Ireland has a long history of welcoming international students going back more than a thousand years. In the dark ages of 7th century Europe, Ireland was a beacon of learning, and students from around the continent travelled to study in Irish monasteries. We continue that proud and historic tradition today, and for the past 50 years Ireland has been a location of choice from students around the world, including North America, Europe, the Gulf and Asia.
An education in Ireland is a transformational experience, which adds significant value to the personal development and economic potential of our graduates and binds them to the global Irish family, a network which will continue to be open to them no matter where in the world they travel.
We have a range of strengths which give us a competitive advantage.:
• We are a small, safe and friendly country.
• Our people are renowned for attributes such as innovation, creativity and collaboration.
• We are a member of the European Union, and have extensive global links through our worldwide diaspora.
• We are an English-speaking country with a unique cultural heritage.
• We have an education system that has had a long history of international engagement and which is globally respected.
• We offer a remarkable student experience.
In the past thirty years, successive Irish Governments have put enormous resources into education and research. The reputation of our higher education system has grown considerably, and our research is now making an international impact. Our educational infrastructure is of a very high level. All of our universities and the Dublin Institute of Technology are ranked in the top 5% globally.
US President Barack Obama has called the Irish people “among the best educated in the world”.
Our academic quality assurance systems are highly regarded, and we will shortly be supplementing them by introducing nationally-enforced standards and an international education mark for treatment of international students.
Our qualifications are internationally recognised, and our higher education system provides the full academic range through arts and the humanities, the social sciences, medicine, science, business & management and engineering.
We have supportive learning environments…
Dedicated international offices work closely with administrative, academic and specialist staff to fully support students throughout their time in Ireland. Through these specialist support structures, students receive direct access to information, facilities, services and staff.
Leading Global Companies are in Ireland…
We hear again and again from CEOs of cutting edge companies that the strengths of Irish-educated graduates are crucial to their decision to establish in Ireland. These include companies like Boston Scientific, Apple, Intel, Pfizer, IBM, Citi, Facebook, Yahoo, Google and LinkedIn as well as:
• eight of the world’s top ten ICT companies,
• eight of the world’s top ten pharmaceutical and life science companies,
• half of the world’s major financial services companies.
Eric Scmidt, Chairman of Google, has said their decision to locate in Ireland “is everything to do with the … workforce of geographically diverse, speaking multiple languages, creative young people coming out of [Ireland’s] top universities”.
These companies don’t just focus on our science and technology graduates – their CEOs also highly rate the Irish-educated graduates in the arts and humanities, who they regard as having the creativity, collaboration, flexibility and other core skills necessary for modern business.
What we’re hearing from these major companies is also supported by impartial evidence. IMD, one of the world’s top business schools, based in Switzerland, has ranked Ireland 4th globally for the availability of skilled labour and openness to new ideas in its 2010 world competitiveness survey.
A recent Europe-wide report by the European Council of Finance Ministers noted that major companies regard Irish graduates as among the most employable in the world.
We have distinguished graduates…
Ireland’s graduates are innovators in their fields, leaders in their communities and ambassadors for excellence all around the world.
We recognise the importance of graduates getting industry expertise, and we also value global talent, so we allow international graduates a period of one year to remain in Ireland in order to find a job or develop a business idea.
An innovative and creative culture…
Of course, education is much more than a means simply to secure employment, and studying in Ireland is an immensely enriching experience. The creative spirit imbues an Irish education and we encourage our students to be adaptive, to be critical thinkers and innovators.
Ireland is a land rich in cultural heritage with a history of world-leading innovation. From the flamboyance of Oscar Wilde to mould-breaking James Joyce from the pioneering quantum physics of John Bell to Nobel Laureate Ernest Walton, Ireland’s unique innovative and creative culture is an integral part of the Irish experience.
In addition to personal growth, we recognise the need for our students to become globally-engaged citizens. In this, we are mindful that we have always been to the forefront of humanitarian and development issues. Through our education system, we want to change the people who change the world.
A friendly, safe country…
Of course, students are not just coming to study, but to live. Ireland offers a remarkable student experience. We are a small, safe and friendly country. The 2011 Global Peace Index, a measure of a range of safety and security indicators, placed Ireland as the eleventh safest country in the World. In terms of quality of life, Ireland ranks 5th on the UN Human Development Index. A few years ago, the highly regarded Economist magazine ranked Ireland as the best place in the world to live.
Ireland’s rugged landscape and ancient heritage is stunning. There are activities for every student, regardless of their interests. We have everything a modern western European country offers, but we also have a unique and ancient culture, from our traditional Irish music to native sports such as Gaelic football and hurling, the fastest field sport in the world. We are renowned for our music and dance – from U2 to Riverdance.
But it’s our people that make studying in Ireland special. We have the youngest population in Europe, with 35% of our population under 25 and a vibrant social scene to match. Our population is increasingly international, with 10% being born outside Ireland, proportions matched in out education system.
We are renowned for our friendliness and the warm welcome we extend to newcomers – in fact, Ireland was voted the friendliest nation in the world by the Lonely Planet in 2008 and 2010.
An English-speaking country in the European Union…
Ireland is an English-speaking country with close cultural, economic and educational links with the English-speaking world, including with the UK – our next door neighbour – and with the USA.
We are also a member of the European Union and the attractions of the rest of Europe are also close at hand. Ireland is a hub for low cost airlines, which means that Paris, London and Berlin are at most a couple of hours away, and can often be reached for less than a hundred dollars.
The costs of studying in Ireland also compare favourably with international options with tuition for many full-time undergraduate programmes in the range US$11,000 to US$16,000, rising for courses as science or medicine. Living and accommodation costs in Ireland are coming down again, which should benefit students.
Our visa and immigration system has been substantially reformed, and is now globally competitive. Turnaround times and approval rates compare favourably to our competitors in all major markets.
Irish Education System – Key Indicators
ECOFIN Study 2009
• Ireland ranked 1st of 28 countries in terms of graduates per 1000 inhabitants
• Ireland ranked 2nd of 27 countries in terms of graduates per academic staff
• Ireland ranked 1st of 28 countries in terms of recruiter perception of quality of graduates
• Ireland ranked 2nd of 28 countries in terms of academic peer review of quality of graduates
Attainment Rates – OECD figures (Education at a Glance 2011)
• Ireland ranked fourth in OECD in terms of tertiary attainment rate of 25-34 year olds (48%)
IBEC Employer Survey 2011
• 75% no trouble recruiting suitable graduates from Irish HEIs
• (Of the quarter who did majority were in engineering disciplines)
World Economic Forum 2011 – Ireland ranked 29th out of 142 countries overall
• Ireland ranked 10th out of 142 for Health and Primary Education
• Ireland ranked 22nd out of 142 for strength of Higher Education and Training
World Competitiveness Yearbook (2011) IMD – Ireland ranked 24th out of 59 overall
• Ireland ranks 1st globally for availability of skilled labour and openness to new ideas (up from 4th in 2010)
• Ireland ranks 4th globally for labour productivity per person employed per hour (up from 6th in 2010)
Research Excellence and Impact
* Thomson Reuters Essential Science Indicators 2011
• Ireland ranks within the top 20 nations in the world across all research fields. Ireland moved up from 36th in the world in 2003 in terms of the impact of its research to its current position at 20th in the world.
• In 2005, Irish research institutions featured within the top 1% in the world* in terms of research impact in 10 key areas – and the number of fields in which Irish research institutions feature within the world top 1%* has increased by 80% in the past 5 years to 18 fields.
• Ireland has 5 universities in the top 300 overall rankings (QS)
• TCD and UCD in top 100 universities for majority of HSS subjects (QS)
• TCD in top 50 for 8 subjects and no. 15 in Maths (QS)
• Ireland in sixth place globally for number of universities in top 200 relative to GDP (THES 2011/12)
• Ireland is the most globalised nation in the world in 2011 (Ernst & Young Globalisation and the Changing World of Business report)
To find out more about studying in Ireland check out Education in Ireland’s website