6 Best Medical Schools in Ireland

Studying in the Republic of Ireland is a rich cultural experience, with an immersion into high-quality research and the opportunity to attend some of the most prestigious and historic European universities. The heritage amassed by these schools doesn’t diminish their appetite for modern, cutting-edge facilities and research developments either.

Applying to a medical degree in Ireland is fairly centralized as it’s all processed through a Complete Admissions Office and based on a Health Professionals Admissions Test (HPAT) if you are Irish or a citizen of a European Union country. If you’re non-EU, each university has its own international student admissions process and dedicated team that you should consult. Here are the best medical schools in Ireland.

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How much does it cost to study medicine in Ireland?

Medicine is a very expensive course of study in Ireland, particularly for non-EU students. It will cost anywhere between €9,000 and €51,000 a year for non-EU citizens to study medicine (depending on the university).

European students can access a number of grants and scholarships. However, they mainly just have to pay a registration fee which is c. €2,000 for the whole program. The only significant expense thereafter will be the living costs.

How long does medical school take in Ireland?

The medical school programs in Ireland are five years long. This is the generalist training, after which specialist training can take a further four years.

It is worth noting that the majority of high school alumni first take a one-year pre-medical program for an additional year of study before entering the full course of medicine.

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Top Best Medical Schools in Ireland

1. University College Dublin School of Medicine

The UCD School of Medicine was founded in 1855 and has an illustrious history. Today, it boasts a modern curriculum allowing for early and continual patient contact for students, many travel opportunities, the most extensive clinical network in Ireland, and a roster of internationally renowned experts as part of its faculty. University College Dublin School of Medicine is considered the best medical school in Ireland.

Their aim is to “bring science to the bedside” and ensure that students understand how the body works, how and why things go wrong and how to treat and manage disease and ill health.

In order to obtain a medical degree at UCD, you will go through a three-year pre-clinical program and then two final years in the affiliated teaching hospitals – St. Vincent’s University Hospital or the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital. There are also another 20 training hospitals and 100 primary care practices for students to choose to learn in.

There is a twinning program between UCD and Penang Medical College in Malaysia. Moreover, international summer elective opportunities allow students to travel and study in institutions such as the Hospital of Special Surgery in New York, USA, the University of British Columbia in Canada, the Hospital of Sick Children in Toronto, Canada, and many more.

There is a centralized applications system for Irish and EU students called the Central Applications Office. You will need to take the HPAT – Health Professionals Admissions Test, too. If you are from outside the EU, you can apply through the International Admissions system at the university.

2. Trinity College Dublin School of Medicine

Trinity College Dublin is one of the oldest and most illustrious universities in Ireland, founded in 1592 and modelled after the universities at Oxford and Cambridge. The aim was for it to have multiple colleges, like these two, but only one college was ever established. Trinity is Ireland’s oldest surviving university and one of the most elite universities in Europe. Trinity College has one of the top medical schools in Ireland.

The School of Medicine aims to deliver medical education to the highest international standards. Some form of medical school has been running on these grounds since 1711, with a multitude of research centers and laboratories being added and developed over time. Within the School of Medicine, you can study general medicine alongside occupational therapy, physiotherapy, radiation therapy, nutrition and dietetics and human health & disease.

The undergraduate medical program is five years long and follows the pattern of two years of pre-clinical study, with the remainder taking place in hospital settings. They encourage a research mentality and you can also obtain a Master’s degree after your third year.

3. NUI Galway School of Medicine

NUI Galway is ranked among the top 300 universities worldwide and has been offering courses of study since 1845. It now welcomes a large student body of over 18,000 across its disciplines. They have a strong focus on research and one of the areas of specific interest is improving health and wellbeing. The campus is next to Galway University Hospital, where they operate the Lambe Institute for Translational Research and the Health Research Board (HRB) Clinical Research Facility.

The College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at the NUI Galway offers the medical study program as part of its School of Medicine. Graduating from this program will earn you a degree of Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery and Bachelor of Obstetrics (MB. BCh, BAO).

4. University College Cork School of Medicine

The next university in our list of best Irish medical schools is the University College. One of five schools within the College of Medicine and Health at the University College Cork, the School of Medicine has a long tradition of teaching, research and scholarship. The program is taught from the Brookfield Health Sciences Complex, a modern purpose-built building dedicated to research and medical studies.

The School’s mission is to deliver the educational program leading to the MB BCh BAO degree as well as a range of other programs at undergraduate and graduate levels. They promote postgraduate study and research as much as possible. There is a five-year “direct entry” undergraduate program as well as a four-year graduate program of medicine. They both lead to the same qualification, but the latter takes into account additional studies and experience.

5. Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland

The RCSI was founded in 1784 as the national training body for surgery in Ireland. It has always been at the forefront of pioneering, such as having the first female medical graduate in Ireland or Britain (Ms Mary Emily Dowson in 1885) and the first female surgical fellow (Ms Emily Winifred Dickson in 1893).

Located in Dublin, the RCSI has a University of Medicine and Health Sciences. You can study medicine here at undergraduate level, as well as a whole host of other disciplines and program options. During the program, you’ll obtain a solid grounding in general medicine, to then go on and develop your skills in a clinical setting.

RCSI have Europe’s largest and most modern clinical simulation facility on campus. Before working with real patients, this is where you can learn and hone a range of essential skills in a safe environment.

6. University of Limerick School of Medicine

The final college in our list of top medical schools in Ireland is the School of Medicine at the University of Limerick. This school aims to produce doctors who are competent, confident and caring. Studying here, you will learn the scientific basis of medicine, as well as understand the social and environmental context in which health and illness exist.

The medical program here is the BMBS Graduate Entry Medical Program – a four-year medical degree open to graduates from any discipline. You will have a wide range of clinical placements to choose from and the opportunity to specialize in different areas consequently.

With a degree from the University of Limerick, you will be equipped to practice as a medical practitioner, but also to conduct research, work in education, medical administration as well as medical journalism.


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