How to get your foreign qualification recognised in Ireland
If you want to work or study in Ireland and your academic qualification is from another country, you may need to get your qualification recognised in Ireland.
You should get your foreign academic qualification recognised before you apply for jobs or courses, to give yourself the best chance of success.
This page outlines how to get your foreign academic qualification recognised in Ireland. It also explains how the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) can help you compare the level of different qualifications.
If your work requires a professional qualification, such as teaching or accountancy, you will need to have your professional qualification recognised. The process for getting your professional qualification recognised is different to getting your academic qualification recognised.
Qualifications from Ukraine
If you are coming to Ireland from Ukraine, Quality and Qualifications Ireland have information (in Ukrainian) about its academic qualifications recognition service (pdf). This guide helps you to use QQI’s foreign qualifications recognition service (NARIC).
How do I get my academic qualification recognised in Ireland?
You can compare your foreign qualification to an Irish qualification of a similar type and level on the NARIC website. NARIC compares academic qualifications based on the Irish National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ). The NFQ is a system of 10 levels used to describe qualifications in the Irish education and training system.
To compare your qualification:
- Search for your foreign qualification on the NARIC database
- Download a comparability statement
The comparability statement will help you, your employer, or education provider to understand your qualification in relation to the Irish education system.
If your qualification is not listed on the NARIC database, NARIC may be able to give you a generic comparability statement for your foreign qualification. You can apply for recognition advice by submitting an online form.
NARIC has published a guide on how to get your foreign qualification recognised (pdf). You can also find guides in different languages on the website.
Can I apply to college in Ireland if I have a non-Irish qualification?
If you are an EU student, and you want to study an undergraduate course in Ireland, you should apply through the Central Applications Office (CAO). The CAO manages a centralised application system for most full-time undergraduate courses in Ireland. In general, you do not apply to the college directly for your place.
For postgraduate courses, you generally apply directly to the university or college. Contact the admissions office of the institution you want to study in for more information.
If you are a non-EU student, contact the admissions office of the college you want to study in to ask if you should apply directly to them, or through the CAO.
It is very important to check the application procedure for your course, as you may not be able to make changes after you submit your application. You should make your enquiries well before the CAO closing date of 1 February in the year your course starts, preferably not later than the previous 15 December.
You can read more in our page on college application procedures and entrance requirements.
What are the academic entry requirements to study in Ireland?
You must meet the academic entry requirements (also called matriculation requirements) for the course you want to take. You can find information about entry requirements on the websites of the universities, institutes of technology and colleges of education.
English language requirements
If English is not your first language, you must have proof of your English proficiency, either through your school leaving examination or a recognised English language test.
You can find a list of recognised English language tests on page 10 of the guide on agreed entry requirements criteria for EU/EFTA Applicants (other than Irish Leaving Certificate) (pdf).
All English language certificates must have been issued within 2 years of the expected start date of your course.
The National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ)
The National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) is a system of 10 levels which allows you to compare different types and levels of qualifications available in Ireland.
Qualifications on the framework include:
- Junior Cycle (NFQ Levels 2 and 3)
- Leaving Certificate (NFQ Levels 4 and 5)
- Advanced Certificate – Craft / Higher Certificate (NFQ Level 6)
- Ordinary Bachelor Degree (NFQ Level 7)
- Honours Bachelor Degree / Higher Diploma (NFQ Level 8)
- Masters Degree / Postgraduate Diploma (NFQ Level 9)
- Doctoral Degree (NFQ Level 10)
The NFQ helps you to make qualification choices and consider what options are available for your further studies. The NFQ can also help you explain what qualifications you hold, or are studying for. This is important when you are considering further learning or when you are applying for a job at home or abroad.
For example, a Bachelor Honours Degree from Australia is comparable to an Honours Bachelor Degree in Ireland at NFQ Level 8. A Master Craftsman’s Diploma (Meisterbrief pre-December 2012) from Germany is comparable to an Advanced Certificate in Ireland at NFQ Level 6.
The National Learners Database has information on entry requirements to all third-level courses in Ireland on Qualifax.ie.
The European Commission has an online tool that allows you to compare and contrast qualifications within Europe.
Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) has specific guides on how to:
- Compare UK qualifications (pdf)
- Compare qualifications in Ireland and Hong Kong (pdf)
- Compare qualifications between Ireland and New Zealand (pdf)
If you have a professional qualification you need recognition for in Ireland, read our page on Recognition of professional qualifications in Ireland.