You are here: Home > Education and Training > Third-level education > Studying abroad > Studying outside Ireland

Print Page Send to a Friend

Studying outside Ireland

Information

If you are interested in studying in a European Union member state, another European country or a country outside Europe this document covers the options available to you. For information about the UK you can read our document about studying in the UK including Northern Ireland.

People choose to study abroad for a number of reasons. Entry requirements may be easier, you may have access to courses that are not available in Ireland or you may simply want the experience of studying outside Ireland. It is important to know the differences between studying in Ireland and studying abroad. You should find out about the application procedures, length of courses, fees and living expenses before you make a final decision on whether a course of study abroad is suitable for you.

Finding out about courses and studying abroad

If you are a third-level student in Ireland your university or college may have information about opportunities for studying outside Ireland. You can also get information by applying directly to a third-level institution for a prospectus. If you do not have a specific course or institution in mind, there are a number of sources of information on studying abroad:

  • The Study in Europe website has information about higher education institutions in 32 European countries. It has guides to choosing a course, making an application and living in Europe.
  • The European Youth Portal is a source of information for young people about studying in Europe both in the European Union and in non-EU countries. It has information on a wide range of other topics for young people including working, travelling, volunteering and exchanges in Europe.
  • UNESCO produces an international guide to studying abroad. It includes a searchable online database of higher-education study opportunities and the scholarships offered by higher education institutions and international organisations in many countries. It also has contact details and information on admission requirements, application deadlines, financial aid, fees, living expenses and other relevant information for all courses.
  • WorldWide Classroom is a source of information on courses, student services and practical country information worldwide. You can use the international programme finder to search for a course in the country and language of your choice.

Student exchange programmes

Many Irish third-level institutions offer their students the opportunity to travel through their course of study, often through student exchange programmes. Irish institutions establish initial contact with institutions abroad and maintain an ongoing relationship with them. Students move between the two institutions on study and work placements and are offered services such as student orientation, language training, and accommodation services. Contact your college for information about any student exchange programmes they may offer.

Studying inside and outside the EU

Studying in the EU

The Lifelong Learning Programme supports projects and activities that foster interchange, cooperation and mobility between education and training systems within the EU. It is currently available to all member states of the EU, Turkey and the 3 other member states of the EEA (Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein). The Programme includes:

  • The Erasmus programme is a European education programme that promotes exchanges between university students, teaching staff and administrative staff throughout participating countries. The programme allows students to spend a semester or year abroad at a partner institution in the EU and to obtain full academic credit for so doing. It is accessible to all types of higher education institutions, to all subject areas and all levels of higher studies up to and including doctoral level. The Higher Education Authority is the national agency responsible for administering mobility grants for students and teachers who want to study/teach in another participating country - see 'Where to apply' below.
  • The Leonardo da Vinci programme is intended to improve the quality of vocational training in Europe. Léargas is the national agency responsible for administering mobility grants to students and recent graduates who may be undertaking work placements abroad as part of a course of study - see 'Where to apply' below.

Studying in non-EU countries

The EU has education co-operation programmes with the USA, Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. These programmes are aimed at developing educational links between the EU and the 5 partner countries. Student and teacher mobility are encouraged by the promotion of student exchange programmes between participating institutions.

Student visas: If you are going to study outside the EU and in a non-European country, you may need a student visa. Each country will have specific requirements for student visas. You should consult with the embassy or consulate of the country where you plan to study for more details.

Funding

The International Education Financial Aid (IEFA) website provides a database of financial aid information for students who want to study in a foreign country. The site contains a comprehensive list of grants, scholarships, loan programmes and other information that may be helpful to those interested in studying abroad.

EU grants

The Erasmus programme provides students with a mobility grant. This normally covers transport costs only.

The Leonardo da Vinci programme offers work placement for students in companies abroad as part of a course of study. If you fulfil the eligibility criteria, you will receive funding from the EU towards the costs of your work placement.

Irish maintenance grants

In Ireland maintenance grants under the Student Grants Scheme are available for undergraduate courses of at least 2 years’ duration in a publicly-funded third-level institution in another EU member state. Depending on your income you may be eligible for a maintenance grant provided that you fulfill the conditions as to residence, age, academic attainments and nationality. You can find detailed information on the range of Irish grants and funds for students in further and higher education on the website www.studentfinance.ie.

Funding for postgraduate study

There are different sources of funding for postgraduate students. Some courses are advertised in the newspapers and include funding. Sometimes financial support is available from the university that is running the postgraduate course; sometimes you need to apply to an external body. Awards are available for a range of subjects, both for taught courses and research programmes. They vary as to amount, duration and whether they only cover fees or include maintenance as well. There are strict eligibility rules and deadlines for application. In addition, there are a large number of postgraduate students competing for limited funding.

Postgraduate research/study scholarships: A number of scholarships for study abroad are awarded annually by foreign governments to Irish students who are engaged in, or have completed a course of third-level education. Details of scholarships are circulated to universities and other relevant third-level institutions of education. Details of scholarships are also published on the Department of Education and Skills website. If you are interested in applying for these scholarships, you should contact the International Section of the Department of Education and Skills and ask to be placed on a mailing list for the scholarship offers. Application forms and relevant details will then be posted to you when the offers are open to receive applications.

Tax relief on tuition fees

If you are not eligible for a maintenance grant you or your parent may claim tax relief on third-level fees as follows:

Undergraduate courses: Tax relief is available for tuition paid for approved full-time/part-time undergraduate courses in both private and publicly funded third-level colleges in any EU member state. It is also available on full-time/part-time undergraduate courses operated by colleges in any EU member state providing distance education in the State.

Postgraduate courses: You can claim tax relief on third-level fees for postgraduate courses in a university or publicly funded college in another EU member state, including colleges that provide distance education in the state. Tax relief is also available for postgraduate courses in a university or publicly funded third-level college in non-EU countries.

How to apply

Application forms for student grants are available from Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI).

You can get an application form for tax relief on tuition fees from your local tax office.

Where to apply

Department of Education and Skills

Marlborough Street
Dublin 1
Ireland

Tel:(01) 889 6400
Homepage: http://www.education.ie
Email: info@education.gov.ie

Higher Education Authority

Brooklawn House
Crampton Avenue
Shelbourne Road
Dublin 4
Ireland

Tel:(01) 231 7100
Locall:1890 200 637
Fax:(01) 231 7172
Homepage: http://www.hea.ie

Léargas

189-193 Parnell Street
Dublin
Ireland

Fax:(01) 8731316
Homepage: http://www.leargas.ie/
Email: info@leargas.ie

Page updated: 10 July 2013

Language

Gaeilge

Related Documents

Contact Us

If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.