15 Top Nursing Schools in Ireland:Tuition & Requirements

If you are searching for nursing schools in Ireland, then this article is what you need. For some time now, there has been a severe shortage of nurses in Ireland. This means that becoming a nurse is a fantastic career because of the job security of this career path.

While you are making that decision of becoming a nurse, you may be wondering how long it will take to become a nurse in Ireland.

In this article, we will look at the nursing schools in Ireland and the requirements for getting into any of the nursing schools in Ireland.

Requirements for Nursing School in Ireland

To apply for any of the nursing schools in Ireland, you need to have completed your secondary school education. This is due to the fact that many nursing programs are bachelor’s degrees.

Therefore, having the appropriate qualifications is a must.

You must have a C3 in two higher papers and at least a D3 in four papers.

You must complete at least one laboratory science, math, and either English or Irish.

Some universities have specific qualifications for their entrance, which means you must be aware of the school’s requirements before applying.

Students who have completed relevant FETAC (Level 5) modules with distinctions in 5 modules, can also apply to an undergraduate-level nursing school. However, you must know that there are typically only limited places at universities for students in this category.

There are schools that have access programs that give both young and mature students the necessary preparation to begin nursing school.

You can do this through a Higher Education Access Route(HEAR), which is reserved for students who have earned their learning certificate at a third-level access program.

Furthermore, there are foundation courses available at some universities, and each of them last a year. They are courses designed to transition you to nursing school successfully.

Is Nursing School for You?

Before you apply to nurse school, you need to be sure it is the career you are after. You do not need to enter with doubts, because you might complete the degree and end up hating it.

Instead, evaluate this truthfully and honestly with yourself before embarking on that course.

Do you love working with and for the benefit of people of all ages and from diverse backgrounds?

If you want a rewarding and respected career with great employment and travel opportunities, then the professional course in nursing could be for you.

A genuine interest in people and a desire to care for others are core requirements for any individual who wishes to become a nurse.

In addition, you will need to have a keen interest in healthcare and be capable of working as part of a team.

Like all professional courses in health sciences, nursing places extra demands on students’ time.

It can be demanding, both physically and emotionally and so you should ensure that you are in a position to fully engage with the course during your time in Trinity.

What Type of Nurse do You Want to Be?

In Ireland, there are five routes that you can take in nursing schools. It is not every university that offers these courses. it is therefore important that you find one that has exactly what you are looking for.

You can choose to work in Children’s and General, General Nursing, Intellectual Disability Nursing, Midwifery, and Psychiatric Nursing.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Nurse?

All programs last for four years, with the exception of the Children’s and General qualifications. This takes four and a half years to complete.

The four year and four and a half years of work are to be done on a full-time basis.

Furthermore, you may complete specialist programs in the form of postgraduate degrees. The programs must be approved by An Bord Altranais (Ireland’s Nursing Board).

There are cases where these programs will be more in-depth than your first four or four and a half years. Others are specialist programs that allow you to gain even further skills.

Further programs you can take include:

Midwifery, Children’s Nursing, Nurse Tutor, Nurse Prescriber, Public Health Nursing, Advance Midwife Practitioner, and Advanced Nurse Practitioner.

How Many Students Are Accepted Each Year?

Ireland has 44 schools that offer nursing as a degree. Within these schools, there are a set number of seats for students.

There are also a set number of places reserved for “mature students” or those over the age of 23.

There are four universities that offer Children’s and General nursing courses. For the children’s and General nursing courses, there are 100 seats offered to students each year, about 25 per university. 15% of these places will go to students over the age of 23.

Furthermore, General nursing is offered at 14 universities.

In total, 860 students are accepted into the programs each year. This is an average of 62 students per university. 15% of the seats go to students who are over the age of 23.

Ireland offers 8 programs for Intellectual Disability Nursing, with 180 places. This makes approximately 22 students accepted per university course.

30% of places are reserved for students over the age of 23.

Furthermore, there are 6 schools that offer the Midwifery specialty. They hold places for 140 students or approximately 23 per school.

20% of these places are reserved for students who are over the age of 23.

Finally, Ireland offers 12 courses in psychiatric nursing. Nationwide, there are 290 places for students or 24 per school. 35% of places are reserved for mature students.

Applying to Nursing School

Students must apply through the Central Application Office(CAP). In this portion, students will indicate which programs they are most interested in and they must submit their scores from testing and secondary school.

Mature students who are applying through the CAO must also take an exam for the PAS or Public Appointment Service.

By July, offers to go out to mature students. Further Education and Training students, otherwise known as FET students will receive their offers in early August.

This is followed by traditional students who will receive their offers in mid-August.

Free Nursing Courses Ireland

There are certain groups of students who can gain access to tuition-free studies at some universities and university colleges in Ireland.

For instance, exchange students (that do not have EU citizenship) and participants of the ERASMUS+ program.

Limerick University offers tuition-free studies in form of an exchange program. Through this exchange program, you will be able to experience a different culture and study environment.

Limerick University offers students the opportunity to spend a semester abroad and is a fully recognized component of a UL degree. Students remain full-time registered students and do not pay tuition fees at the host university.

Students embarking on Erasmus or a non-EU exchange do not pay tuition fees at the host University.

Students on the ERASMUS+ program receive a mobility grant of between €230-280 per month depending on the cost of living in the host country, to assist with added costs such as travel expenses and higher general costs of living in the host country.

Trinity College Dublin is another University that also offers tuition-free education for students meeting one of the requirements mentioned in the  Irish Free Fees Initiative program.

Cost of Studying Nursing

As a rule, all students who are studying nursing in Ireland need to pay tuition fees. The amount of tuition fee they have to pay varies due to many factors.

Some of these factors include campus location and educational program. There are educational institutions that may set different fees for domestic and international students.

As an international student, you should be ready to pay around 13,000 – 17,000 euros per academic year. We will elaborate more on the cost as we go on.

The List of Best Nursing Schools in Ireland

  • National University of Ireland, Galway

  • Trinity College Dublin

  • University of Limerick

  • Dublin City University

National University of Ireland, Galway

The Bachelor of Nursing Science (General) course at the National University of Ireland, Galway is a four-year degree program that will qualify you as a nurse.

Successful students are awarded the Bachelor of Nursing Science (General) degree and are eligible to apply to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland, the nursing profession’s regulatory body.

The program is offered in partnership with the Health Service Executive (HSE) West.

The first three years are run within the academic year and include a combination of theory modules and clinical practice modules.

Practice modules will require students to be in clinical practice for 35 hours per week. Year four comprises clinical/theory instruction in semester one and a 36-week internship of clinical practice which runs from January to September.

During this period, the student will be an employee of the HSE West and be paid a salary.

The theoretical component comprises lectures, seminars, workshops, experiential learning, skills training, and reading time.

Fees: EU

€7,246 p.a. 2022/23

Fees: Tuition:

€4,106 p.a. 2022/23

Fees: Student Contribution:

€3,000 p.a. 2022/23

Fees: Student levy:

€140 p.a. 2022/23

Fees: Non-EU:

€24,140 p.a. 2022/23

*EU Fees are comprised of Tuition + Student Contribution Charge + Student Levy

Student Levy: €140 – payable by all students and is not covered by SUSI. Further detail here https://su.nuigalway.ie/

Trinity College Dublin

The School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College, has a world-renowned reputation and courses are taught by academics at the top of their discipline and profession.

The School is ranked 1st in Ireland and in the top 50 universities in the World in the QS World University Subject rankings 2020.

With over one thousand undergraduate nursing students at Trinity, you will become part of a vibrant student community – the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin, is the largest School of Nursing and Midwifery in the country.

Nursing students are taught theory predominantly in the School of Nursing and Midwifery building on D’Olier Street, which is a wonderful historic building in the heart of the capital, and also on the St. James’ Hospital campus.  

The School is a great place to learn and interact with classmates and staff,  and with its close proximity to Trinity’s main campus, nursing students are never far from the center of student life.

Nursing students are taught theory predominantly in the School of Nursing and Midwifery building on D’Olier Street, which is a wonderful historic building in the heart of the capital.

The School is a great place to learn and interact with classmates and with its close proximity to Trinity’s main campus, nursing students are never far from the center of student life.

The four-year nursing courses at Trinity College Dublin (Children’s and General is 4.5 years) are offered in partnership with six health service providers.

Trinity’s linked health service providers for this course are:

General Nursing:

  • Tallaght Hospital
  • St. James’s Hospital

This program at this university is not open to non-EU applicants. Please refer to this page to determine if you are considered a non-EU applicant.

Leaving Certificate

O6/H6 Mathematics

O6/H6 In one of Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Physics/Chemistry or Agricultural Science


Grade C/5 Mathematics

Grade C/5 In one of Biology, Physics or Chemistry

EU Tuition:

Dental Nursing: €988

General Nursing: €4,106

General Nursing (Adelaide): €4,106

Integrated Children’s and General Nursing (4.5 years undergrad): €4,106

Intellectual Disability Nursing: €4,106

Mental Health Nursing: €4,106

See full Tuition Details.

See how to apply.

University of Limerick

General nursing is a broad area of practice and involves caring for people with acute and long-term illnesses in hospital and community settings. General nursing provides a person-centered holistic approach to care, respecting each individual’s uniqueness and dignity.

Registered General Nurses (RGNs) work collaboratively and in partnership with patients, their families/carers, the wider community, and other health professionals in providing a proactive, evidence-based quality holistic service.

The BSc Nursing (General) program is designed to provide students with the understanding, knowledge, skills, and attitudes required to deliver compassionate care that is responsive to the needs of individuals within evolving healthcare settings.

The BSc. Nursing (General) is a full-time four-year degree offered by the Department of Nursing and Midwifery, the University of Limerick in conjunction with the Health Service Executive West (Limerick, Clare, and Tipperary North).

Upon successful completion of the program, students will be able to present for registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) and practice as a Registered General Nurse (R.G.N.).

Nursing programs at The University of Limerick offer a valuable opportunity to study on a renowned and beautiful campus with enthusiastic and experienced lecturers who support student learning both in practice with our service partners and on campus.


  • Tuition Fees: €7,198
  • Student contribution: €3,000
  • Student Centre Levy: €92

The Erasmus program at the University of Limerick enables students to study at another European university as part of their university degree.

This is an exciting opportunity for students to experience a core clinical placement in another European Union healthcare system for a maximum period of eight weeks duration.

Erasmus exchange takes place in semester two of the second year and semester one of the third year.

Dublin City University

The BSc in Nursing provides you with the pre-registration education you’ll need to qualify for one of the following awards:

  • BSc in Nursing (General)
  • BSc in Nursing (Children’s and General)
  • BSc in Nursing (Intellectual Disability)
  • BSc in Nursing (Mental Health)

You’ll also be eligible for professional registration with Bord Altranais agus Cnáimhseachais na hÉireann (Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI).

Each year you’ll have the opportunity to practice nursing in a clinical setting. These are called ‘practice placements’.

During Years Three and Four, you’ll spend long periods on these practice placements. In Years Two and Three you’ll undertake specialist modules relating to your chosen nursing discipline.

In Year Four you’ll participate in a 36-week internship with local health service providers, gaining further practice-based learning and also taking formal assessments of practice competencies.

Garda vetting is a requirement for all nursing students, who throughout their training have supervised access to vulnerable population groups.

Applicants must successfully pass the Garda vetting process in order to complete the process of registration for the BSc in Nursing.

Tuition Fee:

  • Student Contribution: €3,043 per annum
  • EU Status Fee: €7,149 per annum
  • Non-EU Fee: €23,000 per annum

Other Nursing Schools to Consider:

The nursing schools in Ireland above were ranked by studyabroadaide.com. The following schools are just top schools recommended to pursue that nursing degree.

Waterford Institute of Technology Waterford, Ireland

The General Nursing Course at Waterford Institute of Technology Waterford is delivered in a purpose-built, state-of-the-art learning environment and students undertake clinical practice in many hospitals throughout the south east region.

You will be taught over four years through a model that we call KSVSE (Knowledge, Science, Values and Attitudes, Skills and Experience). Program details.

Dundalk Institute of Technology Dundalk, Ireland

The Department of Nursing, Midwifery and Early Years has an excellent reputation in the education of nursing, midwifery and early years practitioners.

Their experienced lecturers create a positive learning environment that enables students to reach their full potential. See nursing programs offered.

University College Dublin Dublin, Ireland

Their innovative degree program is taught by experienced lecturers in a friendly and supportive environment, with state-of-the-art facilities.

It prepares you to become a professional nurse who can successfully manage the complex healthcare needs of the adult population. Program details.

University College Cork Cork, Ireland

The School of Nursing and Midwifery, University College Cork, has been ranked within the top 50 nursing schools in the world, according to the QS global subject rankings.

The school provides a world-class environment for cutting-edge research to prepare tomorrow’s nurses to shape and advance health care practices through research and education.

Within UCC’s School of Nursing and Midwifery, researchers are addressing global challenges, including the growing burden of diseases, nurse workforce requirements, population aging, and sustainable approaches to healthcare and health promotion; their teaching staff, including those listed below, are at the forefront of these developments. See Program details.

Munster Technological University Cork, Ireland

Their nursing programs are taught in the purpose-built Sólás building at the North Campus.

This state-of-the-art facility has technology-enhanced classrooms, lecture halls, practical skills laboratories and computer suites.

Their partnership with the HSE offers students a wide range of exciting clinical placement facilities across counties Kerry and Cork.

Throughout this program, you will get great support from the University and from clinical staff, both in the classroom and on placement.

ERASMUS opportunities are available at Oxford Brookes University in England for students studying mental health nursing at MTU Kerry Campus. See program details.

Trinity College Dublin Dublin, Ireland

The School is ranked 42nd in the World in the QS World University Subject Rankings 2022. They are proud to offer a wide range of programs at undergraduate and postgraduate levels in Nursing.

Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology

This Department offers a range of courses in Early Childhood Education and Care, General Nursing, Mental Health Nursing and a range of postgraduate programs for professionals who wish to further enhance their skills, knowledge and career opportunities. Program details.

Letterkenny Institute of Technology

Their Bachelor of Science (Hons) in General Nursing prepares you for a career in professional healthcare. It’s a four-year course that will open up a world of opportunities to pursue a rewarding and vital role in society. See program details.

Institute of Technology Tralee

They offer so many nursing courses that give you the skills to provide nursing care in a wide variety of clinical settings.

It emphasizes the importance of working with other professions and planning individualized nursing care in partnership with patients. Their focus is on caring, communication and understanding the patient’s experience of health and illness. More details.

Athlone Institute of Technology

As a graduate of the Department of Nursing and Healthcare at TUS, your qualification will be recognized and valued throughout the world.

Your nursing education will be delivered in a modern, state-of-the-art facility that benefits from extensive practical placement at three general hospitals in the HSE Midlands area: Tullamore, Portlaoise, and Mullingar.

Their undergraduate general and mental health nursing degrees are fully accredited by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI). After graduation, you can continue your professional development at TUS. More Details.

Nursing Schools in Ireland for International Students

Ireland welcomes students from all over the globe to study undergraduate and postgraduate programs, foundation programs, and research paths.

They also welcome hundreds of exchange and study abroad students every year. 

Requirements to Study Nursing in Ireland

If you plan to study nursing in Ireland, A bachelor’s degree in nursing requires that applicants have a secondary school education certificate.

in a set of subjects related to medicine in some way is a must. Three compulsory subjects are biology, physics, and mathematics.

Students should also demonstrate knowledge in 2 optional subjects. Check out the requirements for Limerick University and the requirements for the National University of Ireland.

You can also get more information about the requirements for Trinity College Dublin, and Dublin City University, to have a clearer picture.

On the other hand, master’s programs have a long list of requirements.

The most important of these requirements are practical experience and basic knowledge in the field of nursing.

For example, Limerick candidates must be registered nurses and provide evidence of current registration with an appropriate Nursing/Midwifery Registration Board.

Check out the master’s degree program created by Limerick University for a clearer picture.

In What Languages Do You Study Nursing in Ireland?

The main language of instruction and teaching in Irish universities is English. Therefore, applicants who are native English speakers do not have to prove that they are fluent in English.

For non-native English speakers, a Certificate of Proficiency is required. A lot of times, students are required to submit either a TOEFL Certificate, IELTS Certificate and or CAE Certificate. Limerick University and the National University of Ireland are examples of nursing schools in Ireland/Universities accepting these English exams.

There are other universities that accept certificates for other English proficiency tests such as Duolingo English Test. The certificate is accepted by National University of Ireland and the Dublin City University.

Nursing Accreditation in Ireland

The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) has a statutory responsibility to approve nursing and midwifery programs leading to registration that are offered by Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) such as universities, institutes of technology and third-level colleges.

NMBI’s role in relation to the approval of professional nursing and midwifery education is distinct from the academic accreditation or quality monitoring of an HEI for subject quality purposes. NMBI works in collaboration with other statutory agencies that regulate higher education in Ireland.

Who is a Nurse?

The role of the nurse is to provide evidence-based, culturally sensitive care in order to assist an individual to lead an independent and healthy lifestyle.

They help individuals overcome ill health or experience a peaceful death.

The nurse achieves this through working as a part of a multidisciplinary team to provide primary healthcare acute hospital care, community and home and continuing care, based on individual and population health needs across the lifespan.

Students of nursing learn about caring and the complexities of health and illness through interactive teaching and learning strategies in the classroom and the healthcare environment.

Practice (clinical and community) experience provides the student with opportunities to integrate the art and science of nursing and promotes the development of caring relationships with patients and their families/significant others.

Nursing practice, rooted in compassion, draws upon extensive knowledge and experience to provide physical and psychological care of the highest quality.

Nurses take center stage in ensuring efficient and effective delivery of accessible, integrated and consumer-driven healthcare, creatively designing health-related services, and ensuring quality through advocacy, policy-making, service management, education and research. Searching for cheap nursing schools in Ireland for international students? Watch out for the next article.

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