Education System in Ireland – Education Level & Eligibilities

education system in ireland

The education system in Ireland is under the Department of Education and Skills. It is a principal authority responsible for framing the educational regulations and policies for institutions and students. In Ireland, education is mandatory for children between the 6 to 16 age group or until a minimum of three years at the second level. 

Over 85 percent of young people complete secondary education, and over two-thirds attain higher education. Ireland is ranked first in Europe in terms of graduates per 1,000 inhabitants.

The Irish education system comprises mainly of

  • Third-level education
  •  second-level education,
  •  primary (first-level) education

Important Link : Best Education Systems in World 

Third- Level of Education System in Ireland

The third-level education sector in Ireland is also known as higher education institutions or HEIs. The HEIs consist of universities, institutes of technology, and colleges of education. There are a total of seven autonomous universities, which are also in the self-governing category. They provide degree courses at Master’s, Bachelor’s, and Doctorate levels. 

The technological segment comprises institutes of technology offering training and education in parts like engineering, science, business, music, and linguistics, to diploma, certificate, and degree stages. They also have credentials at the postgraduate level. The Higher Education Authority regulates university and institutional funding.

The four awarding organizations include Dublin University, Dublin City University, the University of Limerick and the National University of Ireland. Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) is the awarding organization beyond the university. It is also the authority in charge of further training and education while granting Higher Certificates to institutions.

Country-Wise Education Systems

Top Universities in Ireland 

QS WUR 2023

Universities

Popular Courses

98

Trinity College Dublin

BA in Biochemistry, Biomedical Engineering, MSc in Applied Behaviour Analysis

181

University College Dublin

MIM,  BTech, MBA                                                

270

National University of Ireland Galway

BSc in Podiatry and BE/MEng in Sport and Exercise Engineering.

303

University College Cork

Data Science and Analytics (MSc), B.E. / B.Tech, B.Sc., BBA, M.A., M.Arch

471

Dublin City University

MS., MIM., BBA,  M.E./M. Tech

Degrees Offered in Ireland

Bachelor’s degree: Popular bachelor’s degree courses in Ireland include architecture, management, dentistry, medicine, and veterinary science programs.

The average duration to study for a bachelor’s degree is around three years.

Master’s degree: A master’s degree usually takes one year to complete in Ireland. The most popular master’s degree courses across Ireland are MSc in Management, BioInnovate, Professional Master’s of Education, MSc in Data Science and Analytics, and MBA.

Application Process

Students applying to study in Ireland as EU citizens must apply for undergraduate courses through the Central Applications Office (CAO). All non-EU citizens can directly apply to the higher education institutions in Ireland.

To get admission to Post Graduate programs, students can directly apply by referring to the university’s official website. International students need to pay the application fee, which differs based on the program. However, some universities ask students to apply through the Postgraduate Applications Centre (PAC) website.

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Key Details of the Scheme: 

Children may attend sessional or half-day preschool services like Montessori, playschools and toddler cum parent groups. The regular timing is usually three years each day for five days a week, throughout the academic year. Parents may have to fork out money in additional charges if their kids attend preschool beyond this time limit. If the sessional facility is not available for five days each week, the regular pattern will be four days a week (3 hours and 30 minutes each day). Children attending part/full-time daycare centers will have a three-hour timing pattern for each day. Extra duration charges also apply in these cases. 

ECCE childcare and playschool partners should offer suitable educational frameworks to the authorities, based upon the Siolta guidelines or the national policy in this regard. The staff members of local CCCs or city/country childcare committees and coordinators at Siolta may also visit participating providers while offering guidance. Parents may have to provide booking deposits, going up to a maximum of four times the capitation fee each week. Deposits paid will be repaid by end-October of the year when your child is starting preschool. Weekly capitation costs are paid throughout the entire year for some providers. You can directly apply for your child at any playschool, daycare center or ECCE partner. You have to obtain the list of institutions from your local CCC office while offering a birth certificate copy of your kid as well. 

Support is available for children who have special needs. You can also apply for special assistance under AIM (Access and Inclusion Model) in this regard. Apply via the Pobal website and through the PIP or Program Implementation Platform. The provider will help you get this done. The procedure stays open for applicants around the year. Applications are only made with full consent. 

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Documents required for Admission in Irish Universities

  • Academic transcripts, including High school, leaving certificate (for UG course)
  • Proof of holding a Bachelor’s degree or similar (for PG course).
  • English language proficiency test results (TOFEL, IELTS)
  • Other aptitude test scores if required.
  • Statement of Purpose for Irish Universities
  • Financial statements
  • Resume/ CV
  • Letter of Recommendation
  • Passport copy

Cost of Studying in Ireland for International Students

The cost of studying in Ireland depends on the course level and the subject area. Here is an average estimate of tuition fees required for studying various streams at different levels across Irish Universities.

Program

Undergraduate Fee

Post-Graduate Fee

Arts and Humanities

€10,000 – €16,500

€10,500 – €20,000

Business

€10,000 – €16,000

€10,500 – €30,000

Engineering

€10,000 – €21,600

€10,500 – €30,000

Medicine

€20,000 – €31,000

€12,000 – €52,000

Sciences

€10,000 – €21,600

€10,500 – €18,000

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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

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Education in Ireland- Second-Level

Ireland’s second level of education is available throughout the four types of schools (vocational, secondary, comprehensive, and community). The secondary institutions are those under the ownership and management of private entities. This educational stage comprises a junior cycle over three years and a senior cycle over two to three years. It depends on whether the child chooses the transition year (optional) after the Junior Certificate test.

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Education in Ireland- Primary Level: 

In the first level, the children start attending from six (maximum) or earlier. Children usually begin in September after their fourth birthday. Four and five-year-old kids are usually admitted into school senior or junior infant classes. The primary-level curriculum contains mathematics, languages, scientific, social and environmental education, arts, visual arts, music, drama, health, personal and social education.

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Education System in Ireland- Preschool Level: 

Education in this category is mostly offered through providers or childcare institutions with private funding. It is available under ECCE or the Early Childhood Care and Education program. It ensures one free year of early education and childcare for those in the preschool stage and age. Many initiatives emphasize child education and are sponsored by the Department of Education and Skills.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is the education system good in Ireland?

A: Ireland has one of the best education systems in the world, and there are many reasons to study here. Schools and universities are globally connected, and graduates of Irish education institutions have access to opportunities in many different careers worldwide.

Q: Are there scholarship options for studying in Ireland?

A: Yes, numerous scholarships are offered to eligible and qualifying students. International students should refer to the official university website for updated information to learn more about the available scholarships. Some of them are given below:

Open Study/Research Award
DCU Taught Masters Program Award
Hugh Lane Gallery Curatorial Award
Government of Ireland International Education Scholarships: This is one of the leading scholarships in Ireland and offers an individual allowance of €10,000 and a full tuition fee waiver to 60 recipients for one full year education on a Bachelor, Master or Ph.D. program.

Q: Can I stay in Ireland post completing my studies?

A: Students who have completed their study in Ireland for 24 Months or more are permitted to work for two years as Irish General Employment allows.

Q: What is the process for Ireland university admission for international students?

A: Students looking for the answer to admission to Ireland universities must apply as per the deadline with the essential documents. Students can directly apply by referring to the university’s official website.

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