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Higher Education in Ireland
Ireland's higher education system provides a range of options which include universities, institutes of technology as well as various other specialized colleges, which are all referred to as third level education institutions. The majority of students attend public institutions but many attend a number of private schools which primarily offer business and other professional programs.
The Higher Education Authority is the planning, development and funding body for public higher education in Ireland. The Higher Education and Training Awards Council (HETAC) is responsible for validating institutions of higher education outside of the university sector. HETAC is also responsible for conferring degrees for non-university schools, while the universities and some institutes of technology confer their own degrees.
Admission to most public institutions for first-time students is through the Central Applications Office rather than through individual schools. Students apply to their program of choice and the results of Ireland's secondary school Leaving Certification Examination are used to determine who will be admitted to which programs. Admission to the most popular programs is very competitive.
Types of Schools and Degrees
Ireland's universities offer a broad range of degree programs and its institutes of technology focus primarily on science, technology, business and engineering but also include programs in other professional areas. Colleges of education and private colleges also offer degree programs in various business and professional fields. Degrees available are a two-year "higher certificate", three-year bachelor's degree, three to four-year honors bachelor's degree, master's degree which takes annother one to two years and a doctoral degree which varies in length. Degrees available vary by the type of school.Degrees earned at Irish institutions are equivalent to all other European degrees as determined by the European Bologna Process of 1999 which standardized higher education degrees across the European Union. Many other countries also consider these degrees to be of equal value to their own. An additional system of qualifications exists in Ireland called the National Framework of Qualifications which identifies ten levels of learning which students and employers can use to better understand what level of learning a student has achieved.
Tuition at public universities is free for EU citizens but Student Service Fees of up to about 1500 euros a year are charged.
International Students
About nine percent of Ireland's higher education enrollment in recent years has been made up of non-Irish citizens. Many of these students choose to study in the capital of Dublin where there are numerous schools including the oldest in the country University of Dublin, Trinity College, which was founded in 1592.International students are eligible to attend any of Ireland's higher education schools as long as they possess English language proficiency and have strong enough results on either Ireland's Leaving Certification Exam or an acceptable equivalent in their home country. The highest caliber schools require that students have already completed two years of university level education elshewhere with a minimum 3.0 GPA.
Tuition fees for non-EU international students are high compared with other European countries. They vary between schools but have been averaging about 10, 000 to 15, 000 euros for many undergraduate programs with programs in medicine and engineering and graduate studies running somewhat higher.
More information can be found at Education Ireland, which is a government sponsored website that promotes Irish higher education to international students.
About Ireland
Ireland is an English-speaking country of about 6.2 million people with about one million living near the capital city of Dublin. Gaelic is also an official language and is taught in schools. It has a vibrant and open economy that has seen substantial growth over the past two decades.
Ranked fifth in the world on the United Nations Human Development Index in 2007, Ireland had the 10th highest GDP per capital according to the same report. About 55 percent of students who complete secondary school go on to higher education, which is a higher percentage than most western nations.
Ireland's Higher Education Authority
Education Ireland government sponsored website to promote international student study in Ireland


Ireland's Higher Education Authority
Education Ireland government sponsored website to promote international student study in Ireland