Academic Awards at Irish Institutions

The following academic awards can be achieved at Irish institutions:


Higher Certificate:

Two year full-time course

Bachelors Degree:

Three year full time course (NQF Level 7)

Honours Bachelors Degree:

Normally a three or four year course (NQF Level 8)

Graduate Diploma or HIgher Diploma:

Designed for graduates seeking a vocational reorientation – usually a one year course (NQF Level 8)

Masters degree:

Either by research or through a taught programme. Normally one-two year (s) duration (NQF Level 9)

Doctorate (PhD):

Usually takes a minimum of three to four years of original research (NQF Level 10)

NFQ = National Framework of Qualifications

Higher Education System in Ireland

The higher education system in Ireland consists of the university sector, institutes of technology and private independent colleges. The entry requirements for international students to higher education are determined individually by each institution and are generally based on national examination performance and English language aptitude.

University sector – Universities in Ireland

Universities in Ireland are State-funded, but they are generally autonomous. There are 8 universities in Ireland. These include:

The State-supported universities all award their own degrees and other awards. University students qualify with Ordinary Bachelors degrees (NFQ Level 7) or Honours Bachelors degrees (NFQ Level 8). Universities also offer Masters (NFQ Level 9) and Doctoral (NFQ Level 10) postgraduate degrees

Technological sector – Technological Universities and Institutes of Technology in Ireland

The technological sector includes technological universities (TUs) and institutes of technology (ITs). The Technological Universities Act 2018 allowed institutes of technology to apply to become a new type of higher education institution with technological university status. TUs and ITs provide programmes of education and training in areas such as business, science, engineering, linguistics and music to certificate, diploma and degree levels.

There are 11 institutes of technology in Ireland located around the country. In the Dublin area there is Dun Laoghaire. Outside Dublin they are Cork, Waterford, Tralee, Dundalk, Athlone, Galway and Mayo, Sligo, LetterkennyLimerick, and Carlow.

On 1 January 2019, Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), Institute of Technology Tallaght and Institute of Technology Blanchardstown joined together to form Technological University Dublin (TU Dublin).

Technological universities (TUs) make their own awards. Institutes of technology (ITs) grant degrees, diplomas and certificates, which are validated by QQI. Students of TUs and ITs generally qualify with Higher Certificates (NFQ Level 6) or Ordinary Bachelors degrees (NFQ Level 7). Honours Bachelors degrees (NFQ Level 8), Postgraduate Diplomas (NFQ Level 9) and Higher Doctorate (NFQ Level 10) are also available

Colleges of education and Other colleges

Several colleges of education in Ireland provide specialised training for primary school teachers. They offer a 3-year Bachelor of Education degree and an 18-month postgraduate diploma. Post-primary teachers generally do a primary degree, followed by a postgraduate diploma

In addition to State-funded colleges, a number of fee-paying third-level educational institutions offer courses, mainly in professional vocational training and business. Some of these colleges are linked to universities or professional associations and their qualifications may be accredited accordingly.

The other State-supported colleges generally grant awards that are validated by QQI. The private colleges make awards, some of which are validated by foreign universities and some of which are validated by QQI. Some of their awards are not validated by any outside body.

Some independent colleges are Dublin Business School (DBS), National College of Ireland (NCI), Griffith College Dublin (GCD).

To answer some of your immediate questions (for Indian students):

  • You could do a Bachelors in Ireland either 3 years or 4 years (mostly all degree programmes are 4 years in Ireland)
  • Ireland accepts 15 years of education to apply for their Masters / MBA (from India). For Engineering programmes, 16 years education (ie. 4 years Indian engineering degree) is required eg. With a BSc IT, a student cannot study a Masters directly. However, instead the student can apply for the 4th year of the undergrad degree (Honors year) in Ireland and then progress onto to Masters
  • In general, most Masters level programmes in Ireland are of one year duration. Some programmes that come with internship and/or work placement component may have to be done over two years
  • On declaration of results, you will be able to stay back in Ireland for TWO year to seek employment once you finish your Masters or MBA. Once you get your job (and are earning Euro 30000 annually), you can apply for a Green Card/Work Permit

Why Study in Ireland

For detailed understanding of why you should study in Ireland, read our Why Study in Ireland section


Study in Ireland

If you are interested in studying abroad in Ireland, arrange a free consultation with ILW Education Consultants today. Our Study in Ireland application experts can help you successfully apply to all Irish Universities and Colleges.

We’ve got some really top students studying at several Irish Universities. They’d be happy to help with your questions too.


Ireland Admission Counseling

In case you’re confused about your studies in Ireland, we can help you solve the problem. Once we meet you, and your parents or spouse, we ask you questions to get a clearer idea of your preferences, restrictions, and goals. This will allow us to make a range of suggestions with regard to locations and universities. With more discussions we’ll help you pick between them and narrow it down to the right selection of safe, moderate and ambitions options. We will make your process of studying in Ireland hassle-free.

We are experts at what we do. Since 2002 we have helped 1000s of students (personally). As one of the leading overseas education consultants in Mumbai, the collective experience of our team of experts go beyond a 100 years. Many of us have studied abroad and know exactly what your requirements will be, what kind of universities should be best suited for your future, what you need to do to get there.

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We enjoy when you get scholarships or you save money. Over 70% of our applicants will earn some form of scholarship / financial aid / bursary.

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