Prior to studying abroad in Ireland, you might have visions of shamrocks dancing in your head. You’ll probably have thoughts of another green object as well: your dollars.
While the Emerald Isle is a less expensive destination for U.S. students than other English-speaking options, Western Europe as a whole isn't cheap. It’s smart to consider how much it costs to study abroad in Ireland earlier rather than later to ensure you budget accordingly. In this post, we'll break down some of the prices so you can get a sense for exactly what it will cost in USD and how much to save up before you head to Ireland to study abroad.
Before jumping in, let's cover one last thing: is it possible to study abroad in Ireland right now? The answer is yes, it's totally possible to study in Ireland in 2021 and 2022. Once you go through the necessary requirements imposed by the Irish government, you can enjoy a semester or summer in Ireland, taking advantage of its budget-friendliness and everything else that makes Ireland a great place to study abroad.
Average Tuition Cost for a Semester Abroad in Ireland
There are numerous study abroad programs available in Ireland, and like in the United States, a semester’s tuition typically costs thousands of dollars. However, some options are more cost-effective than others. Generally speaking, directly enrolling in a university is cheaper than going through a third-party overseas studies provider. For example, tuition for a semester at Maynooth University is about $7,000, while the provider API charges $16,980 for their program in Galway.
Cost isn’t the only factor to weigh when considering direct enrollment versus third-party study abroad providers, though. There are differences in price, support, and pre-departure experience that you might want to take into account. If you're uncertain about the difference between studying abroad through a third-party provider or direct enrollment, read up to educate yourself. You are a student, after all!
Here are some samples of the costs you might pay for different study abroad options in Ireland:
Tuition for a Semester of Direct Enrollment Study Abroad at:
- Trinity College Dublin: $9,915 - $13,145 depending on area of study (2020-2021)
- Maynooth University: $7,905 - $8,785 depending on area of study (2020-2021)
- University College Dublin: $5,770 - $32,210 depending on area of study (2020-2021)
- University College Cork: $7,320 - $28,550 depending on area of study (2020-2021)
Tuition for a Semester of Study Abroad through a Third-Party Provider:
Average Cost of Living in Ireland
One unfortunate reality for U.S. students looking to study abroad in Ireland is that the average cost of living is higher than it is stateside. It’s possible to work around this, though. To keep your finances in check, you can opt to live in a city where the gap is narrower. Smaller cities like Cork and Galway are more budget-friendly than Dublin, for example.
No matter where you choose to study in Ireland, your living expenses will likely total at least $4,500 per semester. They’ll then grow from there, depending on how you decide to spend your money. These potential add-ons are your non-essential expenses, such as trips to the movies or dinners out.
|Monthly rent||$774 - $1989 for a one-bedroom apartment in city center|
|Utilities||$99 - $276 per month|
|Cell phone||About $20 per month|
|Transportation||A monthly pass: about $110|
|Total||You’ll likely spend at least $4,500 and potentially upto $7,500 for one semester in Ireland after airfareand program fees. The final figure depends on whereyou decide to live, how often you eat out and shop,etc.|
Sources: Numbeo Ireland
Average Airfare & Travel Costs
In order to study abroad in Ireland, you, of course, have to get there. Airfare can be another big expense, especially if you’re flying into and/or out of a small airport or traveling an especially long distance. Flights from the United States will range from around $375 - $1,300, but you can get a more exact estimate for your particular situation by researching fares online.
To bring down your airfare, consider flying between major airports and taking trains or buses to get to and from smaller cities. Of course, you’ll want to compare your options to make sure you’re saving money and that it’s worth any extra travel time you may be adding. Also, if you fly any travel legs on budget airlines, make sure you read up on their fees so you don’t face any unexpected costs; those can sneak up on you, which I once learned the hard way.
The above also applies to any trips you take within Ireland or Europe. There’s so much travel potential once you’re there, but it adds up fast if you’re not budget-savvy. Be sure to think seriously about what your top priorities are; don’t forget that there’s likely plenty to see and do even close to your study abroad home. (Like these top day and weekend trips from Dubiln!)
Other Costs to Keep in Mind While Studying in Ireland
Non-E.U. students are required to obtain private health insurance prior to arriving, so you’ll have to make sure you’re covered. If your current insurance policy covers you abroad for up to €25,000 (roughly $30,000), you’re set. Alternately, some third-party provider programs include adequate coverage. If neither of these situations applies to you, make sure you purchase a plan for a semester. It should cost less than $200.
If you plan on purchasing insurance, be sure to research whether they'll cover hospitalization or if you become sick with the Sars-Cov-2 (COVID-19) virus. Some insurance policies will cover this, and we recommend going for one of those programs -- even though the cost will be more.
Based on all the math so far, the cost of your semester in Ireland could range anywhere from $11,500 to $25,000. That’s a big gap, but again, you have control over how you spend your money. When I studied abroad, for example, I prioritized experiences over goods. That meant that I was much more likely to spend my money on activities than on clothing or souvenirs, which worked for me. However, everyone’s different, so you’ll want to strike your own balance.
If you’re both thinking about what you’d like to get out of your time studying abroad in Ireland and you’re budget-conscious, you’ll be able to find a sweet spot. Yes, it does mean that there will be tradeoffs and that you’ll have to do some accounting, but in the end, you’ll get to do things like wander along cliffs, visit castles, and enjoy pub dinners. Have a great semester on the Emerald Isle!
This post was originally published in October 2016, and was updated in March 2019, January 2020, and September 2020.