Application Process for Universities in Ireland

For students looking to study in Europe, Ireland is a country that is definitely on the list. There are over 2,000 study programs available, so there is no shortage of options for those who want to study in Ireland. Each of these programs in various universities may have their own application processes, but they are not too different. This article will talk about the options for applications to UG and PG programs, and provide the details of admission requirements in Ireland.

Timeline for Admission to Ireland Universities

Ireland universities have two intakes - Autumn (semester 1) and Spring (semester 2).

Month Details
June/July Application deadline for Autumn intake
September Semester 1 begins
September/October Application deadline for Spring intake
January Semester 2 begins

Application Process for Ireland Universities

Before starting the application process to Ireland universities, you must determine:

  1. Whether you are an EU applicant or a non-EU applicant.
  2. What study level you wish to join, i.e undergraduate or postgraduate.
  3. What type of higher education institution you wish to join, that is
    1. University,
    2. Institute of Technology, or
    3. Private independent college.
  4. What course you want to join.

Those not residing within the EU are generally considered to have non-EU status.

Undergraduate Applications Process in Ireland

As a general rule, EU applicants to UG programs may apply through the Central Applications Office (CAO), while non-EU applicants must apply directly through the university’s website. However, there are a few exceptional cases, where certain programs require that all students regardless of their status apply through CAO. In that case, the deadline is 1 February, and you will have to pay an application fee of EUR 45.

Postgraduate Applications Process in Ireland

A majority of PG programs require direct application through the university/faculty website. The application cost and deadlines depend on the program. Some other institutions ask students to apply through the Postgraduate Applications Centre (PAC) website:

For these institutions, all programs may not be available for common application through PAC, so it is always advisable to check on the specific university website first.

Ireland University Application Deadlines

The application deadlines to the top universities in Ireland is provided in the table below:

University Application Deadline
Trinity College Dublin 31 July (UG)
30 June (PG)
University College Dublin Varies with program
National University of Ireland, Galway 1 February
University College Cork 31 May
Dublin City University 1 July

Admission Requirements in Ireland Universities

Ireland Language Requirements

Most universities in Ireland have English as the medium of instruction, hence you are required to take any one of the recognized English Language Proficiency Tests. You will have to meet the following cutoffs:

English Test Minimum Required Score
PTE 36 (UG) , 63 (PG)
Cambridge ESOL C1 or C2

Some universities exempt you from submitting these test scores if you have written English GCSE or GCE exams as part of your school syllabus. Another possibility is to take the Occupational English Test (OET) if you are applying for programs in medicine and health sciences.

Study in Ireland Without IELTS

Sufficient knowledge of English is a must to study in Ireland, and not many universities accept students without IELTS scores or similar test scores. However, one can still choose to study at English Language Teaching Organizations (ELTOS), whose training is recognized by universities for language proficiency.

Tests Required for Admission to Ireland Universities

Since medicine, nursing and other healthcare professions are the most commonly taken up programs by international students, the exams required to study in Ireland in this field are slightly more important. There are mainly two such exams:

  • Health Professions Admission Test (HPAT)
  • Graduate Medical School Admission Test (GAMSAT)

The next most popular exam is GMAT, which is required to do an MBA in Ireland.

Documents Required for Admission in Ireland

The following documents must be submitted during the application process in order to successfully gain admission to a higher education institution:

  • Scanned copy of passport
  • Relevant academic transcripts, which would be
    • High school leaving certificate, if you are joining a UG course
    • Proof of holding a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent, if you are joining a PG course
    • Any other certificates showing academic merit
  • English language proficiency test score (as mentioned above)
  • Other aptitude test scores, if required
  • Statement of Purpose for Irish Universities
  • Financial statements, which may include
    • Bank balance statement
    • Proof of loan sanction
    • Income Tax return papers
  • CV, if required
  • Letter of Recommendation, if required
  • Passport-size photographs

Fee Payment to Ireland Universities

The fee varies with university and program, but in most cases online payment is accepted. These are the available options of payment:

  • Payment portals on university websites, accepting debit/credit cards
  • TransferMate, with no international charges
  • EFT bank transfer

The university will specify which option to go for, so you may follow accordingly.

Ireland Student Visa

If you are planning to study for more than 3 months, you will need to get a study visa to Ireland. These documents are required to successfully obtain a visa:

  • Filled and signed application form
  • Copy of current and previous passports
  • Letter of application with contact details
  • Letter of acceptance from the college
  • Proof of educational history
  • Proof of fee payment
  • Language proficiency test score
  • Financial statements
  • Private Medical Insurance
  • Birth certificate, if under 18 years
  • Proof of consent from guardians, if under 18
  • Proof of accommodation in Ireland, if under 18

You will have to provide English or Irish translations of documents that are in other languages.

Reasons for Rejection of Application

Your application may be rejected if:

  • Your passport is invalid.
  • You are not accepted into any college.
  • You do not have the required academic qualifications.
  • Your application letter is not up to mark.
  • You are deemed as unable to cover the expenses.
  • You have a criminal record.

Although Ireland is very welcoming of international students, you must ensure that you follow the specifications given by your preferred university/program so that you get admission hassle-free. Whether you want to do Bachelors or Masters in Ireland, you will need to provide accurate documents both to the university and for visa purposes.


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