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Education system in Ireland

Know all about the education system in the Ireland

 Overview of Education System in Ireland and it’s highlights

High quality of education, internationally recognized programs, excellent research opportunities are some factors that make education in Ireland for International students attractive.

Study levels in Ireland

The Irish education system is similar to that of the Education system in the UK which in itself explains the quality it provides to its students.

Education is mainly categorized into four levels.

Primary education including pre-primary

Post-primary education

Further education and training

Higher education

Framework of Qualifications 

The  Irish NFQ, established in 2003 specifies the standards of Irish education qualifications. It states down the learning parameters for a given study level and course and also defines its quality so that one student may complete the qualification from an institute and move on to the next level in another.

The Irish and the UK qualification authorities have collaborated on bi-lateral and international initiatives which means the students can move across the different institutions and the degree is considered relevant to each other.

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

Fee structure 

Education in Ireland for Indian students is a great opportunity due to its fee structure. While the tuition fee in Ireland is reasonable, the exact amount of tuition fees will depend on various factors. Tuition fees for international students vary according to the type and duration of the course. Each university in Ireland sets its tuition fees, depending on the subject and level of study. In case of budget constraints, we recommend that you check out some cheap universities in Ireland for international students. On an average degree costs between €10,000 and €25,000 a year.

Teaching and learning style

There is a huge difference in the way education is delivered in Ireland as compared to India and hence it takes time to adjust to Ireland’s education system for International students. Students in all the courses are expected to learn things independently via class assignments, reading literature and participating in classroom discussions and debates. The teaching methodology involves a lot of work to be done before the topic is discussed in the class. This is the difference between the Irish education system vs the American education system. A high conceptual understanding and job readiness are two key factors in making Ireland education system world ranking to be very high

Higher education

There are various types of institutes offering higher education in Ireland which include Universities, colleges, and institutes of technologies. Some private institutes offer specialized education like management, business, design, etc. A total of 7 universities, 7 colleges and 15 higher education institutions and 14 Institutes of Technology are present in Ireland.

Higher education can entail degree and non-degree programs.

Non-degree programs



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 7

Bachelor’s degree

Duration: 3 years (medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, and architecture programs maybe for 5-6 years)

Level 8

Honors 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

Many international students willing to study in Ireland do not meet the requirements to study in Ireland. Pathway programs are designed to help students like these enter into mainstream education by completing a pre-graduation program which helps them join the main program later. For example, Indian students aiming for masters can also apply to pre-master pathway programs if they’re unable to fulfill the requirements for direct entry.

Academic year

Higher education is usually divided into two semesters.

First semester: September (This is also the major intake)

Second semester: January

After graduation:

Universities in Ireland regularly organize career fairs that are popular among the students and the corporates alike. These help students find relevant employers and start their professional journeys.

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 depending on the nature and duration of the course.

Please click here to ready about the post-study work Visa in Ireland.

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