Ireland is more than just an idyllic tourist destination – it’s a great place to study as well. The country boasts of quality education, as evidenced by its many top-ranking universities. With more than 5,000 programs to choose from, you can have the pick of the world in Ireland.

While Éire is one of the most affordable places to study in Europe, you also have the opportunity to study in Ireland for free. All you need to do is follow the tips stated below:

How to Study in Ireland for Free

1. Prepare Your Application Early

To increase your chances of studying in Ireland for free, you need to apply to Irish universities early on. This is because international students first need to assess their qualifications through the National Qualifications Framework (NQF).

This ten-level system grades students according to their knowledge, skill, and competence. With this, you could determine the following factors:

  • Suitability of the Program
  • Academic Criteria
  • Necessary Qualifications

Once you have deemed yourself qualified according to the NQF requirements, you may proceed with preparing the necessary documents. These usually include diplomas or credentials, as well as proof of English proficiency. Other requirements may also be requested depending on your university/program of choice.

2. Get Scholarships in Ireland

One of the best things about Ireland is that it sponsors a handful of scholarship programs for international students. These bursaries are often funded by the National Government, organizations, and even the universities themselves. We will go through different scholarships for undergraduate students below, so apply to these scholarships to be able to study in Ireland for free.

3. Attend Affordable Universities in Ireland

Undergraduate education in Ireland costs about 9,850 to 15,000 Euros a year ($12,073 to $18,387). As for post-graduate studies, the cost ranges from 9,950 to 34,000 Euros annually ($12,196 to $41,675).

If you find most Irish universities expensive, you can always study in the country by seeking cheaper institutions. At St. Patrick’s College, you only need to pay a low yearly tuition of 4,500 Euros ($5,515). Another good option is the Cork Institute of Technology, which costs about 3,500 Euros a year ($4,290).

Check Also: Available Programs in Europe for International Students

Study Bachelor’s in Ireland for Free

You can finish your bachelor’s in Ireland for free by applying for any of these scholarship offers:

1. Trinity College Dublin

Founded in 1592, TCD is the only constituent college of the University of Dublin. Modeled after Oxford and Cambridge in the UK, it is comprised of the Faculties of Arts, Humanities, & Social Science, Engineering, Math, & Science, and Health Science.

TCD’s undergraduate scholarships include:

  • Bachelor in Business Scholarship
  • E3 Balanced Solutions for a Better World Scholarship
  • Global Excellence Undergraduate Scholarship
  • Government of Ireland Scholarship
  • Country-Specific Scholarships (Chinese, Indians, Americans, Brazilians)

2. National University of Ireland – Galway

NUI Galway was founded in 1895 as the Queen’s College Galway. It is home to four colleges, namely the Arts, Business, Medicine, and Science & Engineering.

Foreigners who wish to study at NUI Galway may apply for its Undergraduate Merit Scholarship. This is given to 8 deserving students. To apply, entrants need to submit a 500-word personal statement that details their interest in studying at NUI Galway, their relationship with the university in the future, and how he/she plans to promote the university as an alumnus.

Other available undergraduate scholarships include:

  • Claddagh Scholarship Scheme for Chinese Students
  • Sir Peter Freyer Special and Max Arthur Macauliffe Special for Indian Students
  • Government of Ireland Scholarship

3. National University of Ireland – Maynooth

Based in Country Kildare, Ireland, Maynooth University can trace its roots back to 1795. Formerly a constituent college, it currently offers its academic courses through the Faculties of Social Science, Science & Engineering, and Arts, Celtic Studies, & Philosophy.

Maynooth University offers a long list of undergraduate scholarships, including:

  • Entrance Scholarship
  • Bachelor of Music Entrance Scholarship (Top-Scoring Applicant)
  • Music Scholarship (2nd-Year Students)
  • Intel Women in Technology Undergraduate Scholarship
  • Google Women Techmakers Undergraduate Scholarship Award
  • Naughton Scholarship (STEM Entrants)
  • Scholarship for Students with Disabilities
  • Scholarship for Adult Learners
  • Gerard Byrne Undergraduate Bursary (Visually-Impaired)
  • Credit Union Members Scholarship
  • Dublin Port Company Undergraduate Scholarship
  • St. Vincent de Paul Undergraduate Bursary Fund
  • Denham Fellowship for Kings Inns Entrants (Socially Disadvantaged)

4. University of Limerick

Founded in 1972, the University of Limerick was the first institution to be established after Irish independence. Located along the River Shannon, UL offers undergraduate scholarships according to Faculty (Business, Education & Health Science, Science & Engineering, and Arts, Humanities & Social Science).

The university also offers nationality-specific bursaries, i.e. for Chinese, Georgian, and Indian students.

5. Dublin City University

DCU is a public university founded in the year 1975. Based on the Northside of Dublin, it offers courses in the fields of Engineering & Computing, Humanities & Social Science, Education, and Health.

DCU offers undergraduate scholarships according to the country of origin:

  • China – 4 slots
  • India – 5 slots
  • USA – 4 slots

Study Master’s in Ireland for Free

Studying free Masters’s programs in Ireland is possible in the schools listed down below.

1. University College Dublin – Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School

Apart from its Irish Government Scholarships, UCD also offers a handful of scholarships for students of the Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School. These include:

  • GMAT MBA Scholarships
  • Michael Smurfit MBA and MSc Scholarships
  • MSc Scholarships (Aviation Finance, Marketing & Retail Innovation)
  • Norman Liu Aviation Scholarships
  • Excellence Scholarships for Executive MBA and Modular MBA Students
  • Regional Excellence Scholarships for MBA Students
  • Women on the MBA Scholarship
  • Merit-Based Scholarships for Chinese, Vietnamese, and Sri Lankan Students
  • Academic Excellence Scholarships for Indian Students
  • University of Delhi Graduate Scholarship

Getting one of the fully-funded or full-tuition scholarships would make international students be able to study for a Master’s in Ireland for free.

2. National University of Ireland – Galway

NUI Galway also offers a variety of bursaries through its Postgraduate Merit Scholarship and Business Merit Postgraduate Scholarship. The latter is open to students taking up their Masters in International Accounting, Corporate Finance, International Management, HRM, International Finance, Global Environmental Economics, Health Economics, Public Policy, Information Systems Management, Business Analytics, Marketing Management, or Digital Marketing.

3. National University of Ireland – Maynooth

Only a few Masters’ scholarships are available at Maynooth University. These include the MU Taught Scholarship and the Intel Taught Masters Scholarship.

4. University of Limerick

UL offers post-graduate scholarships for students enrolled in its 4 faculties. Additionally, those who wish to pursue their master’s in the university may be qualified for UL’s progression scholarship.

5. Dublin City University

Similar to its undergraduate scholarship programs, bursaries for master’s students are accorded to their nationalities. There are 4 slots available for Chinese and American students respectively, as well as 5 slots for Indian applicants. There is also a lone slot for those of Japanese nationality.

Study Ph.D. in Ireland for Free

Ph.D. students may apply at the following Irish universities to study for free:

1. Trinity College Dublin

TCD offers Ph.D. scholarships through the CNPq Bursary, China Scholarship Council, Government of Ireland, Irish Research Council, Loyola Institute, Grattan Scholarship, and Hamilton Scholarship.

2. National University of Ireland – Galway

Apart from the Postgraduate Merit Scholarship program, NUI Galway also offers the Government of Ireland Scholarship for Ph.D. students. This includes a 10,000 Euro ($12,257) stipend and a full fee waiver, allowing Ph.D. students to study in Ireland for free.

Another option is the NUI Galway Hardiman Research Scholarship. This provides an annual allowance of 16,000 Euros ($19,611) and other fees.

3. National University of Ireland – Maynooth

Maynooth University Ph.D. students may apply for the following bursaries:

  • John & Pat Hume Doctoral Award
  • MU Funded Teaching Studentships
  • MU Doctoral Scholarships
  • High-Mobility Wireless Communications (Electrical Engineering) Research Fellowship
  • Coherent Raman Spectroscopy (Electrical Engineering) Research Fellowship

4. University of Limerick

UL offers Ph.D. students to enroll for free via the Government of Ireland Scholarship. Applicants must have an offer of admission from UL, which is to be submitted to the Higher Education Authority for consideration.


I hope that this article on how to study in Irish universities for free was helpful. Make sure to also check out the Available Programs in Europe!