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Application Process for Universities in Ireland

Mansi Topa Mansi Topa
Content Curator

Upcoming application deadline for September 2019 session

February 1, 2019 to May 1, 2019

The winter session starts from September and ends in February.

For late admissions, students need to contact the universities directly.

CAO (Central Applications Office) 

CAO processes the application forms for undergraduate education on behalf of Irish Universities. It provides a complete handbook which lists all the courses and information on how to apply for Ireland Universities. Online application forms ease the process for HEIs (Higher Education Institutions).

CAO let applicants to apply up to 10 courses at Level 8 (Honors Bachelor Degrees) and 10 at Level 7/6 list (Ordinary Bachelor Degrees and Higher Certificates), across the universities and other HEIs.

CAO Timeline 2019 

Online applications open at 12 noonNovember 5, 2018
Closing date for online applications at discounted feeJanuary 20, 2019
Normal closing date for applicationsFebruary,1 2019
Interviews and portfolio presentations for many restricted coursesMarch and April
Closing date for late applicationsMay 1, 2019
Online change of mind facility opensMay 6, 2019
Deadline for changing the mindJuly 1, 2019
CAO Round A offers (Mature students and those deferred from last year)July 6, 2019
Round Zero offers are made by the CAO (for graduate entry medicine candidates and some other categories)August 1, 2019
Leaving Certificate results expectedAugust 14, 2019
Round One offers are made by the CAOAugust 19, 2019
Round Two offers are made by the CAOAugust 28, 2019
Closing date for acceptance of Round Two offersSeptember 2019
offers will be issued as necessary to fill any vacanciesUp to October 16, 2019

Note: CAO Application Fee is 52 USD

As the admission intake of students is held once a year, undergraduate applicants must submit their applications to CAO by the end of January to take admission in September, the same year.

The application process is different for two types of entries:

  • For EU students
  • For Non-EU students

Determining EU and Non-EU aspirants

EU Aspirants

  • Resident of National of EU member states and residing for more than 3 to 5 years in the member states before the program commences.
  • National EU member and attended post-primary school in EU member state.
  • Full-time employee within National of EU member states for more than 3 to 5 years before the first year program commences. The applicant must be at least 23 years.
  • Parents are full-time employee within National of EU member states for more than 3 to 5 years before the first year program commences. The applicant must be at least 23 years.

All other applicants will be considered as Non-EU members. They must apply for Ireland Universities directly depending upon the opening and closing dates of each university.

Application Process for Irish Universities

The application process is based on undergraduate and postgraduate admissions for EU/EEA (European Economic Area) and Non-EU countries.

Undergraduate Applications

Application Deadlines for Non-EU students - Undergraduates

Normal Application DeadlineFebruary 1
Music, Drama, Dental and MedicineFebruary 1
Late Paper Application DeadlineMay 1
Advanced EntryJune 1
Rolling decisionsJune 30

Only the applications received from EU/EEA countries will be accepted by CAO. Rest of the applicants need to apply directly to the concerned university.

Postgraduate Applications

Application Fee – 58 USD

Deadline for Postgraduate Courses - June 30

For postgraduate admissions, applicants need to apply directly at the shortlisted institutions individually. The procedure is same for EU and Non-EU applicants.

However, there are few institutions which demands aspirants to apply through the official website of Postgraduate Applications Centre (PAC).

  • Dublin City University
  • University College Cork, Ireland
  • NUI Galway
  • Maynooth University
  • Waterford Institute of Technology
  • Institute of Technology, Carlow
  • 3U Partnership, Greater Dublin University
  • Galway – Mayo Institute of Technology
  • Cork Institute of technology

Entry Requirements

English Language Requirements

All the universities in Ireland have English as the language of instruction. Students who do not have English as their native language or undergraduate is not done in English, need to prove their proficiency in English.

There are about 110 institutions throughout Ireland offering short-term and long-term courses for the students who are not proficient in English.

Mentioned are some important international English exams along with their minimum scores for the applicants who have to show their proof of proficiency in English to the applying institution.

ExamMinimum Level Required
Irish Leaving Certificate in EnglishOrdinary level grade D
TOEFL220 (computer-based test) 550 (paper-based test)
IELTSMinimum overall score of 6.5 with not less than 6.0 in any one component
University of CambridgePass
Cambridge ProficiencyGrade C
Cambridge AdvancedGrade C
ARELS oral examinationsPass
PTE AcademicMinimum score of 63
OET (Occupational English Test)Grade C+ (Listening and Reading) Grade B in writing and speaking

Fact: OET (Occupational English test) has been accepted by Ireland for those students who aspire to be nurses or midwives and have to prove their English language skills. It has come in action since January 2, 2018.

Medicine – GAMSAT (Graduate Australian Medical School Admissions Test)

Students who want to pursue their graduation from Ireland in medicine need to appear for GAMSAT. This exam is developed by Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) for medical schools offering graduate-entry program.

This exam is necessary for all EU graduates interested for 4 year graduate entry program.

For Graduate Entries:

CAO is responsible for admission at graduate level medicine and veterinary medicine for medicine for following institutes:

  • Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
  • University College Cork  
  • University College Dublin 
  • University College Dublin   
  • University of Limerick

Note: Only University College of Dublin offers veterinary medicine.

Timeline for Admission to Programs through GAMSAT

Exam dates for giving GAMSAT in a yearSeptember and March
Applicants must apply online By 17:15 GMT by February 1submit CAO application online
In Early AugustOffers given to applicants who are successful

Mandatory Documents and Interview

  • Application Form – Details about academic history, employment history and extra-curricular activities. It is similar to a CV.
  • Official transcripts from undergraduate college.
  • Interview – Some courses may require interview for selection.

How to Apply?

Undergraduate and Postgraduate Programs

  1. Find the suitable course in the university.
  2. Apply online at the official website provided for application form, fill and pay application fee.
  3. Submit the required transcripts.
  4. If the application is complete and suitable, applicant may receive an offer letter.
  5. If received, accept the offer and pay the acceptance deposit.
  6. Apply for Visa. All the EEA countries are exempted from presenting the visa.
  7. Register by paying the tuition fee of the academic year.
  8. Good to go!

International Student Pathway Program – Undergraduate and Postgraduate

Universities Pathways are best for international students in Ireland who do not have relevant degree for the course(s) they want to apply in the universities. Through pathways, students can gain the qualification in less than a year and get a guaranteed admission.

Mentioned are the steps to apply for the pathways program for international students: -

  1. Explore the courses.
  2. Fill the Application Form to apply for Ireland Universities.
  3. Choose the best funding option (if any).
  4. If selected, accept the offer.
  5. Prepare the documents. Be aware about English language requirements.
  6. Get a health insurance.
  7. Apply for visa (if required) else apply for accommodation at the institution.
  8. Get a fee receipt and submit the documents.
  9. Book the tickets.
  10. Pay the remaining fees.
  11. Reach Ireland and collect the student card.
  12. Go for it!
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