Studying outside Ireland
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 European Commission provides information about studying in Europe. It provides information on admission, fees and other areas of interest while studying 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, and volunteering 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 in the EU
provides opportunities for participants who include students and education
staff, to study, train, get work experience and volunteer abroad. In addition
to providing grants for individuals, Erasmus+ supports transnational
partnerships among education, training and youth institutions and
organisations. It also supports national efforts to modernise education,
training and youth systems. It also provides support to sport initiatives.
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.
Erasmus+ provides students with a mobility grant.
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 if you fulfil the conditions for 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 may also be published on the Department of Further and Higher Education website and on the European University Institute website. If you are interested in applying for these scholarships, you should contact the Higher Education Equity of Access section of the Department of Further and Higher Education 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 claim tax relief on tuition fees using Revenue's myAccount service.
Where to apply