to work in any industry or business sector. Upon finishing your course in Ireland, you may consider applying for employment. Full-time students with visa stamp 2 may be eligible under the Third Level Graduate Scheme. You can apply for the non-renewable extension up to two years after completing your courses. You can subsequently apply for your green card or work permit. Stamp 1G is now given to foreign graduates with authorization to work under this scheme. 

Employment Opportunities

The debate between Canada vs. Ireland for IT jobs or jobs in other sectors is fascinating. In Canada, coveted and in-demand jobs include teachers, financial managers, nurse practitioners, program analysts, pharmacists, construction managers, and more. Ireland offers coveted and high-demand positions in forestry, fishing, mining, agriculture, medical technology, ICT, software, and pharmaceutical industries. Other high employment industries include the financial services sector and exports/trading. 

Permanent Residency Options 

If you apply for a post-graduation work permit in Canada and get it, you can apply for permanent residency within this period under the Canadian Experience Class. There is a shortage of skilled professionals and getting PR in Canada is comparatively easier than in many other countries. If you have been residing in Ireland for 5 years with your work permit, you can be eligible for the Permanent Residence Permit. Individuals can get stamp 4 on their passports with validity for five years, which is also renewable. After staying here legally for eight years, you can apply for Without Condition As To Time which will not have any pre-fixed validity. 

Taxes in Ireland and Canada

48% is the highest tax rate in Ireland as of 2016. In the same year, the highest tax rate was 33% in Canada. However, tax rates do vary considerably in Canada. You may take home a higher amount in some Canadian provinces than in Ireland, although this could be slightly lower for some areas like Nunavut. Canada offers higher take-home income overall in some categories. 


It is hard to conclude the final decision between Ireland and Canada. Both countries have flourishing economies and highly-ranked institutions. Canada has slightly lower living costs, and getting a permanent residency is more accessible than in other countries. It also has slightly lower taxes. However, Ireland has its strengths, including comparatively affordable tuition fees in many cases, available scholarships, and excellent employment prospects. Hence, take a look at your specific needs before deciding to choose between Ireland or Canada. 

Disclaimer: All course fees and salaries are approximate amounts subject to change depending on various conditions.

Seeking to study in Canada – Apply Now

Important Resources to Read About Study Abroad

How to study abroad from IndiaStudy abroad for free

Study Abroad Checklist

Best countries to study abroad for Indian students

Education loan to study abroadPacking list for Indian students going abroad
How to study abroad?Difference between scholarship and fellowship

What is a Scholarship?

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is cheaper to live in Ireland or Canada?

As per several studies, Canada is cheaper than Ireland by 9.6% overall. The cost of living in Ireland is higher by 26%. This means that staying in Canada will be relatively light on your pocket.

Is it better to immigrate to Ireland or USA?

As per several reports, Ireland is a prosperous country with a higher GDP per capita figure. Its education system is regarded as relatively better, although the USA also has a robust and highly-ranked education system. The USA is often regarded as an overall better pick owing to its status as the largest economy in the world, diversity of programs and courses, multiple research and career growth options, and slightly lower cost of living (lower by 19.6%) than Ireland.

Is Canada better than Ireland?

It is a subjective question to answer. Ireland has friendly locals, a flourishing economy, employment opportunities, available scholarships, and free public healthcare with subsidies. Canada offers publicly funded healthcare coverage with nominal expenditure for some out-of-hospital facilities. Ireland is costlier than Canada, while Canada provides an equally thriving economy with more job opportunities in some cases owing to a shortage of skilled personnel. It also offers an easier route toward permanent residency and lower living costs. Now it is up to you to take your pick.

Is Canada safer than Ireland?

According to the Global Peace Index, Canada ranks 6 in the list of the top 10 safest countries in the world. Ireland is not in the top-10 list, which does not include other major countries like the USA, UK, France, and even Australia. This indicates that Canada is a comparatively safer country than Ireland.

Ireland or Canada- Which is better for masters?

If you are looking for highly-reputed universities with global rankings, you can choose Canada for master’s programs. Canada also offers an easier route towards permanent residency while the costs are lower than in Ireland. However, Ireland also has its own highly-ranked global universities while providing a flourishing economy. It all depends on your chosen area of study and its overall availability.

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad abroad Editorial Team

We are a dedicated team of study-abroad experts, ensuring intensive research and comprehensive information in each of our blogs. With every piece written, we aim at simplifying the overseas education process for all. Our diverse experience as journalists, content writers, editors, content strategists, and marketers helps create the most relevant and authentic blogs for our readers.

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