Education in Ireland
Why Study in Ireland?
Ireland’s worldwide reputation for high quality education is built on the solid foundation of commitment to excellence. Ireland is a beautiful island, combining contemporary modern cities with an unspoilt countryside, offering cityscapes steeped in history and landscapes lush with a rich natural habitat. Renowned for friendliness, our safe, English speaking country offers the warmest of welcomes to students from all over the world.
A friendly, safe country
And it is not just us saying it! Ireland was voted by Lonely Planet as the world’s friendliest country in 2008 and 2010 and was ranked 12th in the 2009 Global Peace Index. International students enrich campus communities countrywide and our hospitable nature coupled with an unrivalled sense of fun ensures living in Ireland is an unforgettable experience. The island’s varied environment is ideal for many outdoor pursuits such as climbing, water sports and all kinds of ball and team sports. It’s easy to explore Europe from an Irish base with low-cost, frequent flights making trips affordable. English-speaking country
Ireland is an English-speaking country with close cultural, economic and educational links with the English-speaking world, especially with the UK – our next door neighbour – and with the USA. With 36% of the population under the age of 25, Ireland is one of the most exciting places in the English-speaking world to be a student.
Irish Education System
Ireland has a long and honorable tradition in education. As a result of a sustained investment in this area Ireland now has one of the highest educational participation rates in the world – 81% of Irish students complete second-level and approx 60% go on to higher education. This dynamic, educated population has made its mark at home and abroad with international companies looking to Ireland again and again when hiring graduates for top class positions.
Responsibility for education lies within the Department of Education and Skills.It administers all aspects of education policy including curricula, syllabi and national examinations. Attendance at full time education is compulsory in Ireland from six to fifteen years of age and is free in the majority of schools, and at undergraduate third-level. Education is considered a fundamental right under our constitution.
The Irish Education System was traditionally divided into three basis levels: Primary (8 years), Secondary (5 or 6 years) and Higher Education which offers a wide range of opportunities from post-secondary courses, to vocational and technical training, to full degree and the highest post-graduate levels. In recent years the focus has expanded to include pre-school education and adult and further education as the concept of lifelong learning becomes reflected in the education opportunities available within the Irish education system.
Academic Entry Requirements, Ireland
Access to third-level education is highly competitive in Ireland. Students compete for entry based on results achieved in the Irish Leaving Certificate Examination. Students are graded on their six best subjects scores. Entry requirements for courses may vary from year to year, depending on the number of places available and the number of applicants, thus there exists a great deal of competition for the more sought after programmes.
Overseas students wishing to study in Ireland have two options:
a) Attend secondary school in Ireland and complete the Leaving Certificate Examination with Irish students. This route is chosen by a number of students who commonly take the examination in conjunction with English language tuition.
b) Undertake recognized public examinations in their own countries. This is a more common route and it is essential that every applicant check that the educational qualifications she/he is presenting are adequate to satisfy entry requirements. To have a realistic prospect these results should be very good, e.g. for medicine 3 good ‘A’ Level passes (grades A/B) or the equilivent, in relevant subjects are required. The minimum requirement for most degree level programmers is 3 grade ‘C’s at A level or equivalent. If there is any doubt about the acceptability of an applicant’s qualifications, clarification should be sought in good time from the particular third level institution.
As English is the language of instruction at all Irish Institutions of higher education, students must demonstrate a proficiency in English to be accepted for a third level programme. Generally, the required minimum score in TOEFL is 550. Many universities and colleges provide English Langauge training programmers for intending students. Furthermore, there are over 110 private English language training schools throughout the country which run both short and long terms courses.
English Language Requirement
In the case of all applications, either through the CAO or directly to the college, evidence must be provided of competence in the English language. The list below indicates the minimum standards in English language which should be met. In certain circumstances, results in examinations other than those outlined below may be accepted as proof of competence: