Irish Education System
Ireland has a long and honourable tradition
in education dating back to the middle ages when its monks
were amongst the principal education providers to the
western world. This tradition is carried on to the present
day and is reflected in the wide international recognition
afforded Irish education qualifications and the increasing
number of students from overseas studying in Ireland.
Higher and Further Education
In Ireland the academic year runs from September to June.
There are nine universities, the oldest of them Trinity
College Dublin formed in the late 16th century. There
are also thirteen Institutes of Technology and a number
of teacher training colleges. All are funded by the Ministry
of Education and offer a range of programmes at undergraduate
and postgraduate level in Arts & Humanities, Medicine,
Engineering, Science & Technology and Business. In
addition there are a number of independent colleges recognised
by the Ministry.
Higher vocational/technical studies
Higher technical and vocational education is offered by
the Institutes of Technology and specialized colleges.
Institutes of Technology offer two-year certificate, three-year
diploma and four-year degree programmes in the applied
fields of engineering, science and business studies, as
well as some postgraduate courses.
University level studies
Stage 1: Bachelor`s degree
Description: The main stage of higher education leads
to a bachelor`s degree, which may in certain cases also
be a professional qualification (professional degree).
The length of study generally varies between three and
four years. The bachelor`s degree may be awarded as a
general degree, an honours degree and a BA (special) degree.
In veterinary medicine and architecture studies last five
Stage 2: Master`s degree
Description: The second stage of higher education consists
of more advanced (graduate) studies and leads to the master`s
degree. These studies last a minimum of one year after
the award of the bachelor degree. Candidates who attend
a course of study and/or present a thesis based on research
are awarded earned master`s degree.
Stage 3: Doctorate
Description: A further two years` study after the master`s
degree are normally required for the Ph.D. degree.
Stage 4: Higher Doctorate
Description: A higher doctorate may be awarded, after
a minimum of five years (usually longer), following the
award of the first doctorate, for original work already
Primary school teachers follow a three-year course leading
to the bachelor of education. Secondary school teachers
take a one-year university course culminating in the higher
diploma in education. Teachers of home economics take
a four-year bachelor of education (home economics) and
art teachers take a degree or diploma course at a recognized
college followed by a one-year post-diploma/degree course.
Proficiency in the Irish language is a requirement for
employment in Ireland as a primary school teacher. Those
intending to train as a teacher in Ireland are advised
to contact their home Department of Education re. recognition
of foreign qualifications.