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Funding for study outside Ireland

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

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.

Find more information at Scholarship Search UK

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.

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. Click here.

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.

EUNiCAS is the European Universities Central Application Support Service. It enables Irish [and other EU] students to apply to up to eight degree programmes , taught through English, in universities across Europe. In addition to accessing comprehensive and independent information on programmes in Europe, you can access:

  • independent advice on choosing your programme
  • expert support and reassurance in applying to your chosen programmes
  • guidance on all elements of your application package, inc Letters of Motivation [Personal Statements] and Entrance Tests
  • regular updates on new programmes and developments
  • assistance in organising university visits
  • alerts on extended deadlines and late vacancies

Other useful international links

  • The European Commission provides information about studying in Europe. It provides information on admission, fees and other areas of interest while studying in Europe..
  • The European Youth Portal is a source of information for young people about studying in Europe both in the European Union and in non-EU countries. It has information on a wide range of other topics for young people including working, travelling, and volunteering in Europe.
  • UNESCO produces an international guide to studying abroad. It includes a searchable online database of higher-education study opportunities and the scholarships offered by higher education institutions and international organisations in many countries. It also has contact details and information on admission requirements, application deadlines, financial aid, fees, living expenses and other relevant information for all courses.
  • WorldWide Classroom is a source of information on courses, student services and practical country information worldwide. You can use the international programme finder to search for a course in the country and language of your choice.

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 www.fulbright.ie and www.fulbright.co.uk). 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.

This article was updated in February 2017