The Republic of Ireland or simply Ireland is a beautiful island in the Atlantic Ocean, in north-Western Europe. Famous for its wide green spaces, its seaside, the kindness of its people with their unique sense of humor, Ireland has a lot to offer. And the field of education is no exception, with some of the country’s universities ranking in the top 200 internationally. And for those contemplating further study in the country, Ireland has some of the best masters’ programs. Let’s get a glimpse of how master’s degrees work in the country.
Is Ireland good for masters?
To sell you the idea of pursuing a master in Ireland, let’s review some of the reasons why you should study in Ireland. As a matter of fact, although relatively small, Ireland is home to more than 15,000 international students. Many of them study at master’s and postgraduate levels.
And this has something to do with Ireland’s:
- Quality of education which you can get at universities, institutes of technology or colleges of education. The top institutions in the country are among the leading ones in the world.
- Research opportunities at some of the world’s lead research institutes. This is especially beneficial for masters graduates who also plan to do their PhD in Ireland.
- Learning environment that is very supportive of foreign students. And international offices offer them access to essential info, facilities, staff and any services they might need during their time in Ireland.
- Rich and innovative culture: Ireland is home to a few notable historical edifices. One example is the oldest university of the country: the Trinity College Dublin, which history is woven with Ireland’s and the world’s history.
- Career opportunities: For newly graduates from Ireland universities, the country’s job market has plenty of openings in almost all fields. Ireland being the European base for a few global companies such as Google, Meta, Apple or Intel. Moreover, masters graduates in the country tend to be innovators in their fields and advocates for excellence in their community and internationally.
- Closeness to continental Europe, making it easy for international students to travel into the continent in their time off.
- Friendly people and safety: Ireland ranks in the top 15 of the Global Peace Index, making it a safe destination for international students. Not to mention the friendliness and hospitality of the people, ensuring you a memorable study experience without doubt!
How long is a masters degree in Ireland?
Masters in Ireland usually take 1 year to complete with some programs that may need up to 2 years to complete. The academic year in the country starts in September and ends up in June. Moreover, you have the choice between taught masters and research masters.
This type of courses targets those who like conventional ways of learning, through lectures, seminars, tutorials. Assessment is via exam, dissertation and project.
At the end of their studies, students get either a Master of Arts (MA), a Master of Business Administration (MBA), a Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) or a Master of Science (M.Sc.). Each master course lasts between 1 and 2 years of full-time study.
The learning system with this one consists of project work and independent study. This type of master requires students to take responsibility of their work. At the end of their studies, students earn either a Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.), a Master of Research (M.Res.), or a Master of Science (M.Sc.).
These qualifications share some similarity with a PhD with less work academically and papers being shorter. Students submit a thesis at the end of their studies, and those who plan to do a PhD afterward usually opt for a master of research (MRes) in the first instance, then follow up with their doctoral studies.
Ireland masters intake
Academic calendar in Ireland has 2 teaching semesters. The first semester lasts from September to December and the second semester lasts from January to June. For longer programs, the third semester is the time they use to start working on their dissertation. Moreover, students usually write their dissertation during the long summer break in July and August.
How to apply for a masters degree in Ireland
Ireland being part of the European Higher Education Area, follows the Bologna system. In other words, a master’s program is a second-cycle level course and requires a bachelor’s degree in a related field for the application. Moreover, this also means that a master’s degree you complete in Ireland is internationally recognized and accepted.
Read about the Irish higher education system for more.
As for the other admission requirements, you should check with the university of your choice. It’s worth mentioning that some undergraduate degrees might not be accepted by the institution. Therefore, some students might need to complete further studies before they can start their master’s course.
Moreover, the application process for a master’s program is pretty straightforward. Note just that you can either apply directly on the institution’s website or via the Postgraduate Application Center (PAC) in some cases. The PAC is an independent organization which handles the online registration and application for most universities in Ireland.
The platform gives you all the information about the procedure from filling the application to the final decision. And even though that may seem a bit complicated, it isn’t, and PAC provides support at every step. Another advantage of this system is that you can complete multiple applications. However, they charge you a €50 service fee.
To complete your application for a masters program in Ireland, you need to submit a few documents. The types of paperwork required depend on each university, but in general, you’ll need to prepare your:
- Academic transcripts from your undergraduate studies.
- Personal statement
- Language test scores.
- Proof of financial means
Other requirements include the results from any entrance tests you needed to sit. And in some cases, you may also need to take an interview as part of your application.
Read our guide on how to apply to Irish universities for more.
Moreover, despite the fact that Ireland retains its own language (the Irish Gaelic), English remain the language mainly spoken and used for instruction in the country. If you have not previously completed a degree in English, you then need to pass an English language tests and provide your scores.
Irish universities usually accept the IELTS and the TOEFL, along with the PTE Academic and the Cambridge Proficiency Test. Although rare, some institution might accept the new Duolingo test as a valid language proficiency test.
Ireland masters cost
Postgraduate courses in Ireland can cost between €10,000 and €30,000 per year for international students. Masters fees vary depending on the type of master you wish to complete, the city in Ireland you plan to settle and of course your university of choice.
Some universities may charge less. Although expensive, this cost is 30 to 60% cheaper than what you would pay in the USA. Make sure to always double-check the fee with your university to find out how much you should pay in total. This will also help you to check if you need further funding.
Learn more in our overview of the study and living cost in Ireland.
Read also our review of the cheapest universities in Ireland for international students.
Ireland masters scholarships
There are a few scholarship programs international students can check out to get funding for their postgraduate studies in Ireland.
Government of Ireland International Education Scholarship
This scholarship targets mainly non-EU/EEA students and is managed by the Irish Higher Education Authority (HEA). It’s a funding for 1 year to study a master at a university in Ireland.
Moreover, the scholarship benefits include:
- A full tuition waiver
- €10,000 stipend in 2 payments of €5,000 from the student’s university.
Learn more on the website of the HEA.
Postgraduate Scholarship Program from the Government of Ireland
This program fund a research master’s or a PhD in any discipline at any university in Ireland. The scholarship targets both Irish and international students.
The scholarship benefits include:
- A contribution of €5,750 per year to the tuition fee
- Another contribution of €3,250 per year for the direct research expenses
- Stipend of €18,500 per year
Learn more on the website of the Irish Research Council.
Scholarships from the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)
The DFAT offers approximately 200 postgraduate scholarships through its Irish Aid Fellowship system. Those who earn this scholarship will benefit from:
- Tuition fee waiver
- Cost of living and accommodation cost
- Travel expenses
Employment-Based Postgraduate Scholarship from the Irish Research Council
This is another scholarship managed by the Irish Research Council. It’s for students who want to complete a research project as part of their research master’s or a PhD and in collaboration with an Irish employment partner. The partner can be a business, charity, non-profit or a public body.
Moreover, benefits for this scholarship include:
- A contribution of €5,750 to the tuition fees
- Another €5,750 contribution to cover research expenses
- €18,500 contribution to your salary.
Learn more about this program.
Scholarships from Irish universities
International students can also check with their university which scholarships are available. Usually, Irish institutions offer different merit-based funding ranging from a full master’s funding to a tuition fee exemption.
Get also more info in our article on the best scholarships in Ireland.
Best universities in Ireland for masters
If you’re an international student looking to complete your master’s degree while enjoying Ireland’s rich cultural and historical heritage, the country’s university has a lot to offer. As a matter of fact, the Republic of Ireland has several institutions boasting a world-class reputation.
Here are some of the top universities in Ireland for a master’s degree:
- Trinity College Dublin
- RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences
- University College Dublin
- University College Cork
- National University of Ireland, Galway
- Dublin City University
- Maynooth University
- University of Limerick
- Technological University Dublin
Discover our ranking of Ireland’s top universities for more info on these institutions.