Deciding where to study: the UK vs Ireland

If you are planning to study in the UK or Ireland, both have excellent systems of education and are home to some of the best universities. There are advantages for international students choosing Ireland vs the UK for their education.

What’s the difference between Ireland vs UK education?

1.Best Universities

If you have decided to explore further studies in both the UK or Ireland, you’ll know they have some of the best universities in the world so making your decision on universities is not going to be an easy choice

For Indian students, the UK has always been a key study destination. In 2019, the UK has seen an increase of Indian students by 63%. UK universities such as Loughborough UniversityManchester Metropolitan University, Leeds Beckett University, Teesside University are ranked among the top 20 universities in the UK.

On the other hand, Ireland is considered as one of the safest, friendliest countries for Indian students, and is excellent in terms of academics. Ireland has some of the world’s best universities, including  University College Cork, University of Limerick, Queen’s Belfast and Trinity College Dublin. Irish universities are among the top 1% of research institutions in global research impact. 

Options vary in both the countries; the UK has around 130 universities while Ireland has only 8. This makes it easier for you to compare universities if you are choosing an Irish university, Whereas, for UK universities, you may need to decide where in the UK you want to live, or what kind of student life you want. 

2. The UK isn’t part of the EU anymore – so what’s different?

As we know, the UK has left the European Union. Ireland is still a part of the EU, so what’s the difference when it comes to visa rights? Well, there’s no difference at all. 

Though Ireland is not part of the Schengen Area and is part of the EU, there are restrictions while travelling within the EU. Whether you wish to visit countries within the EU or outside, you will have to apply for an additional visa for leaving the country. 

Where working hours are concerned, both UK and Irish student visas permit international students to work for up to 20 hours per week during their time of study. On summer or Christmas breaks students might have to work for up to 40 hours per week.

3.Entry Requirements

The entry requirements for Ireland and the UK are quite different. If you are planning to do an undergraduate course in the UK, UK universities recognise CBSE +2 certificates for admission towards an undergraduate course. If you are applying for a Management course, then a GMAT is necessary. Some universities waiver GREs for science courses. Most of the universities in the UK waive TOEFL or IELTS, but the TOEFL or IELTS is essential for getting your visa.

 To study in Ireland, you need to get a minimum score of 60% or above in your +2. Though the entry requirements are lower, the standard of education is quite high at Irish universities. To cope with their course, you need to prepare beforehand. If you are interested in going in for further studies at an Irish university, your undergraduate curriculum should be relevant to the postgraduate course you are planning to take. You are required to prove your command over the English language by taking up an English Proficiency Test.

4.Cost of studying (Tuition Fees)

When it comes to the cost of studying, the tuition fees for both Ireland and the UK are similar. Tuition fees are usually cheaper than that of other popular study destinations such as the US.

The tuition fees also depend on the university you are choosing. Also, remember that the tuition fees vary between courses. Capital cities like London and Dublin are expensive, so the cost of living and studying is higher.

 This might interest you Studying in the UK: Pros and Cons of studying in London vs regional cities.

5. The best of both the worlds

Both countries offer something for everyone with their amazing attractions, and you get opportunities to spend your free time experiencing a new culture.

The UK is known for its nightlife, concerts, bars, pubs, clubs markets, shops and parks. For those interested in hiking and biking, the Yorkshire Dales and moors have some of the best hiking and biking trails. 

While Ireland is also known as the ‘Emerald Island’ it is known for its natural beauty. Like the UK, Ireland to has a lot of parks, galleries, shops, restaurants, theatres and historical buildings. Hence, students are never short of leisure options. It provides endless entertainment such as plays, concerts, exhibitions, shopping and festivals.  Live music, from traditional and classical to heavy metal, can be found in places like The Bowery, An Spailpin Fanach, The Bodega and  The Cork Opera House, to name a few.

For the foodies, the English Market ( in Ireland !)  is worth visiting as you get to taste the local Irish food along with some international flavours. There is also the Cork City Gaol- a former prison turned museum, St. Finbarr’s Cathedral, the scenic town of Cobh and  Blarney Castle that draws the attention of many tourists.

It is essential to make sure you consider the factors before choosing the right university and study destination. Speak to our student advisors to know more.