Education system in Ireland

Ireland is well respected for its world-class education and academic excellence. The government here has invested heavily in research and development.

UCD is the most popular choice for international students studying in Ireland. Studying here gives you the chance to meet other students from all over the world.

Founded in 1854, the University is one of Ireland’s oldest – and its largest. UCD offers a wide variety of degree programmes. 

The three main levels of degrees are:

  • Undergraduate (BA or BSc)
  • Graduate (MA, MSc, MRes or MPhil)
  • PhD

Progressing to an Irish university

Adjusting to the Irish education system can be challenging, so many international students opt to study a foundation year to help settle in to life at an Irish university before beginning their degree. At UCD, you can study a foundation programme with the support of the International Study Centre. Our International Foundation Year is available in two different subject options, and can help you to gain the academic subject and English language skills to succeed on an undergraduate degree in Ireland.

Teaching and learning

Teaching and learning styles at Irish universities varies on the course you choose. Typically this includes a combination of lectures, seminars and tutorials. Some degrees also require you to spend time in a laboratory, doing studio-based work or doing fieldwork. 

Independent study will also make up a big part of your degree. Managing your own workload and time effectively will be valuable to you in your future career or further studies. 


The type of assessments you do will depend on your chosen degree. Assessments may include:

  • Coursework
  • Presentations
  • Group work
  • Participation in seminars
  • Exams 
  • Written assignments/essays
  • Practical assessments
  • Final dissertation. 

Work placements and internships

Many of UCD’s degree programmes include work placements or internships. Participating companies have included KPMG, L’Oréal, IBM, eBay, Skype, Deloitte, and Microsoft. International graduates can stay in Ireland after completing their degree with a post-study work visa.

Hear from some of our progressed students about their experiences applying for a placement year at UCD

Career development

UCD’s Career Development Centre is well connected with top employers in Ireland and abroad, and can help you with everything from preparing a CV to starting your first job. Work placements and internships also form part of the curriculum on many of UCD’s degree programmes, with companies including IBM, Skype and Microsoft.