University College Dublin

Program Reviews

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Emily
1/5
No, I don't recommend this program

Don't Study Abroad at UCD

I'll try to not be too negative in this review, but I genuinely hated my time studying abroad at University College Dublin. If you are thinking about studying abroad here, make sure you know what you're getting into. I spent my whole academic year here, and I seriously regret it. UCD is in the middle of nowhere; it honestly did not feel like I was in Dublin. Students generally are not super friendly, and it was quite lonely. The Irish students are a bit cliquely and overall are not interested in making friends with American/other international students. The school is huge, which was something I wasn't used to, coming from a medium-sized liberal arts school in the US. The campus has nice facilities, but it's quite ugly (unless you're into Brutalist architecture) and has a strange layout. Housing was fine, although a bit overpriced. It's a commuter school, so campus is dead on the weekends when all the Irish kids go home. I was living in a 7 bedroom apartment, and while it was nice to have my own bedroom and ensuite, I was living with international students who were all slobs.

Ireland is also not a very fun country. The weather is absolutely abysmal. You're on an island, so you're kind of stuck here. Many of the American students take trips around Europe during weekends or breaks, but if you don't have the money to do that, Dublin gets really boring really quickly. There are some beautiful places in Ireland, but they all kind of look the same. Irish people are generally pretty cool and laid back, but most of them just want to drink and party all the time. I cannot emphasize enough how much I wish I didn't study abroad here, and I can only recommend UCD if you intend to explore the rest of Europe while you're here and use it as a crash pad, or if you have an interest in learning about Irish history (but Trinity would be better for that anyway.) Don't study abroad at UCD if you can help it.

Pros
  • Lots of societies and clubs
Cons
  • Isolated
  • Lack of academic support
  • Not an "immersive" Irish experience
Response from University College Dublin

Hi Emily
We are sorry to hear that you didn’t have a great experience in Ireland and UCD, but many international students do. UCD is 6kms from the city centre with great transport links. Wishing you all the best in the future.

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Melina
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

UCD Study Abroad Experience

UCD was an amazing school to study abroad in for a semester! They provide free trips to go to different places in Ireland such as Galway, Kinsale, Glendalough, and more events where I was able to meet tons of friends. Also, UCD has a great community that makes it easy to join clubs/societies even if it is just for a semester which allowed me to make local Irish friends. It was easy to go into the city whenever I wanted and was a very safe location to walk around even at night so would highly recommend!

Pros
  • Social scene is great
  • Safe location
  • Easy to make local friends
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Sitapa
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

UCD is A Second Home

I'll start with the two (slightly) negative points:
-Academics can be a bit stressful sometimes, since much of the time, assignments are due all in one month + you have less assignments worth more percentage of your grade unlike the American system. However, I will offset this statement a little by saying that professors will make sure you don't fail!
-My residence wasn't the best— you pay for what you get, but even then, it is a little overpriced and when I came in, the previous owners left it in very dirty condition (however, this is not UCD's fault). But as someone in Glenomena, the single rooms and (in my case) the ensuite bathroom are hard to complain about, and there's nothing a little cleaning up yourself can't do.

But otherwise, I loved being at UCD! Being a UCD student for the semester has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. At first, it was hard to adjust due to the size of the campus, but there have been so many opportunities to find friends and traveling experiences through UCD-organized events (they run trips around Ireland for study abroad students!) and school societies. The campus is also very big, but that means there are many student life and academic resources— it almost seems like a small town sometimes. I have come out with increased independence, many lifelong friends, and new memories that I will always cherish because of my time at UCD. I highly recommend that if anyone goes to Ireland for study abroad that UCD should be considered!

Pros
  • Great location
  • Many resources on campus
  • Many opportunities to travel and make friends with UCD-led events
Cons
  • Expensive cost of living in Dublin
  • You pay for what you get in terms of housing, and it is not always the cleanest
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Monica
4/5
Yes, I recommend this program

UCD study abroad!

I have loved my time at UCD. I feel safe on campus, enjoy the learning material, and have loved exploring Dublin. The facilities for students like my residence and the gym were excellent, and the bus into Dublin was easy and convenient. One thing I would change is that there could be more academic support for international students adjusting to a new style of teaching. I was able to utilize the maths tutoring centre, but I felt that overall there were not many resources made available to students who may have been struggling.

Pros
  • Easy to travel and explore new places
  • Safe campus
  • New culture
Cons
  • Limited support
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Allison
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

UCD Study Abroad

What an amazing University College Dublin has brought me. Along with an amazing academic structure, this experience brought me life long friends and memories. Everyday is something new and exciting. The city of Dublin is bursting with culture, history and uniqueness all around. My academic experience was one like any other coming with vigorous classes and professors who really know how to teach. Getting outside of your comfort zone was the best decision to make. I would 100% look into studying abroad at University College Dublin!

Pros
  • World class academics
  • Cultural diversity
  • Lifelong friends
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Willa
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Experience!

Though housing can be expensive, I have loved my time here at UCD. I have made so many friends from around the world. Outside of the university, the city is amazing and the whole country is full of fun experiences. It's easy to travel around in the city or in the country. There are many amazing coffee spots on campus as well as plenty of other amenities. No matter the time of year, it is beautiful outside, even in the rain. I would definitely recommend this program for anyone who is looking to study abroad in Europe.

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Langston
3/5
Yes, I recommend this program

UCD Architecture

I registered for 3 courses at UCD, all of which were related to architecture/ design. Supplementary courses were enjoyable and worthwhile, however, I was not a huge fan of the architecture studio setting. Studios are not cleaned between semesters, causing clutter and general confusion over which spaces are being used. Projects are highly focused on the production of physical models, but the school lacked resources that would make this process more enticing (3d printers, photo lab, CNC machines etc...). Tutors failed to create a competitive environment for students and the program itself felt very archaic.

The low rigor of classes did make it easier to enjoy my time in Ireland, however, so I would highly recommend this program to anyone who is looking to have ample time to explore Ireland/ Europe. My only complaint outside of academics is the extremely high cost of living in Dublin. Overall, Dublin is a fun city with plenty of amenities close by.

Pros
  • Easy commute
  • Great location
Cons
  • Academic standards
  • High cost of living in Ireland
Response from University College Dublin

Thank you for your review. In response to your 3D printers comment, there is a full-service, commercial-level 3D printing hub, U3D, housed in the School of Civil Engineering at Newstead which is a 5 minute walk from Architecture.
UCD offers scan to print services, 3D printing classes, and all major 3D printing technologies including metal printing. However, the architecture students don't tend to use 3D printing in the architecture programme because it is very cumbersome. There are 3 CNC machines in the building laboratory onsite, a large workshop space which serves various functions for the architecture programme and is well staffed. All new students receive a personal induction to the Building Lab for health and safety reasons and to raise awareness of the facilities and equipment that is available for them to use. We appreciate students' feedback so that we can work on improving our facilities and support so UCD Global will be happy to share these comments with faculty in architecture to improve the studio setting for both domestic and international students in the future.

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Amelia
4/5
Yes, I recommend this program

UCD Architecture

Spent a semester at UCD Engineering & Architecture. I took an intro Landscape Architecture lecture, a Masters level Nature-Based Solutions studio, a Masters level Urban Resilience lecture, as well as a literature elective (in the English dept). At my home university, I study sustainability and visual arts, so this program was a great chance to bring those disciplines together. Courses were rigorous, but professors supportive and helpful. I really liked the overall focus on sustainability and environmental issues. Good variety in the options available in course selection, including Masters-level modules.
On-campus housing is livable but not great. It's very expensive for what you get, but unfortunately not many alternatives are available due to the city's housing crisis.
Student life is welcoming and friendly, and plenty of nice things to do out in Dublin. UCD is definitely in the suburbs, but an easy 30 min bus ride from city center.

Pros
  • variety of course selection
  • dedicated architecture library
  • welcoming students and faculty
Cons
  • housing
  • distance from city center
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Richard
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

UCD Smurfit MSc in Finance

The MSc in Finance offered at UCD Smurfit School of Business was a life-changing experience for me. The Program allowed me to acquire a knowledge base in the area of finance and investments that I use every day in the investment industry. Complementing this enriching academic experience is a diverse student body, with students enrolling from all over the world. This diversity allowed me to learn about different perspectives than my own and build a global network. Additionally, the Professors at Smurfit are leaders in their respective field, and were consistently approachable and supportive of my studies. The UCD Smurfit Campus offers an oasis from the busy city-scape that allowed me to focus on my studies while building a strong community with my classmates. That being said, the Campus is a quick metro ride into the notorious city center of Dublin, where I escaped the workload from time to time to enjoy the best of Irish culture.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Take this opportunity to learn about yourself, absorb the skills offered by the course work, and build life-long connections with a global network.
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Taylor
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

A Great Semester at UCD!

Major: Electrical Engineering, Home Institution: Yale University

I am so happy I decided to study abroad at UCD because I absolutely loved my experience and feel I grew tremendously while being there! Academically, I felt very challenged because I was able enroll in courses otherwise not offered by my university. I explored entirely new topics in power engineering and renewable energy that ultimately helped me broaden my passion for sustainability. I was also able to conduct research in UCD’s Energy Institute which was a very exciting process of learning and discovery. Outside of the classroom, it was always incredibly fun to attend the various social and club events hosted by the student organizations. There were karaoke nights, student performances, rock climbing nights, pub crawls, and so much more. All these events made it easy to make friends from all over the world and to create amazing new memories!

Beyond UCD’s campus I enjoyed going out to observe the natural and stunning beauty of Ireland! This was probably my favorite aspect of being abroad! I would often take small bus or train rides outside of the city to see some of the surrounding nature. I loved spending time on the coast and walking on the cliffs of Howth, the beaches of Balbriggan, and seeing the gardens of Wicklow. Although my experience was cut short as a result of COVID-19, I am still very grateful for the time I had in Ireland and for the people I met there.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
At first, move in was nerve-racking with trying to figure out where everything was, where to buy groceries/soap/etc., and how to navigate public transportation. However, the UCD Global Lounge coordinated a lot of helpful tours around campus and in town that made it much less stressful to figure it all out!