Academic Year in Ireland

The college year in Ireland begins in the fall and ends just before the start of summer. The academic year in Ireland originally followed a trimester system, as in the UK. Since the Bologna reform in 1999 at the latest, it has been far more common to divide the academic year into two semesters.

A semester abroad in Ireland can be easily combined with the German university year, especially in autumn. As in Germany, students collect credit points by attending lectures and taking exams. These academic achievements can be recognized comparatively easily by the home university thanks to the common ECTS system.

Semester system in Ireland

An academic year in Ireland begins between mid-September and early October. The two semesters are around twelve to 14 weeks long. The academic years are called first year, second year and final year.

Some public holidays interrupt the academic year in Ireland. These include the Bank Holidays in March and October as well as Christmas and New Years. The days off around Easter sometimes extend to almost a month. Students use the time to prepare for the upcoming exams.

As a rule, exams take place at the end of the term in January and May. In some cases, the examination period begins before Christmas and directly after Easter.

The semester change is usually at the end of January or the beginning of February. The exact lecture times vary depending on the university. Similar to Germany, there is a two to three month lecture-free period between semester 2 and semester 1. Towards the end of the academic year in Ireland, many students submit their written assignments and theses.

The academic year in Ireland at a glance:

Semester Period
Semester 1 September – January
Semester 2 February – May
Buzzer June August

Trimester system in Ireland

The trimester system is now rather uncommon in Ireland. Sometimes there are three semesters during an academic year in Ireland, with semester 3 covering the summer exam period from June.

Grading System in Ireland

The grading system in Ireland is easy to understand and easily comparable within the EU. A large proportion of Irish graduates leave college with grades in Upper Second Class Honors or First Class Honors.

Irish notes

Universities in Ireland usually give grades in percentage points. Clearly defined percentage ranges correspond to a certain degree, with First Class Honors being the best and Third Class Honors being the worst grade before failing. Anyone who reaches below 40% has failed. The Irish grading system is also transferable to the international letter grades.

The recognition of studies in Ireland is relatively straightforward for EU citizens. To learn more about the country of Ireland and continent of Europe, please follow watchtutorials. In the course of the Bologna reform in 1999, the Irish universities introduced the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS). Thanks to this grading system of the European Commission, the grades of the European countries are comparable. International students know exactly how many credit points they will receive if they pass the course.

The study system in Ireland stipulates that students earn 60 ECTS per academic year, i.e. 25 to 30 ECTS per semester. Courses at Irish universities are equivalent to five to ten credit points, depending on the amount of work involved. One credit point represents 20 to 25 hours of work. In the process of recognition of academic achievements in Ireland, each institution makes an individual decision on the equivalence of Irish grades.

The following table provides an overview of the Irish grades:

The grading system in Ireland in comparison

Degree In percent Letter grade German equivalent
First Class Honors (1.1) 70 and more A. 1.0
Upper Second Class Honors (2.1) 60-69 B. 2.0 to 1.3
Lower Second Class Honors (2.2) 50 – 59 C. 3.3 to 2.3
Third Class Honors (3.1) 45 – 49 D. 3.7
Pass 40-44 E. 4.0
Fail under 39 F. 5.0

Residence Permit to Study in Ireland

Many overseas students come to Ireland to get a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree on the Emerald Isle. Alternatively, you can also complete a semester abroad. Ireland makes it easy for us: for German citizens, the approval of entry and residence does not represent a great deal of effort.

Citizens of EU member states

As part of the freedom of movement within the European Union, German citizens do not need a residence permit to study in Ireland. This enormously reduces the bureaucratic effort in advance of entry. Only a valid identity card or passport must be carried.

However, if you are staying in Ireland for more than three months, you must have a valid reason to do so. These include, for example, work, training, family membership or the aforementioned study in Ireland. A financial security must be given unnecessarily to lie to the government on the pocket.

Information about staying in Ireland

Although there is no formal registration system in Ireland as in Germany, it is still useful to report to the police (Garda) in your place of residence and apply for a residence permit. It can also be helpful to register at the German Embassy in Dublin via ELEFAND from the Foreign Office. In the event of a crisis, the system is used to make quick contact with German citizens abroad.

Even without a residence permit to study in Ireland, German students are allowed to take up a job in order to increase their finances a little. However, you should definitely use other types of funding to make ends meet: Living and studying in Ireland is not always cheap.

In the event of illness, it is advisable to have a European health insurance card issued by your health insurance company. Thanks to the social security agreement in the EU, any costs that may arise are covered in the regular framework by local health insurance. However, this does not replace travel insurance that covers additional costs such as return transport.

Academic Year in Ireland

About the author