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Ireland is historically known as the "Island of Saints and Scholars" and has a long and strong tradition of education. This has meant that  education has always been highly valued and a focus for funding and development.  It has also been a major factor in Ireland's economic success in recent years. Among other things, Ireland was named "Best Place in the World to Live" by the Economist in 2005. It is also commonly referred to as the "Celtic Tiger" and was ranked  the second wealthiest country per capita in the world by the UN Development Programme (2005).

Higher Education in Ireland

At post secondary or the third level, institutions of higher education offer bachelor degrees of three years, master degrees of one to two years and doctorate degrees. Some institutions also offer shorter certificate and diploma courses.

There are nine universities in Ireland - 2 in Northern Ireland and 7 in the Republic. International students are welcome to study at any third level institution. These universities offer bachelor, master and doctorate programs in addition to a wide range of research.

There are also 14 institutes of Technology that offer programs at degree, national diploma and national certificate levels in a wide range of subjects such as engineering and science. All education at the institutes is validated by Ireland's national certification authority to ensure that the education provided holds the highest international standard. Many institutes of technology hold postgraduate diploma and degree programs, both taught and research.

A further type of higher education institution in Ireland is the Colleges of Education and independent third level colleges. There are five Colleges of Education for educating primary school teachers. Independent third level colleges offer certificate, diploma and degree programs in such areas as accountancy and business studies, law, humanities, hotel and catering, tourism studies and art. All these colleges have recognition and external accreditation from the national certification authority or alternatively from other institutions such as universities.

Entry Requirements for Higher Education in Ireland

In general, the following applies for entry requirements for Irish higher education. Some differences will apply depending on the type of study and institution. A bachelor requires a completed secondary school education with acceptable results. A master degree will require a previously completed bachelor or equivalent from and Irish institution or equivalent abroad. A doctorate will require at least a master degree in your chosen field of research. In some cases, a doctorate also requires a certain amount of work experience for entry.

>> Read more about studying in Ireland