According to the IM World Competitiveness Yearbook 2014, Ireland is in the top twenty worldwide for its higher education system.

The Irish higher education system consists of various types of institutions, but master’s degree courses are provided mainly by seven universities, 14 institutes of technology and seven colleges of education.

There are seven universities in Ireland. All seven are in the top 650 of QS World University Rankings 2014/15. These include:

  • Trinity College Dublin
  • University College Dublin
  • Dublin City University
  • Maynooth University
  • University College Cork
  • University of Limerick
  • NUI Galway

Ireland also has an “Institute of Technology” sector constituted by 14 institutions. They are located around the country. In the Dublin area they are Dublin, Tallaght, Blanchardstown and Dun Laoghaire. Outside Dublin they are Cork, Waterford, Tralee, Dundalk, Athlone, Galway and Mayo, Sligo, Letterkenny, Limerick, and Carlow. Irish institutes of technology are university-level colleges, but unlike universities, they also offer 2-year sub-degree programmes and allow students to progress from these courses through primary degree to Masters within their own system. Dublin Institute of Technology has developed separately from this system and acquired autonomous authority to make its own academic awards. Beside technical subjects such as sciences and engineering, these institutions also provide master’s courses in business, linguistic and music.

In addition, you can also find a wide range of education-related master’s programmes at five institutions within the “College of Education” sector:

Within this sector, Church of Ireland College of Education and Marino Institute of Education mainly offer vocational courses leading to postgraduate diploma. Graduated from these courses, students are eligible to apply for a few master’s-level programmes at the two institutions.

EU students can enrol in either one year full-time courses or two year part-time courses.

Ireland is an English-speaking country with a young and multi-cultural population. It has a rich literature culture yet is rightly marketed around the world as the tech-hub of Europe, making it a proven gateway to quality education in diverse subjects and various careers choices.

Accreditation and recognition

Ireland’s National Framework of Qualificationsis a 10-level system thatgives an academic or vocational value to qualifications obtained in Ireland. Master’s degrees are in level 9in the Framework (NFQ Level 9), equivalent to level 7 in European Qualifications Framework (EQF Level 7) and the second cycle of the Qualifications Framework of the European Higher Education Area (2nd EHEA or Bologna cycle). This can be a very useful reference point for EU students who consider employment and opportunities outside Ireland after graduation.

The National Framework of Qualifications also recognises that Master’s degrees can only be awarded by the following organisations:

  • Universities: Universities all award their own Master’s degrees. They are also authorised to award degrees for Master students graduated from their recognized, associated or constituent colleges such as All Hallows College (linked to Dublin City University) and National College of Art and Design (linked to University College Dublin)
  • Quality and Qualification Ireland (QQI): QQI validates Masters’ degree granted by institutes of technology. It is also the awarding body of for some colleges of educations.
  • The Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) makes its own awards.