Study Medicine in Ireland: 6 Things to Know

Being a doctor is one of the most sought-after professions in the world, more so in Ireland. Since the admission process starts early on, aspiring physicians must be truly determined to pursue a career in Medicine. After all, it is not without bumps and difficulties.

While Ireland has limited slots for those who want to be doctors, it continues to be open to foreign students. It is one of the few European countries to offer 2 types of programs – an undergraduate-entry program and a graduate-entry course.

Depending on your qualifications, you may pursue either track. No matter what you take, you must know these things to study medicine in Ireland.

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1. Can international students study in Irish medical schools?

Yes. Students can either opt for the 6-year undergraduate degree or the 4-year graduate-entry Medicine program.

2. How many medical schools are in Ireland?

5 Irish medical schools offer undergraduate and graduate programs for international students to study in Ireland. These are the Trinity College Dublin, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, University College Dublin, University College Cork, and the National University of Ireland in Galway.

The University of Limerick also offers a graduate Medicine program for foreigners.

3. How difficult is it to study medicine in Ireland?

The challenge starts early on – even before application. As Irish medical schools have limited slots, only the best and brightest get in. That means you should have good grades and a good score for the HPAT, an exam that is known to be fairly difficult. Even if you get an excellent HPAT grade, you will not be granted automatic admission to your preferred medical school.

4. What are the requirements to study medicine in Ireland?

Medicine in Ireland can be taken at an undergraduate or graduate level.

For international students who apply right out of high school, schools require a leaving certificate.

At the University College Dublin (UCD), foreigners must submit the result of their ACT or SAT exam. Applicants also need to submit a short personal statement and two reference letters.

At Trinity College Dublin (TCD), applicants must satisfy the subject qualifications for physics, biology, or chemistry.

Unlike local applicants, foreign students may be exempt from taking the Health Professions Admission Test, as is the case with UCD. But at TCD, all applicants need to take the HPAT. A minimum score of 480 is required fo studying medicine in Ireland at this medical school.

Like local students, learners from the EU may course their applications through the Central Applications Office.

As for medical schools that accept graduate applicants, an official transcript of an undergraduate degree is a primary requirement.

At UCD, a Medical College Admission Test is required for North American students. A certified GAMSAT result, on the other hand, should be submitted by students originating from other regions.

As with its undergraduate Medicine Program, UCD requires its graduate applicants to submit a short personal statement and two reference letters.

5. What are the components of the medical curriculum in Ireland?

As mentioned, you can study medicine in Ireland as an undergraduate or graduate student.

The duration of undergraduate programs depends on the University. At TCD for example, this course lasts for only 5 years. At UCD, the undergraduate program is 6 years long.

Similarly so, the curriculum varies from school to school. At TCD, the bulk of the teaching takes place during the first two years. The methodologies cover problem-based learning, didactic lectures, small group teaching, and practical demonstrations. Modules in Philosophy and Perception are included as well.

As TCD also promotes research, qualified students may be able to complete a Master’s in Biomedical Science after year 3.

On the other hand, at UCD much of the teaching takes place during the first three years. The transition from classroom-based learning to clinical education takes place during the fourth year. This practical training starts in the fifth year, while clinical and elective rotations are completed during the sixth year.

As for graduate Medicine programs, the course usually starts with biochemical and clinical education. It is then followed by systems-based learning of disease in the second year. Like the undergraduate program, clinical training starts during the third year. As with the undergraduate program, the last year for the graduate Medicine program entails clinical and elective rotations.

6. How do you work as a doctor in Ireland?

After obtaining a Medical diploma, a student must apply for a one-year internship. This is governed by Ireland’s Health Services (HSE) and is accomplished by way of matching.

The internship may also be done abroad, granted that the student meets the requirements set forth by the country/locality.

After completing this internship, the student may finally register with the Irish Medical Council.

You need to take the Membership Exam for the Irish College of General Practitioners right before you finish Medicine. It is comprised of two written tests and a clinical competency exam. The Core Knowledge Test can be taken during the second year, while the Modified Essay Question and Clinical Competency Test can be taken from the third year onwards. You should have completed a GP registrar assignment for 6 months before you can take the last 2 tests.

After completing your internship, you can proceed with a 4-year GP training. This includes 2 more years of GP internship, plus 2 years of supervised GP practice.

If you want to be a specialist, you should start by taking basic specialist training, where you work as a senior house officer under supervision. This or internal medicine training qualifies you for higher specialist training, which takes about 4 to 6 years to complete. After completing the program satisfactorily, you will then be listed in the Medical Council’s specialist division.


I hope that this article was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Europe Scholarships Page.