UK vs. Ireland: Which is Better for International Students?

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Developed countries witness a surge of international student applications in the globalized world. For instance, 486,107 sponsored study visas and 104,501 graduate route visas were granted to main applicants by the UK immigration authorities in the year ending September 2023. Similarly, Ireland reports a steady increase in international enrollments, mostly of students from the US, India, and China. 35,000 international students chose the country as their academic destination in 2022 – 2023.  

When statistics prove both the UK and Ireland are top choices to study abroad, making a decision is easier if you closely analyze the opportunities specifically for your profile. From a general overview to comparing the salaries in both countries, this blog takes you through the essentials you need to know to make the right decision. 

UK vs. Ireland: An Overview

Average Tuition Fee11,000 – 46,000 USD10,000 – 35,000 USD
Average Living Costs1,600 – 1,700 USD/month in London
1,100 – 1,600 USD in other parts. 
1,300 – 2,000 USD
Language RequirementsIELTS (6.0+), TOEFL (78+), PTE (53+), Duolingo (120+), Cambridge C1 Advanced (180+), and C2 Proficiency (200+) IELTS (6.0+), TOEFL (78+), PTE (53+), Duolingo (120+), Cambridge C1 Advanced (180+), and C2 Proficiency (200+) 
Post-study Work PermitUp to 2 yearsUp to 2 years
Student Visa Fees490 GBP/ 614 USD 73 EUR/ 78 USD
Top Companies for JobsShell, AstraZeneca, HSBC, Unilever, BP, Tesco, and DiageoGoogle, HP, Apple, IBM, Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Pfizer, GSK, and Genzyme.
Top Job SectorsTechnology & IT, Finance, Marketing, Healthcare, Banking, Education, MarketingIT, Technology, Engineering, Life Sciences, Healthcare, Construction, Management

UK vs. Ireland: Climate, Culture, and Safety

  • Climate: According to Worlddata.Info, the UK’s climate is better than Ireland’s climate. The UK has a temperate and maritime climate with rainfall throughout the year. Ireland’s climate is congenial for international students, with mild temperatures and rainfall, similar to the UK. 
  • Culture: The UK is a hub of multiculturalism with people belonging to different faiths and nationalities. Apart from standard English, one can see dialects and varieties in the UK, such as Welsh, Scottish, Cockney, etc. In Ireland, the culture is heart-warming, with unique customs and practices. 
  • Safety: According to the Vision of Humanity global peace ranking of 159 countries, the UK competes with a 37th position despite its larger size compared to Ireland, while Ireland makes it to the top 3rd position. The peace index is proof that international students enjoy a safe environment in both countries. 

Top Universities in the UK vs. Ireland

UK universities are renowned for academic excellence and top-notch career prospects. While preparing your applications, prioritize the following top universities for admission:

Top Universities in the UK

University in the UK QS World University Rankings 2024 
University of Cambridge 
University of Oxford 
Imperial College London 
The University of Edinburgh 22 
The University of Manchester 32 
King’s College London 40 
The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) 45 
University of Bristol 55 
The University of Warwick 67 

Top Universities in Ireland

Irish universities are a melting pot of global talent and unique culture. They are valued for quality education and exceptional teaching methods. You may consider the following universities to plan your study in Ireland: 

University in Ireland QS World University Rankings 2024 
Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin81
University College Dublin171
University of Galway289
University College Cork292
University of Limerick426
Dublin City University436

Top Courses in the UK vs. Ireland

International students have different career goals for Ireland and the UK. Both countries offer extensive courses in different subjects. Some of them are handpicked below:

Top Courses in the UK

Top Courses in Ireland

  • Computer Science
  • Medicine
  • Economics
  • Engineering
  • Accounting
  • Business Studies
  • Nursing
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Design
  • Business Analytics
  • Data Science
  • Computer Science
  • Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Medicine
  • Engineering
  • Management
  • Law
  • Construction

Eligibility Requirements to Study in the UK or Ireland

Generally, the following are the eligibility criteria to study in the UK or Ireland for international students: 

  • 12 years of school education for undergraduate courses
  • 3 or 4 years of bachelor’s degree for postgraduate courses
  • Financial proof for funding your study for at least 1 year, such as an education loan sanction letter or FD certificate

Plus, work experience is an added advantage for relevant disciplines. For a detailed eligibility checklist, better you refer to your university personnel since the exact requirements can vary for different courses and institutions. 

Documents required to study in the UK or Ireland

A crucial part of your international study application is the proper submission of documents. For admission to the UK or Ireland universities, a student must submit the following documents or more, depending on the university’s demands. 

Duly-filled application2 – 3 letters of recommendation 
Passport copySOP (Statement of Purpose)
Application fee receiptMandatory entrance test results – GRE, GMAT, BMAT, LNAT, UKCAT 
student visa – Tier 4 (General)An updated resume or CV 
CAS letter (Confirmation of Acceptance of Sudies) Proof of language proficiency – IELTS (6.0+), TOEFL (78+), PTE (53+), Duolingo (120+), Cambridge C1 Advanced (180+), and C2 Proficiency (200+) 

UK vs. Ireland: Cost of Study

A gentle note – the cost of study is different for different universities in the UK and Ireland. The tuition fee depends on your course level, subject, and university. The table below is a general picture to help you.  

Level of StudyUKIreland
Undergraduate13,800 – 46,000 USD10,000 – 30,000 USD
Postgraduate11,000 – 36,500 USD15,000 – 35,000 USD
Doctoral18,000 – 42,500 USD 10,000 – 35,000 USD

Living Cost in the UK vs. Ireland

Living costs can be a financial challenge for many international students. To meet that, many opt for part-time jobs and earn to contribute towards their personal expenses. Anyone can plan the budget effectively with proper guidance and management. 

  • UK: The living costs for international students can be around 1,600 – 1,700 USD in London and 1,100 – 1,600 USD in other parts per month. 
  • Ireland: According to University College Cork data, the average monthly expense for international students in Ireland ranges from 1,300 – 2,000 USD.
Category of expense UKIreland
Accommodation500 – 1,500 USD 500 – 1,200 USD
Transportation46 – 90 USD 70 – 90 USD
Health Insurance570 – 600 USD 500 – 700 USD
Food & Groceries 200 – 350 USD 260 – 400 USD
Books & Stationaries 30 – 50 USD 80 – 90 USD

UK vs. Ireland Student Visa Requirements

Getting your student visa approval is possible with the right submission of documents. The UK and Ireland student visas are granted after evaluating the following documents from international students: 

A passportApplication form & letter
CAS letterPassport – current & previous ones (if any)
Proof of fundsProof of university admission
A valid ATAS certificate, if asked forETF (Electronic Transfer of Funds) copy to prove you have paid the fee to the college
Tuberculosis test resultsEnglish-proficiency certificate
Medical certificate
Proof of funds

Work Visa in the UK and Ireland

Thanks to the UK Graduate Route visa, international students can stay in the country up to 2 years after their course tenure to look for work. Having 5 years of work experience with a minimum salary of  31,887 USD per year or 13 USD per hour is a mandatory condition for PR applications. 

After completing your studies, a work visa will allow you to work in Ireland for a maximum of 2 years. You can apply for a PR if you complete 5 years of work. 

Salary Comparison: UK vs. Ireland

The UK is home to top international companies where people from different parts of the world work. Having a degree from the UK enhances your chances of working in a leading organization. Some of the top companies in the UK include Shell, AstraZeneca, HSBC, Unilever, and Diageo. 

More than 1,000 multinational corporations specializing in ICT, Social Media, Pharmaceuticals, and Finance have chosen Ireland as the central hub for their European activities. Among these companies are renowned names like Google, HP, Apple, IBM, Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Pfizer, GSK, and Genzyme.

Job RoleSalary in the UKSalary in Ireland
Software Developer46,500 – 80,000 USD65,000 – 100,000 USD
Engineer39,000 – 68,000 USD50,000 – 80,000 USD
Nurse54,000 – 143,000 USD43,000 – 58,000 USD
Data Analyst37,000 – 44,000 USD44,000 – 65,000 USD
Business Analyst44,000 – 76,000 USD49,000 – 72,000 USD
Marketing Manager51,500 – 70,000 USD50,000 – 92,000 USD
Financial Analyst47,000 – 72,000 USD40,000 – 63,000 USD

Which is Better – the UK or Ireland? 

The final question is, which is better for you, the UK or Ireland? Ireland vs. UK education can be compared with your personal aspirations. The answer depends on your personal goals and situations. Here are some useful tips to decide your option:

  • Compared to the UK, Ireland is slightly expensive for international students. However, with sufficient funding sources, the expenses can be managed. 
  • The total number of international students is higher in the UK than in Ireland, as UK universities have more students than Ireland. 
  • Looking at the top global universities, the UK houses more of them than Ireland. 
  • Scholarship options are higher for UK universities since they are offered by the UK government, Commonwealth countries, and various universities and non-profit organizations. 
  • Education loan options are greater in the UK than in Ireland. In Ireland, the top universities are eligible for education loan funding from prominent lenders. 
  • The career opportunities are equally exciting in the UK or Ireland. Both countries offer you the benefits of studying in a European country. 

The UK and Ireland are ideal study-abroad destinations to fulfill your career goals. Research your academic goals well and take your steps diligently. 

Elevate your study-abroad motivation with customized guidance that covers the whole journey. Being your trusted study abroad consultancy, Nomad Credit ensures comprehensive support at every stage, starting from admissions through education loan options till you start learning at your dream institution. Without spending a penny, get holistic assistance from Nomad Credit’s experts today. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Ireland a good choice for Indian students?

Ireland is a good choice for aspiring Indian students who want to study abroad. The country offers you quality education and top job prospects. If you plan to settle there, you can apply for a PR after 5 years of employment. 

How is Ireland vs. the UK’s quality of life?

Both Ireland and the UK rank better in terms of living standards. According to Numbeo, a renowned statistical organization, the UK is in 26th and Ireland in 29th position in the global quality of life index rankings. 

UK vs. Ireland for masters – which is better? 

The UK and Ireland offer top masters courses in various subjects. You may choose your option from the two countries after analyzing your university ranking, eligibility, scholarship availability, chances of getting a student visa, and similar other factors. Take help from Nomad Credit’s experts to make a better choice. 

What is the average salary in Ireland vs. the UK?

The average salary in the UK or Ireland varies for different job roles. In general, it could be 35,000 – 100,000 USD in the UK for managerial positions across diverse fields, whereas the same can be 40,000 – 100,000 USD in Ireland, according to multiple sources. 

What is the cost of living in Ireland vs. the UK?

In the UK, the living costs for international students can be around 1,600 – 1,700 USD in London and 1,100 – 1,600 USD in other parts per month. In Ireland, as per the University College Cork data, the average monthly expense for international students in Ireland ranges from 1,300 – 2,000 USD. 

Ireland vs. the UK education – which is better? 

Ireland or the UK could be your choice of study. Both countries boast an internationally-reputed education system that prepares you for modern-day needs. For international students, the UK and Ireland follow a closely related education system. 

What are the taxes in Ireland vs. the UK?

The income tax rates are generally comparable, with both Ireland and the UK having rates of 20% and 41% (or 20% and 40% respectively). For international students, the tax rules are not directly relevant as they do not have to pay without working.

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