Top Exams Required to Study in Ireland For Masters & Undergrads


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Shireen Parhee

Lead, Content Marketing

Ireland offers a great education in a welcoming country. If you wish to study there, you will need to clear certain exams that are a part of study in Ireland requirements specified by most universities. 


So, as you take your first step on your journey to Ireland, use this guide to learn more about these exams.


We cover language tests, undergraduate tests, graduate admissions tests, and a whole lot more. Our aim is to make the study in Ireland requirements clear, helping you prepare for your journey.


So, without further ado, let us get right into it.

Exams Required to Study in Ireland

There are broadly three types of exams required to study in Ireland. We have broken these down into the following categories.


  • English Language Proficiency Exams
  • Graduate Admission Exams
  • Undergraduate Admission Exams


Now, let us learn about each of these types of exams, beginning with the English language proficiency exams.

English Proficiency Exams

Most universities will need proof of your English skills if you want to study in Ireland. Common tests to prove your language ability include the following:

IELTS (International English Language Testing System)


The IELTS is a globally accepted test that covers speaking, listening, reading, and writing. It is among the most popular English proficiency exams required to study in Ireland. IELTS uses a 9-band scoring system (with 9 being the highest). Most universities require a minimum overall score of 6.5.


The testing time for the IELTS exams is around 2 hours and 45 minutes, and your IELTS scores are valid for 2 years. There are two versions–IELTS Academic for university applicants and IELTS General Training for those seeking work or immigration. 

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)


Like the IELTS, the TOEFL measures your ability to use and understand English at the university level. It scores from 0 to 120 points and is widely accepted by institutions worldwide.  Irish universities often look for scores of 90 or above, but this can vary. It’s necessary for admission and sometimes for visa applications. The test lasts about 3 hours, and scores are also valid for two years. 


The TOEFL is a key exam, especially for those considering how to study in Ireland without IELTS. The TOEFL iBT (internet-based test) is the most common format for students seeking to study in Ireland. That said, there is a paper-based version of the TOEFL available.

PTE Academic (Pearson Test of English Academic)


The PTE Academic is a digital test that you take on your computer. Just like the TOEFL and IELTS, it tests your listening, reading, writing, and speaking skills at an academic level, hence the name. The PTE is scored on a scale of 10-90. Competitive scores for Irish universities often start at 60. The test lasts approximately 2 hours and is recognized by many Irish universities. 


Your scores are valid for two years. The PTE academic presents a viable alternative for students exploring how to study in Ireland without IELTS from India. One advantage of the PTE Academic is that results are often delivered rapidly, sometimes within 48 hours.

The Duolingo English Test


The Duolingo English Test is a newer, online language assessment option. Like the other items on this list, the DET tests your English reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. However, a key differentiator is that the DET only costs $59, as opposed to the $200+ prices of the other tests. 


The DET is not as widely accepted as the IELTS, TOEFL, or PTE Academic. Check with your chosen university if they accept the DET. The DET is scored out of 160 points. Irish universities usually ask for a score of 120 or higher. For context, Trinity College accepts the DET if you score 120/160 or higher.


Some universities may waive their language requirements in certain cases. The most common situation is if your undergraduate degree was in English, but it never hurts to ask otherwise. Any of these four exams will be enough to prove that you meet the first of the study abroad requirements—being able to understand academic English.

Graduate Admission Exams

For many master’s programs in Ireland, you may need to take an additional exam beyond English language proficiency tests. These are designed to measure your academic readiness and ability to keep up with graduate-level work. The two most common graduate exams required to study in Ireland are the GRE and the GMAT.



The GMAT is a key test for admission to business-related master’s programs (like an MBA). It tests your analytical writing, problem-solving, reasoning, and maths skills. It is scored out of 800. Many competitive business schools look for scores of 650 or higher. 


The test lasts three and a half hours, and your scores are valid for five years. That is why, though you technically can do the test in your first year of undergraduate college, most people wait. This is because you would “lose” three or four years of that score validity just in wrapping up your bachelor’s degree.



The GRE is a more general graduate-level exam accepted for various master’s programs, not only business. It covers verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing. has two 130-170 scoring scales (one for verbal, one for quantitative) and a 0-6 scale for analytical writing. Competitive programs will have their own required scores. 


The minimum score you get is 130 in each section, so aim to be above the “median” score of 150 to be a competitive applicant. Like the GMAT, the GRE General Test takes around 3 hours and 45 minutes and scores are valid for 5 years. The GRE allows you to send your scores to three universities for free and charges you to send them beyond the first three. 


Long story short, if you are in a business discipline, go for the GMAT, or else the GRE would suit you better.


Specific programs, especially at the undergraduate level, may have their own entrance exams.  Let’s dive into those possibilities and what you might need to study in Ireland.

Undergraduate Admission Exams

If you’re applying for an undergraduate degree (bachelor’s level) in Ireland, you may need to take specific entrance exams. These exams to study in Ireland help universities assess your academic readiness. This is important because Ireland does not consider CISCE or CBSE degrees competitive enough for admission by themselves.

SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test)


The SAT is a widely recognized college entrance exam used by universities in Ireland and around the world. It tests your reading, writing, and math skills. It is scored out of 1600 total points. Irish universities often look for combined scores above 1100.


The SAT takes just over 3 hours to complete, and your SAT score is valid for 5 years. You don’t have to individually mail your scores to universities, just give them your CollegeBoard ID number and they can pull your scores. The CollegeBoard is the organization that offers the SAT exam.

ACT (American College Testing)


The ACT, a widely accepted standardized test, evaluates students’ skills in math, English, reading, and science. Each section of the test is graded on a scale of 1 to 36, with universities having varying expectations for composite scores.


If you choose not to include the optional writing section, the ACT typically lasts about 3 hours. However, if you opt to take the essay, the test extends to approximately 3.5 hours. An ACT score remains valid for five years, allowing students ample time to utilize their results for college admissions.


Not all Irish universities require the SAT or ACT for admission. Check the specific exams required to study in Ireland for your chosen institution and program.

Top Courses and Universities to Study in Ireland

Ireland offers a wide range of exciting programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels.  Here are some popular universities and their standout programs for international students.

Trinity College Dublin (QS World Ranking: 101)

Ireland’s oldest university excels in the humanities, law, and medicine. It’s a great choice if you want to study in Ireland and immerse yourself in history and tradition. It’s a prestigious institution and the beautiful, central Dublin campus creates a classic academic atmosphere. Consider Trinity if you dream of a traditional, highly respected learning environment.


Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland




University College Dublin (UCD) (QS World Ranking: 181)

UCD is one of Ireland’s largest universities. It is a top choice for business, engineering, and veterinary medicine programs. UCD is also known for its computer science program. Its modern, vibrant campus provides a large, dynamic student experience. UCD welcomes thousands of international students each year, so you’d fit right in.



National University of Ireland, Galway (QS World Ranking: 270)

Located in the scenic west of Ireland, Galway is known for biomedical sciences, engineering, and the arts. It presents a strong choice for students seeking both a top-notch academic reputation and exploring Ireland’s beautiful landscape. NUIG is a popular choice among students looking to major in creative writing, which is one of their most sought-after courses.



University College Cork (UCC) (QS World Ranking: 329) 

UCC offers a welcoming atmosphere and a wide range of programs. It’s particularly well-known for food science, law, and medicine. Students enjoy a beautiful campus and welcoming atmosphere.



Other Universities to Consider:  Many other excellent options are available. Universities like Dublin City University (DCU) or the University of Limerick (UL) might be perfect for your chosen field.


And if you want to study in Ireland but are overwhelmed by the choices, SelectRight is here to help. This free, AI-powered tool is the perfect way to find the best university and program for you.  


SelectRight analyzes over 40,000+ programs across 4,000+ universities, taking into account your goals and background, to find the perfect match. Avoid wasting time and increase your chances of getting into a top program.  


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Why Choose Ireland as a country for your higher studies?

Ireland is a fantastic choice for Indian students who want a top-notch international education. Here’s a closer look at why.


  1. Ireland’s universities consistently rank among the best globally. You’ll get a degree that employers around the world recognize and respect, giving you a competitive edge in the job market.
  2. You can study advanced programs in English, the language of global business and research. This improves your English skills and prepares you to excel in a multinational workplace after you graduate.
  3. Ireland is famous for its friendly, open culture and low crime rates. You’ll feel at home while exploring a new country and focusing on your studies in a secure setting.
  4. Ireland is home to major tech companies like Google and Facebook. This means opportunities for exciting internships and jobs in cutting-edge fields, setting you up for a successful career in technology.
  5. Ireland often lets international students stay and work after graduation. This gives you valuable experience in a European workplace, making your resume even more impressive to future employers. 


Are there any subject-specific exams required to study in Ireland?


This depends on your field of study. Three of the most common subject-specific exams required to study in Ireland are as follows:


  • LSAT (Law School Admission Test) – Required if you want to apply for law programs. It measures your critical reading, analytical reasoning, and logical reasoning skills.


  • GAMSAT (Graduate Medical Schools Admissions Test) – Required for admission to medical and related healthcare programs. Assesses your problem-solving, reasoning, and scientific knowledge.


  • MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) – An alternative to the GAMSAT for some specialized medical programs. It covers a broad range of science topics, along with verbal reasoning and critical thinking.


Do I need IELTS to study in Ireland? 


No. You can study in Ireland without IELTS. As an Indian student, you have many alternatives to the IELTS, including the TOEFL, Duolingo English Test, and PTE Academic. We have already talked about all three of these options above. If your undergraduate degree was in English, your university may even waive the English exams required to study in Ireland.


What are the typical living costs in Ireland? How much should I budget for accommodation, food, and other expenses?


Living costs vary depending on your location and lifestyle. Major cities like Dublin tend to be more expensive. Generally, you should budget around €800-€1200 per month for accommodation, food, transportation, and other necessities.


Can I work part-time while studying in Ireland? What are the rules and how can I find student-friendly jobs?


International students can usually work up to 20 hours per week during the semester and 40 hours during breaks. Universities often have job boards for students, and there are websites dedicated to part-time work in Ireland.


What is the visa application process like for Indian students? How long does it take, and are there any specific things I should be aware of?


The visa process starts with getting accepted to an Irish university. Then you’ll need to apply online, pay a fee, and provide documents like your passport and financial proof. Processing times can vary, so it’s best to start early. The Irish embassy website will have the most up-to-date details.

Picture of Shireen Parhee

Shireen Parhee

A creative producer turned content marketeer, Shireen has a flair for weaving words into compelling stories and bringing them to life through captivating videos. A vivacious leader, she naturally inspires her team, driving them to surpass expectations with her positive energy and insightful feedback. Boasting over a decade of experience across different forms of media, she is on a mission to create memorable content that will leave a lasting impact for years to come.

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