The Higher Education System
The higher education system (third level) in Ireland is broad in scope and encompasses the university sector, the technological sector, education colleges and private, independent colleges. The institutions which fall within the first three groupings are autonomous and self governing, but substantially state-funded. Admission requirements for overseas students are determined individually by each institution and are generally based on national examination performance and English language aptitude. The academic year typically runs from September to June and is divided into either two or three semesters with holidays in December (Christmas) and April (Easter). The following academic awards can be acquired at Irish third level institutions:
Higher Certificate: two-year full-time course.
Ordinary Bachelor’s Degree: three-year full-time course.
Honours Bachelor’s Degree: normally a three- or four-year course.
Graduate Diploma: designed for graduates seeking vocational reorientation – usually a one-year course.
Master’s Degree: either by research or through a taught programme. Normally one-two year(s) in duration.
Doctorate (PhD): usually takes a minimum of three years of original research.