Postgraduate Study in Ireland
Known for its rolling green hills, enduring traditions and melodious Gaelic, Ireland is increasingly becoming a popular destination for international students looking for a familiar, yet unique experience in their postgraduate study.Find courses in IRELAND
Once a part of the United Kingdom, Ireland is now a separate nation and belongs to the European Union save for a few northern counties, which remain a part of the UK as Northern Ireland. The nations’ complex history intermingles several different ethnic groups such as the Britons, the Celts, and the Gaels, the final Celtic settlers in Ireland, and from whom the Gaelic language gets its name.
Ireland separated from Great Britain in December of 1921 with the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty. The treaty allowed for Northern Ireland to choose to remain a part of Britain, while the rest of the country united under a new government of the Irish Free State. In 1949 the country became known as the Republic of Ireland, and would face several more internal and external conflicts including World War II before finally reaching equilibrium.
Modern Ireland is a nation of proud people who take great pride in their country and history. It also a land of tradition, with the resurgence of the Gaelic language and folk traditions further uniting the Irish in their shared culture.
The currency of Ireland is the Euro.
Ireland: Irish Universities and Education
Ireland is ranked 8th in the world for having a large percentage of the top 500 universities in the world.
It divides its higher education institutions into three categories: Universities, Institutions of Technology, and Private Colleges. Ireland has seven universities, and Northern Ireland has two. These are similar to Universities in other parts of Europe, and allow students to earn postgraduate masters degrees and PhD qualifications in a variety of areas.
Institutes of Technology are the second category, and offer masters and PhD degrees in specific areas such as information technology or IT, engineering, economics, sciences and computer sciences, while private colleges, the final category, provide postgraduate degrees in more vocational subjects such as law, art, management and catering.
It is advisable to carefully tailor your choice of institution to the type of degree you wish to study, and research the unique opportunities presented by schools in each category. For example, the Dublin Institute of Technology provides extensive courses in Computer Science and IT which allow students to carefully specialise in the area of their field that most interests them, while NUI Galway is a more traditional research institution with a large population of international students.
As part of the application process, students from non-English speaking countries will be asked to supply IELTS results for most universities, as the main language of instruction is English. There are however, more than 25 courses taught in Irish Gaelic, and language requirements for those courses will differ.
Ireland: University Fees and Funding
At Irish universities the fees for postgraduate students from the EU range between approximately €4,000-20,000 per year depending on the institution and type of course. Business courses may cost as much as €30,000 per year.
Students from outside the EU can generally expect to pay more in tuition fees, with the average costs starting at €9,000. For courses in business or medicine, costs can reach €30,000 or more. However bear in mind that tuition fees will vary depending on factors such as the length and type of course.
Some funding is available to international postgraduates in the form of Fee Grants, which are open to students from the EU based on a set of strict requirements. Individual institutions also have funds, grants, scholarships and bursaries that are open to international students with requirements based on factors such as the student’s country of origin and their academic achievement.
Ireland also participates in exchange programs like Erasmus, which cover some of the costs of tuition, and offers work placements and similar financial support.
Maintenance grants are a secondary type of bursary open to international students, and these mainly cover living costs, as fee grants do not. Maintenance grants will be awarded based on assessment of the student’s total economic situation, including immigration status, financial situation and current residence.
Living as a student in Ireland
While English is the first language of most Irish people, there are smaller areas called Gaeltacht, found primarily along the western coast of the country where the dominant language is Irish Gaelic. In these communities, the signage, main spoken language and documentation are in Irish.
There has in recent years been a strong push towards re-introducing Irish as the country’s primary language, indeed, it is actually considered the official language of Ireland, although most of the population does not speak it fluently or regularly.
Costs of living in Ireland are similar to that of the rest of Western Europe, and tend to be higher in larger cities like Dublin. While its urban centres and suburban towns are generally busy and modern, filled with cinemas, museums, pubs and shops, Ireland retains much of its traditional charm, with small country villages, and beautiful hundred-year-old architecture throughout cities like Dublin and Cork.
Ireland is well connected by train lines that crisscross the coast and allow for travel between cities, while buses serve primarily within cities. Student travel cards are available to full-time students with proper documentation and provide discounted fares for buses and trains. Taxis are also available within cities, but can be expensive.
Ireland: Student Visas and Immigration
Students from within the EU are entitled to study in Ireland so long as they are staying for more than three months and have adequate funds to support themselves. If you are an EU citizen, you may need to show proof of this upon entering the country.
Students from outside the EU will require visas to study in Ireland and Northern Ireland. For non-EU students, you must be accepted into a full-time program of study before you begin your visa application. As part of your visa application, you will need to supply proof of your acceptance, academic ability to fulfil course requirements in the form of transcripts from your previous course of study, and evidence of adequate funding – approximately €7,000 – to support yourself for the first part of your stay. Other documentation will also be required depending on your specific status and circumstances.
Check with the Irish embassy in your home country for further information. The international office at your chosen Irish university should also be able to advise you.
The Music of Ireland
Ireland’s music is one of the most well known and popular aspects of its culture, with many Irish vocalists performing both traditional and modern genres reaching international fame.
Ireland’s musical traditions go back as far as 921, when songs told stories and chronicled the histories of the tribes living in the area. Today, Irish folk, pop, and rock singers continue to bring attention to the unique musical history of the Irish people.
Some famous Irish musicians of modern day include:
U2 – Reaching their zenith in the mid-80s, U2 is a band that is still beloved by millions of fans around the world. Today, lead singer Bono has also made the group synonymous with charity and philanthropy.
Enya – Known for her distinct musical style and soaring vocals, Enya’s music brings hints of her traditional Irish background to the forefront, and several of her songs have been recorded in the Irish tongue.
The Script – Rising to fame in the mid 2000s, The Script continues to top the charts all over the world with catchy ballads and danceable pop tunes.
Celtic Woman – known for their operatic vocals and use of native Irish songs and language, Celtic woman have introduced many to the beauty of Irish folk music. They still perform concerts across the world accompanied by traditional instruments such as fiddles and bodhran, a type of small drum.
And who could forget the classic boybands Westlife and Boyzone!
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