Honestly now: why wouldn’t you want to study in The Republic of Ireland?
No, seriously: U.K.’s nice and quiet neighbour, but with a force of steel, seems like it was created especially for students from all around the world to come and study in their old, castle-like universities, and do their homework while searching for leprechaun gold, at the same time.
Yes! On paper, The Republic of Ireland is perfect. But how is it, when you get down to actually applying to a Master’s degree in its universities and colleges?
Ireland loves and welcomes international students
Before we go on, you should know the basics about Ireland’s view on education.
Known as “the Land of Saints and Scholars”, Ireland has always welcomed people who searched for guidance and knowledge. And, based on their history of accepting everyone who wanted to study with open arms, they even outlined a plan, between 2016 and 2020, in order to attract more international students, and prepare them thoroughly for the career path they choose.
So, you can be sure Ireland is ready and perfectly equipped to offer what it promised to its students.
How to apply to a university or college in Ireland
Step 1: Where do you apply for a Master’s degree in Ireland?
Ireland has a total of 34 higher education institutions. Out of the 34, 9 of them require you to apply to a Master’s programme on a special, intermediate website, where you have to make an account and slowly go through all the steps there.
Some of the 9 universities where you have to apply through this website are:
- Maynooth University
- University College Cork
- National University of Ireland, Galway
- Waterfront Institute of Technology
- Dublin City University
For the remaining 25 universities, you have to gather up your courage and go to each university website and apply there.
And, if you want further help in deciding what university is worth considering, then don’t forget to check out the top-ranked universities in Ireland.
Step 2: What subjects to apply for in Ireland?
Ireland is the first that recommends that students shouldn’t apply for a mother-discipline. This means that, if you want to study Mechatronics, for instance, you’re better off applying to a Technology and Engineering university, and then going wild and picking your specialisation during college years.
The reason Ireland recommends this is because, once you are enrolled and want to change your Major, meaning your specialisation, you have to start a Master’s degree all over again, not just simply move from discipline to discipline, like a bee testing different flowers.
Some of the mother-disciplines you can check out in Ireland are:
- Master’s degrees in Humanities
- Master’s degrees in Computer Science and IT
- Master’s degrees in Business and Management
- Master’s degrees in Medicine and Health
But, don’t despair. You can apply to any number of degrees within a university, as there is no imposed limit. Be on guard, though, that each application will cost you around 50 EUR.
Speaking of money, let’s get to the important stuff.
Step 3: How much does it cost to study a Master’s degree in Ireland?
Ok, we covered the first part, about the application fee of 50 EUR.
Now, let’s take everything in order: let’s assume you got accepted (Woo, congrats!), and that you’re ready to go.
You have to pay your tuition fee, which can differ depending on the subject you pick, the university you attend, and your status as an EU or non-EU student.
For non-EU students, the tuition fee can be around:
- For Medicine and related disciplines: from 4.000 to 31.000 EUR
- For Engineering: from 9.250 to 24.000 EUR
- For Arts and Humanities: from 9.250 to 22.000 EUR
- For Business: from 9.250 to 34.500 EUR
For EU students, the tuition fee can be:
- For Medicine and related disciplines: from 3.800 to 21.000 EUR
- For Engineering: from 5.550 to 9.000 EUR
- For Arts and Humanities: from 4.400 to 9.600 EUR
- For Business: from 6.000 to 30.000 EUR
And, because you can’t live on a bench in an Irish pub and you will need accommodation, you can either opt for university housing, which can be around 6.000 EUR/year or search for one on your own.
For you to get an idea of what to expect, you should know that, on average, living in Ireland’s most popular cities may be around:
- In Dublin: between 1.100 and 1.800 EUR/month
- In Cork: between 860 and 1.400 EUR/month
- In Galway: between 800 and 1.100 EUR/month
Step 4: What student scholarships are available in Ireland?
But, lucky for non-EU students, because of their outlined plan for 2016 – 2020 (remember, the thing I mentioned above?) Ireland has a lot of scholarships to offer to extraordinary students, who can prove they can stand out, have a plan for their future, and are just, generally, super nice people.
Some of the major scholarships you should look for are:
- The Government of Ireland International Education Scholarship: the deadline for the 2018 edition is 23rd of March 2018, but, if you miss this one, there are a lot of chances that they will offer another one in 2019.
- Full scholarship to Study Abroad in Ireland: this year North American students were offered the possibility of applying, and next year Ireland will pick another nationality. Deadline is usually late February.
- Irish Aid funded Fellowship Training Programme: this year Tanzanian students were offered the possibility of applying, and next year Ireland will pick another nationality. Deadline is usually at the start of January.
- Centenary Scholarship Programme for DIT Master’s Students: only for Master’s students (duh!), this scholarship will reopen on the 1st of March, so be ready to start applying!
Step 5: How to know if you qualify for EU or non-EU fees
Ireland is… special, here. For them, it doesn’t matter where you were born, but it does matter where you actually lived.
Although it is applaudable for giving everybody the same start, things can get a little muddy, so let’s try and sort things out.
You are classified for the EU fees if, and only if:
- You lived in EU/EEA/Switzerland for at least 3 years before applying
- OR you are an Irish/EU/EEA/Swiss student who studied in Ireland at least five years in primary or second level school
- OR you lived in the EU continuously and have worked for 3 out of the 5 years before admission in Ireland
- OR have a passport from an EU state and have been studying full-time in a higher education institution for 3 out of the 5 years before admission in Ireland
Step 6: What documents do you need to apply for a Master’s in Ireland?
First of all, you need to speak English. There’s no bypassing this. Like, they have on the official website this exact sentence: ‘If you have difficulty reading this, then maybe you should rethink your choice of course.’
I know, but they’re Irish. They tend to be very straightforward.
Anyway… In order to prove that you have sufficient language skills to study in Ireland, you have to have one on these points:
- Your native language is English
- Your undergraduate (Bachelor’s) was in English
- You submit a proficiency test
Assuming you need the test, in order to go to Ireland and tell them that they’re very rude, you should know that some of the certificates they accept, with a minimum grade, are:
- TOEFL: 120 for computer-based test, or 550 for paper-based test
- IELTS: total score of 6.5, and each component passed with a minimum of 6.0 (6.0 in Speaking, 6.0 in Listening, and so on)
- C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency
Other documents will vary depending on the programme or university, but, in general, they surely ask for identity proof and school paperwork.
Some examples are:
- IB Diploma OR French Baccalaureate OR a combination of high-school grades and standardized test scores
- Written materials, like personal essays, writing samples, or even both
- Recommendations letters: 2 for each course to which you are applying
Step 7: What is the deadline for applying to a Master’s degree in Ireland?
Ireland has the basic 2-semesters-mid-term-breaks-in-fall-and-spring-and-winter-and-summer-vacations format almost all universities have.
With school beginning in late August or early September, and finishing in May, the deadline for applying can start from the 1st of February, but most of them are around 31st of March. And, with the risk of saying the same phrase again and again, you should know that IT VARIES DEPENDING ON THE UNIVERSITY.
You could swear that the universities in Ireland are all siblings that just fought among themselves and refused to come to an agreement, but, still, let’s try not to judge them too harshly.
Especially because the application period is of almost 9 months.
Hear us out: you can start applying since the beginning of October, for the 31st of March deadline. If some students don’t confirm they will be enrolling, after all, until the 1st of May, the spots left will be out for grabs again until the 1st of July. And, for some universities, even longer!
So, just a quick recap of the most important dates:
- Beginning of October: Application opens
- 1st of February – 31st of March: Application deadlines
- 1st of May: confirm you will be enrolling
- 1st of July: Second wave application deadline
Next steps after you are admitted to a Master’s degree in Ireland
Assuming you have woken up from the party you threw, to celebrate you’re a student again, let’s remind you that some things still have to be taken care of, ASAP after admission.
For one, you will need to research and get a student visa for Ireland. Long story short, and veeeery simplified, is:
- EU/EEA students: you don’t need a visa, but you will have to register for a residence permit in Ireland, after your arrival. Also, you can work during and after your studies without special provisions, just by making sure you don’t work more than 20 hours per week (during your studies) and 40 (after your studies).
- Non-EU/EEA students: you need to apply for a visa online, write and sign a letter explaining why you need this visa, and have the letter of acceptance from the university in Ireland in which you’re about to study. There are also a lot of fees and fund proof you need to submit, but please search for them yourself, because there are so many special provisions that writing them would make this bullet point longer than the whole article. The same goes for searching the work permit requirements.
Now that you know absolutely everything about applying in Ireland, we can only wish you good luck and keep our fingers crossed that you will ask your university about all the details you need.