Explore Courses

USA or Ireland – Which is a Better Study Destination?

Updated on 07 November, 2023

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad abroad Editorial Team

Should one choose, USA or Ireland for higher education is one question that may confuse students, especially from the perspective of work opportunities. However, you can clear your doubts based on several parameters that can help you settle the USA or Ireland debate once and for all! 


USA or Ireland- Eligibility Criteria 

Choosing the USA or Ireland for masters or undergraduate programs mean that you should take a closer look at the eligibility criteria in both countries. Here’s taking a look. 

The US- 

  • The US requires 12 years of formal schooling for UG courses, and you will have to clear the SAT examination.
  • You will need 16 years of education for applying to PG courses. You may have to take up an additional one-year course if you have gone through a three-year bachelor’s degree.
  • Management courses require GMAT scores, and you will have to submit GRE scores for science and other programs.
  • You will also have to provide your scores in English language proficiency tests such as IELTS or TOEFL.
  • MBA courses may require some years of work experience.

Counselling">Get Free Counselling to Study in Ireland


  • You will need to score at least 60% in Class XII for applying to UG courses.
  • Diploma and foundation programs are offered to those getting 50% or so.
  • You should be applying for UG courses through the CAO (Central Applications Office), an online system for enrolment.
  • You will have to provide your IELTS/TOEFL scores.
  • PG courses require a bachelor’s degree in a relevant subject along with your English language proficiency test scores.
  • You may have to provide GRE/GMAT scores in some cases.
Read More
MS in Data Analytics in IrelandMasters in Business Studies in IrelandStudy in Ireland
Study in Ireland for Indian studentsEducation System in IrelandMS in Data Science in Ireland
Cost of MBA in Ireland for Indian StudentsWhy Study in IrelandPart time jobs in Ireland
Cost of Living in IrelandCost of Studying in Ireland for Overseas StudentsCareer Opportunities in Ireland
MBA in Finance in IrelandMBA Jobs in IrelandJob Opportunities in Ireland After Masters

USA or Ireland- Which is better in terms of study options? 

In the debate of USA vs. Ireland for Indian students, there are many other factors that you can assess. The US offers innumerable country-based and institution-based scholarships, which may help you meet your entire tuition and even some living costs. You can also use these funds at times to clear student debt. There are many options available for international aspirants. Ireland also has several scholarship choices for international applicants. 

Popular study programs in the US include PhDs, MBAs, engineering courses, computer science, sports and sports management, IT, and related subjects, biotechnology, electrical engineering, hospitality, and physiotherapy.

Popular courses in Ireland include business analytics, data analytics, cyber security, computer science, data science, and more. 

The cost of living in Ireland vs. USA comparison indicates that Ireland is 19.6% costlier than the US, although this may vary, depending upon the location and the course selected. Average tuition costs may hover between $20,000-45,000 per year in the US while this is around $10,000-40,000 in Ireland. 

Visa Process 

The US-

  • Full-time student visas are known as F-1 visas.
  • You will have to go through a personal interview and a biometric appointment.
  • You can stay for up to 60 days beyond the duration you need to finish your academic course unless you have obtained approval for staying and working for a certain period under the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program.
  • You can work for a maximum of 20 hours/week and this will increase to a maximum of 40 hours during breaks and holidays.
Read About Popular Masters Programs in USA:
MS in Data Analytics in USAMS in IT in USAMS in Project Management in USA
Master’s in Machine Learning in USAMaster’s in Marketing in USAMS in Artificial Intelligence (AI) in USA
Master’s in Business Analytics in USAMasters in Data Science in USAMasters in Digital Marketing in USA
MS in MIS in USAMS in Computer Science in USAMasters in Public Health in USA
Masters in Physiotherapy in USAMaster’s in Biotechnology in USAMaster’s in Pharmacy in USA


  • You have to get your Irish study visa if you are thinking of pursuing a course that is more than three months long.
  • You have to show requisite funds in your bank account for meeting tuition and living costs for a year.
  • You should also prove that your sponsor or parents can provide funding for the entire duration of the course.
  • You should be able to work for up to 20 hours/week with the valid stamp 2. It will increase to a maximum of 40 hours/week during breaks and holidays.

Post Graduate

Study-Work Permit

The US allows students to remain after their course and obtain practical knowledge in a particular field via OPT. This temporary permission for employment enables students to stay for 12 months. You may apply for OPT after nine months of minimum enrolment, but you can only start after getting the Employment Authorization Document. There is also a Student Co-Op program, where students are recruited for permanent job positions after graduation while still in college. You will then have to apply for your work visa once you get a full-time job. 

Ireland offers a Third Level Graduate Scheme for which you may have eligibility with a visa stamp 2. For employment purposes, you can apply for up to two years as a non-renewable extension. You can, after that, apply for either your work permit or green card. A new stamp is now given, i.e., stamp 1G for international graduates who have authorization as per the Third Level Graduate Scheme.  

Employment Opportunities

If you are thinking of Ireland vs. the USA for IT jobs, it is a tough ask, since both countries have their flourishing technology sectors.

The US is widely regarded as the world’s predominant technology and IT hub with its own Silicon Valley and start-up clusters. Ireland is also home to leading global technology behemoths with numerous job opportunities available for skilled graduates. The US offers jobs in popular fields like management, software engineering, dentistry, finance, advertising, and management.

Ireland has jobs in varied fields like ICT and software, pharmaceutical and medical technology sectors, financial services, trade and exports, mining, agriculture, fishing, and forestry.  

Permanent Residency Options

The US offers options for PR, although the procedure is extensive. You will have to stay in the country legally for a minimum of five years on employment grounds. After that, you will get your Green Card.

 However, the entire procedure will need several years. Ireland offers permanent residency to those living legally on a work permit for a minimum of five years, which is the same as the US. You will get the Stamp 4 on the passport, and after living for eight years legally, you can apply for what is known as the ‘Without Condition As To Time’ (Stamp 5 permission to remain). It does not come with any pre-fixed validity period.  


Taxes in both countries

Ireland is known for its high taxes, with the top tax rate going up to 48% as of the year 2016. In comparison, the top tax rate in 2016 was 39.6% in the US. While taxes are subjective and depend on your income and various other factors, they may be slightly higher in Ireland.  


Choosing between Ireland and the US is hard since both countries have unique strengths and weaknesses. It is better to first choose your course or area of study and then decide after assessing the availability of educational institutions and overall financial support in both nations. It will help you arrive at a better decision.  

Study and Settle in the USA – Fix a Free Appointment Now


Which is cheaper to live in the US or Ireland?

Ireland is reportedly 19.6% costlier than the US. It naturally makes the US cheaper to live in. However, it may vary depending on the location, i.e., areas like New York are some of the costliest places to live in the world.

Is it better to immigrate to Ireland or the USA?

Well, this answer is subjective. Ireland is slightly costlier than the US, and the latter may have a bigger number of globally ranked institutions and many more options for subjects, courses, and academic research positions. However, Ireland still has a highly regarded educational system and a flourishing economy. The US, of course, has the world’s biggest economy, meaning slightly more job opportunities. Ireland offers high-quality education and healthcare along with good public amenities. As per several surveys, the US offers excellent lifestyles, good education and healthcare, more career opportunities, more space to enjoy, and better weather. 

Is Ireland better than America?

Both countries have their strong points. The US offers slightly more job opportunities and future growth prospects due to the sheer size of its economy. You may also find more course options and institutions here. It is also slightly cheaper to live in comparison to Ireland. However, Ireland has flourishing business sectors, reputed educational institutions, and excellent public infrastructure. It all depends on your perspective. 

Is Ireland safer than the US?

Many studies rank Ireland as a safer country compared to the US, especially in terms of serious crimes. However, in recent years, the incidence of crime has declined in the US too.

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.

See More