6 Cheapest Universities in Ireland for International Students

Ireland has created a reputation for itself by being one of the most beautiful countries of Europe with its unique location in the British Isles. The country is steeped in a long history that brings with centuries of tradition and culture. These customs and traditions hold a very special place in the Irish people’s hearts, even to this modern day.

It is very well known for these Irish citizens who have a pleasant nature and are very hospitable to foreigners. Despite the country’s history of being one of the poorest countries in Europe, Ireland is now one of the wealthiest nations on the continent. In this article, we will be looking at cheap universities in Ireland.

Naturally, it can be quite surprising to think that one of the major contributing factors to Ireland’s boost in the economy over the last few decades is its education system. This is not so surprising now, considering universities and institutions of higher education in the country as among the best in the world. The education system has been ranked as 20th in the IMD World Competitiveness.

Furthermore, around 7 Irish universities are placed within the top 100 universities of the world. Programs that are offered by universities are rich, varied, and are of the highest standards of academic excellence. Fields of study such as the natural sciences, economics, technology, and the humanities are the best courses offered by Irish universities.

Prospective international students with an inkling towards stunning nature, ancient history, culture, and literature will find a true second home in Ireland. With its unique location in Europe, several international connections flow through the capital of Dublin, which makes other parts of Europe easily accessible to students.

In terms of tuition and cost of living, Ireland is considerably less expensive as opposed to other higher education systems such as in the United Kingdom. In this article, we present a list of universities in Ireland that are the most affordable but also offer some of the best education for these prices as well.

How many universities are there in Ireland?

Officially, Ireland has around 9 major universities that are operated by the government. These public universities in Ireland are usually cheap for international students. However, there are numerous private universities, colleges, and institutions of higher education. Overseas universities have also established international branches that are partly based in Ireland as well.


What programs are popular in Ireland?

Ireland is known for having strong programs that attract international students. Here are some of the most popular programs:

What are the requirements to study in an Irish university?

The basic requirements as with most universities in the world apply. Students should be of 18 years of age when applying. Entry requirements are less strict and are therefore not too competitive (however, this does not mean that the academic standards of the universities are low).

As English is the primary language of instruction in all universities, students need to demonstrate their proficiency with exams such as TOEFL or IELTS.

To help international students with the application process, we’ve prepared a guide on How to Apply to Universities in Ireland for International Students. It is a good place to start so that you can study abroad in Ireland!

What are the average expenses to study in Ireland for international students?

As mentioned previously, studying in Ireland is not as expensive as studying in countries such as the UK. In terms of living expenses, prospective students can expect to pay around EUR 600 to 1000 per month, depending on the location as well as the student’s requirements.

This cost can be high for many international students. However, there are ways that you can study in Ireland for free. If you are interested, read about How to Study in Ireland for Free (7 Steps).


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Cheap Universities in Ireland for International Students

1. Trinity College Dublin

A member of the University of Dublin, Trinity College is an elite and prestigious public research university that is based in the capital of Dublin. Founded in 1592, not only is it one of the oldest surviving universities of Ireland, but it is also one of the seven ancient universities of Britain and Ireland.

This history gives the university a long-standing reputation for its academic and research prowess. An interesting fact about the origin of the university is that the University of Dublin aimed to establish a collegiate university similar to the Oxbridge universities, however, Trinity College was the only one to be founded.

The university campus is integrated into central Dublin so students are immersed in the heart of all things Irish.

Currently, this cheap university in Ireland has a student population of over 15,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students. 3 main faculties constitute the academic profile of the university with an additional 25 schools under these that cover a range of disciplines of study.

It further conducts world-leading research, particularly in the fields of information technology, nanotechnology, mathematics, engineering, psychology, politics, and the humanities. With its high standards of academics, competition is very intense and only the best students are selected for admission.

However, it also presents relatively affordable tuition fees as well as plenty of scholarship opportunities for prospective international students.


2. University of Limerick

Based in the iconic city of Limerick in the Midwest region of Ireland, the University of Limerick is another prestigious public research university. It was initially founded in 1972 and is the latest addition to the university system of Ireland.

Currently, the university has a student enrolment of over 16,000. Of these, over 2400 students come from over 100 countries across the world. Academically, the university consists of four main faculties of study including that of science & engineering, arts, humanities, education, health sciences, and the Kemmy Business School.

Collectively, more than 100 degrees of study are offered to postgraduate and undergraduate students. It is also one of the first universities in the country to introduce a co-op work placement program for students. The student population is also overseen by the university’s prestigious Students Union, which further offers more than 70 clubs and societies for the students’ benefit.

With its high academic potential, the university has been constantly ranked among the 500 universities in the world (based on the QS rankings) as well as in the top 80 universities that are less than 50 years of age.


3. University College, Cork

Located in the second largest city of Ireland, which is Cork, the University College Cork (the UCC) is a constituent college of the National University of Ireland. It was established in 1845 as one of the Queen’s Colleges of Cork, Belfast, and Galway.

The university currently has a student population exceeding 20,000 and is one of the largest institutions of higher education based on student enrolment in the country. It also has a very high international student population of around 2500 in total.

The academic profile of the university includes several colleges including the College of Medicine and Health, Humanities, engineering, business & law, and Celtic studies & social sciences.

The students union of the UCC is also among the most active types in the country and offers more than 100 clubs and societies for the students at this cheap university in Ireland. Students are therefore guaranteed to have a well-rounded experience in addition to their studies.

Furthermore, the university is known for being one of the leading research hubs in the country, particularly in the fields of nanoelectronics, environmental research, and food technology.

With its high standards of academics, it comes as no surprise that the university has been ranked among the top 2% of universities in the world as well as in the top 500 universities based on the QS and Times Higher Education rankings.

4. Dublin Business School

The next university on our list of cheap universities in Ireland is Dublin Business School. The Dublin Business School is a private institution of higher education that was first established in 1975.

Originally founded as the Accountancy and Business College, this college was created in order to meet the needs for providing more commerce-based education that seemed to be lacking in Ireland at the time.

Initially, the DBS used to conduct purely evening classes for candidates studying for professional accounting body exams but it has since expanded to become one of the largest independent colleges in Ireland.

Currently, the DBS has a student enrolment of over 9000 students who follow a range of programs ranging from full-time to part-time undergraduate and postgraduate programs. These are particularly in the fields of law, business, accounting, IT, management as well as psychology, arts, and media studies.

These courses are supervised by 3 main schools; the School of Arts, the School of Business and Law, and the Professional School. With its location in the capital, students are immersed in the economic hub of the country that provides them with numerous unique opportunities to further their careers.

5. Griffith College Dublin

Griffith College, located in the capital city of Dublin, is a private institution of higher education. It is among the largest and oldest private colleges established in the country. Founded in 1974, the college was formed to provide business and accounting training for its prospective students.

Since then, it has expanded into an internationally recognized institution that provides education in more disciplines than business. Griffith College currently has a student enrolment exceeding 7000 undergraduates and postgraduates.

A number of faculties constitute the academic profile of the college, ranging from business and law to pharmaceutical science and design. Students have access to over 100 diverse courses of study.

The School of Professional Accountancy is especially renowned as it provides certified courses under the ACCA and CPA qualifications. The college further pays close attention to its international focus with several overseas partnerships with universities in countries such as Germany, the USA, India, Korea, and China. It also takes part in the Erasmus and Socrates exchange schemes.

Despite its recent inception, the university has climbed up the rankings and is now recognized among the top 100 private colleges of higher education in the world.

6. Cork Institute of Technology

Located in the city of Cork, the Cork Institute of Technology is a premier institution of higher education that was originally established in 1974. With its origins in the Royal Cork Institution, this cheap university in Ireland was founded to maintain education in the fields of engineering and technology in the country.

Currently, the university has a student population of more than 17,000. Although it identifies as an institute of technology, the CIT provides courses in a range of disciplines art, business, drama, natural & physical sciences, law, and engineering.

The main constituent faculties are that of Business & Humanities, Engineering, and Science. Additional schools of study fall under these faculties.

The university is further comprised of a large 80-acre campus located in the Bishopstown region of Cork. Students have access to cutting-edge academic as well as social and recreational facilities that help to widen their university experience.

These include novel sports halls, swimming pools, one of the largest university libraries in the country as well as premium research units. It is also one of the only institutions of higher education in the country to show a strong commitment towards research activities which also contribute heavily to the national development of Ireland.

Research further revolves around a range of disciplines that provided a well-rounded edge to the university. Further academic partnerships fostered with overseas universities maintain the reputation of this fine institution.


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