Funding for study outside Ireland

There are several potential sources of funding for postgraduate study in Great Britain, Europe, and beyond.
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Studying in Great Britain

Funding is offered by some universities (on a competitive basis and mainly for research) and by Research Councils, which offer access to 'fees only' awards to EU nationals on the same competitive basis as 'home' students.

As with Irish universities, there may be internal university awards available. The Gardiner Awards from Cambridge University are offered specifically to students of Irish universities. These scholarships are available for undergraduate or postgraduate study but preference is given to applicants wishing to study for a research degree, or who are applying for a master's degree with a view to progressing to research at a later date. Students of any university in the Republic or Northern Ireland are eligible. The scholarships are normally for one year in the first instance but may be renewed for two further years. Application forms are available from the Awards Clerk, The Old Schools, Cambridge, CB2 1TN and the closing date is 20 June each year.

Students in Northern Ireland wanting to pursue study in England, Scotland and Wales can apply for a Career Development Loan.

Information on studying in Scotland is available from the Student Awards Agency for Scotland.

Studying in Europe

Fees for universities in some European countries are low and in some (eg Germany, Netherlands, Sweden and Finland) there is a drive to attract students from elsewhere through English-speaking courses and scholarships for foreign students. In the Netherlands, for example, living costs are estimated at €700-1000 euros per month. Fees start at €1,620 but courses run in English could cost upwards of €10,500 (see the Netherlands Organisation for International Cooperation in Higher Education [nuffic]).

Tax relief on tuition fees

You can claim tax relief on third-level fees for postgraduate courses in a university or publicly funded college in another EU member state, including colleges that provide distance education in the state. Tax relief is also available for postgraduate courses in a university or publicly funded third-level college in non-EU countries.

Funding opportunities exist through Council of Europe Exchange Awards announced annually on behalf of a number of member countries.

Examples of awards for studying in Europe

College of Europe

The College of Europe in Bruges and Natolin offers awards to Irish students studying in politics, law, economics and European studies. Students from the Republic of Ireland should apply through the Institute of International and European Affairs, which is the Irish selection body for the College of Europe. Northern Ireland students should apply through the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

DAAD – German Government Awards

This scheme offers one-year grants for graduate students (open to students of all disciplines). Closing dates are in November for architecture, design, film, dance, theatre, music and art. For all other academic subjects, the deadlines are in January. The value is €750 per month plus an initial extra payment and a lump sum towards travel (

European University Institute, Florence

The EUI awards grants of €1,376 a month to successful applicants who are not eligible for other grants. Candidates must submit their application online by 31 January.

International funding

The O'Reilly Foundation scholarships can be held in any country. The O' Reilly Foundation supports scholarships each year for postgraduate studies at PhD or equivalent level. O'Reilly scholars are expected to have an excellent academic record and demonstrate leadership qualities along with 'the potential and desire to make a significant contribution to the future of Ireland'. While outstanding candidates of any recognised academic discipline are encouraged to apply, preference will be given to those planning to study in business studies, law, marketing, media studies, science, technology and the arts.

The Fulbright Commission offers awards for studying in the US (see and Fulbright Ireland Awards are for Irish students and scholars to undertake postgraduate study and research at recognised colleges and academic institutions in the United States. The student grant is only available for one year but students may remain in the US for the full duration of masters and PhD programmes. Fulbright UK awards are advertised in late summer, with early autumn deadlines.

Students at US universities may also find on-campus work available as part of the funding package offered by their university.