The application process at universities in Ireland is largely standardized. Those who meet the admission requirements to study in Ireland apply through a central application system or directly to the university. Applicants for a bachelor’s degree use the Central Applications Office (CAO), for a master’s degree the Postgraduate Applications Center (PAC) is partly responsible. Most students planning a semester abroad in Ireland contact the Irish university directly.
Before applying, interested students should find out more about the respective admission requirements and deadlines. Most of the time, the application process to study in Ireland for many courses starts at the beginning of the year. This leaves enough time to take language tests and plan to finance your studies abroad.
Application process in checklist format:
- Choosing the right university in Ireland
- Gather information about admission requirements (linguistic and academic admission requirements, letters of motivation and recommendation, or a portfolio)
- Note the application deadlines and allow enough time
- Take language tests
- For a full course: Registration with the Central Applications Office (CAO) or Postgraduate Applications Center (PAC)
- If necessary, take academic admission tests or register in good time
- Organization of the required evidence of linguistic and academic aptitude (language certificate, certified copies of certificates, transcript of records with an English-language explanation of the German grading system, diploma supplement, letters of recommendation, certified English-language copy of the Abitur certificate)
- If necessary, prepare additional documents (curriculum vitae, letter of motivation, portfolio)
- Apply via the CAO, PAC or directly to the university and send the required documents including a copy of your passport by post
- Make course selection directly at the university of your choice
- If applicants are accepted, they will be given a specific date by which they must accept the study place
- Tuition fees paid
The application process for studying in Ireland in detail
Once the right university for studying in Ireland has been determined, the preparation of the application begins. To learn more about the country of Ireland and continent of Europe, please follow shoefrantics. As one of the first steps in the application process to study in Ireland, prospective students will find out about the required documents and deadlines. It is advisable to inquire a year before you plan to start your studies. Taking language tests and academic admission tests or organizing your documents can sometimes take a lot of time.
For a language certificate, applicants complete language tests such as the IELTS or TOEFL. In the case of a bachelor’s degree and an academic gap year, corresponding school grades are usually sufficient as evidence to admit applicants for a placement test on site. An on-site placement test is also often possible for the MBA and LLM.
For academic admission tests in particular, it is important not to miss the registration period. In contrast to the language tests at large institutes around the world, these tests take place less often. Registration for the Graduate Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT) is possible twice a year for an appointment in March and September. The Health Professions Admission Test (HPAT) only takes place in February and the Mature Students Admissions Pathway (MSAP) only in March.
After receiving your application to study in Ireland, the Irish university will review the documents and decide on admission.
Study Abroad and Academic Gap Year
Applying for a semester or two in Ireland is straightforward. The same applies to an Academic Gap Year on the Emerald Isle. Applicants usually submit the university’s online form and the required evidence directly to the university of their choice in Ireland. It is possible to submit the language certificate about two months after the application deadline.
When choosing a course for a semester abroad, please note that master’s courses generally require a bachelor’s degree of at least three years. It is also advisable to specify alternative courses in addition to the desired courses. Registration usually takes place on site during Orientation Week.
In the undergraduate sector, EU citizens apply for most courses at Irish universities through the CAO. Registration is usually possible from November. The CAO then provides an application package with a manual and instructions for the online application.
After registering, applicants receive an application number so that they can log into the CAO online and process the necessary forms. In addition to the application form, they then send the required evidence to the CAO by post. Sometimes the university of your choice also needs these documents. Bachelor applicants select their course of study via the CAO by entering so-called course codes. It is possible to provide information on several courses of study in Level 8 and Level 7/6, as prospective students often apply to several universities. Applicants receive a statement of application record to check their details. Until July it is possible to change the courses free of charge.
If certain courses are not available through the CAO, the Irish university can be contacted directly. The course offer is usually available around two months before the start of the course.
There are fees for applying through the CAO. The amount depends on the time of application. The following applies: the earlier, the cheaper. Applications by mid-January are charged at 25 EUR and late until the beginning of February at 40 EUR. A paper application that is delayed by May costs 80 EUR to be booked.
For some subjects in Ireland, the universities require additional interviews for applications, require portfolios or invite audiences. These data vary depending on the university and department, but can be viewed online, including at the CAO.
For a Master’s degree, students usually apply directly to the university in Ireland with all the required documents. These are, for example, a transcript, a résumé and, if necessary, a letter of motivation.
The application via the PAC is only necessary for some specific courses. These include the Professional Master of Education (PME) or Public Health Nursing (PHN) programs. Here, too, applicants register online and receive assistance. The specific application process in these cases depends on the respective institute. There is also a fee of EUR 50 for this type of application. The future students have to settle this before the PAC forwards the application to the respective university.
Irish Universities Application Deadlines
Universities in Ireland set their own application deadlines. As a rule, it is sufficient to submit the application about six months before the intended start of the course. The academic year in Ireland starts between mid-September and early October.
For applications via the CAO, mid-January is the best time to submit all documents for a degree program from autumn onwards. At the PAC, the application deadline is mostly in early December.
The admission decision
The second step in the application process for studying in Ireland has been completed: the documents have been received by the university on time. Applicants are now waiting for the longed-for admission decision. This usually only takes a few weeks.
For applications via the CAO, the institute will send out the admission on behalf of the Irish university from the beginning of July. There is a Round A (beginning of July), Round Zero (beginning of August), Round One (end of August) and Round Two (beginning of September). Undergraduate students receiving admission through the CAO must accept it by the date specified. The university admissions phase in Ireland ends in mid-October.
It is best for students to pay tuition fees for studying in Ireland by the start of the orientation week. After successful admission, it is possible at many universities to apply for accommodation at the university, for example in a student residence hall.