Ireland Higher education

Top Universities in Ireland for Higher Education

Students choice of selecting a university abroad depends heavily on employability opportunities. Every year “The Times Higher Education” releases ranking lists for universities around the world. The ranking is based on 13 performance indicators that measure the institution’s performance across teaching, research, knowledge transfer, and international outlook.

The list is prepared after compiling answers of several recruiters, chief executives and business managers from top companies in 20 countries.

Let us have a look at the list “Top Universities in Ireland for Higher Education for the year 2020”

Trinity College Dublin


Founded in 1592, the University of Dublin, Trinity College, is located in the heart of the Irish capital.

It operates through three faculties: Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, the faculty of Engineering, Mathematics and Science, and the faculty of Health Sciences. Between them, they comprise 24 schools offering a wide range of degrees and courses to around 17,000 students.

Its campus is made up of 51 acres of land in the centre of Dublin, including the Trinity Technology and Enterprise campus. As well as serving the university and its students, the campus acts as a major tourist attraction, owing to the fame, charm and beauty of its buildings that cover 220,000 square metres of land with a mixture of classic and modernist architecture.

The university library is the largest library in Ireland and dates back to the university’s founding year. It is home to over six million printed volumes as well as a wide collection of journals, manuscripts, maps, music, and the historic Book of Kells, a ninth century gospel manuscript presented to the university in the 1660s.

With over 100 college societies and 50 sports clubs, there is no lack of extra-curricular entertainment for students of the university. This is not to mention the wider range of delights that the city of Dublin has to offer. These include the Guinness brewery, Dublin’s world-famous pubs, and other cultural aspects of the city such as the Abbey Theatre, Phoenix Park and the River Liffey.

Among its alumni are the writers Samuel Beckett, Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde, political philosopher Edmund Burke, and the former President of Ireland and UN high commissioner for human rights, Mary Robinson.

RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences



RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences is an innovative, world leading university, dedicated to education, training and research in medicine and health sciences. The home of Ireland’s largest medical school and the largest clinical simulation facility in Europe.

Founded in 1784, to set and support professional standards for surgical training and practice in Ireland, our university has six schools offering undergraduate and postgraduate degrees and professional qualifications aligned to Ireland’s national framework of qualifications. We are home to numerous healthcare institutes as well as leading research centres driving pioneering breakthroughs in human health. Located in the heart of Dublin, with four international campuses and a student community of over sixty nationalities, we have an international perspective on how we train tomorrow’s clinical professionals today.

RCSI is ranked #1 in the World for goal 3 “Good Health & Wellbeing” by the Times Higher Impact Ranking (2020). We continually invest and commit to ensuring our education and research responds to the needs of society and is focused on improving the lives of people and communities around the world.

A deep professional responsibility to enhance human health through endeavour, innovation and collaboration in education, research and service informs all that we do. We welcome students and researchers into programmes of academic excellence and a lifelong community of colleagues, that is clinically led, nurturing and supportive to enable them to realise their potential to serve our global patient community.

We are an independent, not-for-profit body and remain committed to institutional independence, service, academic freedom, diversity and humanitarian concern. Our independence enables us to chart our own course in service of excellence in human health. Placing the patient at the centre of all that we do, our values of Respect, Collaboration, Scholarship and Innovation continue to unite and direct our purpose.

RCSI degrees are accredited via our compliance with the national qualifications agency Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) as well as professional regulators across each discipline.

Research and innovation

RCSI is home to numerous healthcare research collaborations and centres with leading research minds driving pioneering breakthroughs in human health.

Our research is focused on improving human health through translational research: clinical, laboratory-based and health service research informed by bedside problems and societal and global health challenges. It is focused on innovative research that leads to improved diagnostics, therapeutics and devices; tackles important healthcare delivery issues; informs policy and clinical practice and enhances the quality of education of healthcare professionals.

As an exclusively health sciences-focused education and research institution with strong links to acute hospitals and other institutions that reflect the wide diversity of healthcare facilities and needs, RCSI is uniquely placed to develop and enhance research for the benefit of patients and to improve human health. Our strategic research themes include:

  • Biomaterials & Regenerative Medicine
  • Cancer
  • Neurological and Psychiatric Disorders
  • Population Health and Health Services
  • Surgical Science & Practice
  • Vascular Biology

During the period 2014 – 2018 RCSI affiliated researchers collaborated with over 2,100 international academic and industry institutions producing over 2,900 co-authored publications. As an institution, our field-weighted citation impact is twice the world average and scores in the top decile internationally in Times Higher Education World University Ranking (2020).

Students attending RCSI experience a city campus which exudes diversity and a unique intercultural atmosphere.

RCSI is a truly unique international education institution with an impact reaching far beyond the old front doors of our headquarters at 123 St. Stephens Green. Our staff, students and researchers strive to fulfil our mission ‘to educate nurture and discover for the benefit of human health’. Our RCSI Discover newsletter and blog keeps our national and international education and research partners, collaborators and peers informed and features innovative research, scientific and translational breakthroughs.

University College Dublin


University College Dublin is one of Europe’s leading research-intensive universities and is ranked within the top 1% of higher education institutions world-wide. UCD is also Ireland’s most globally engaged university with over 30,000 students drawn from 136 countries, including almost 4,000 students based at locations outside of Ireland.

The University’s main Dublin campus occupies an extensive parkland estate of more than 130 hectares and offers world-leading facilities including the UCD O’Brien Centre for Science, UCD Sutherland School of Law, UCD Lochlan Quinn School of Business, UCD Moore Centre for Business and UCD Student Centre.

The campus offers students access to a thriving, English-speaking European capital city, which is among the safest in the world and is renowned for its welcome as much as it is for its vibrancy.

As Ireland’s largest university, with its great strength and diversity of disciplines, UCD embraces its role to contribute to the flourishing of Ireland, Europe and the wider world. Built on the traditions of the past, we are a university of the future, connected and connecting, engaged and engaging, committed to a sustainable future built on a healthy biosphere. The University’s Strategy 2020-2024 Rising to the Future outlines the objectives and major strategic initiatives set in place in order to accomplish UCD’s mission and vision for this era.

National University of Ireland, Galway


The National University of Ireland, Galway was founded in 1845 as Queens College, Galway. It then became a constituent college of the National University of Ireland and changed its name to University College, Galway. It retained this title until 1997 when the Universities Act changed it to the National University of Ireland, Galway.

The university was given special responsibility to use the Irish language as the working language of the college.

The university has five colleges including the college of arts, social sciences and celtic studies, college of business, public policy and law, college of engineering and informatics, college of medicine, nursing and health sciences and the college of science.

The university has more than 110 active societies and more than 50 sports clubs. The oldest society is the literary and debating society which was founded in 1846.

Maynooth University


Maynooth University is an internationally recognised institution located 25 kilometres outside of Dublin, Ireland, and is the nation’s fastest growing university.

One of four constituent universities of the National University of Ireland, Maynooth University is ranked in the global top 50 universities under 50 years old in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

On 16 June 2017, Maynooth University celebrated its 20th birthday, having been formally established as an autonomous university in 1997. Yet, it traces its origins to the foundation of the Royal College of St. Patrick in 1795, drawing inspiration from a heritage that includes over 200 years of education and scholarship.

Today, Maynooth University is a place of lively contrasts–a modern institution, dynamic, rapidly-growing, research-led and engaged, yet grounded in historic academic strengths and scholarly traditions.

With nearly 13,000 students from more than 90 countries, Maynooth offers a range of programmes at undergraduate, Master’s and PhD level in the humanities, science and engineering, and social sciences, including business, law, and education. The University also offers a range of international programmes and partnerships.

Maynooth’s unique collegial culture fosters an interdisciplinary approach to research, which its world-class academics bring to bear in tackling some of the most fundamental challenges facing society today. The University’s research institutes and centres consolidate and deliver this impact as vibrant communities of learning, discovery and creation. Research at Maynooth also is very much central to its teaching, and the University prides itself on placing equal value on its research and teaching missions.

In addition to being named in THE’s Top 50 Under 50, Maynooth University is recognised among the top 400 universities in the world, the top 200 European universities, and as one of the top 200 universities for international connections and outlook.

University College Cork


We give Ireland its “Innovative Independent Thinkers”

University College Cork, five-time winner of the Sunday Times Irish University of the Year and Ireland’s premier university for sustainability, has a tradition of independent thinking stretching back over 170 years. We are one of Ireland’s leading universities with amongst the highest postgraduate or graduate employment rates of 94% for undergraduate studies and 95% for postgraduate studies.

Proud to be ranked in the top 2% of universities in the world, a degree from UCC ensures that graduates are ‘World Ready and Work Ready’. UCC is unrivalled in the quality of its academic programmes and research, its collaborations with industry, the beauty of its campus and its vibrant student life, enjoyed by over 21,000 students from over 104 countries. With over 3,400 students and one third of our staff from oversees, UCC is a true place of international learning.

Located in the heart of Southern Ireland, Cork is a vibrant university city and is listed as one of the top 10 places in the world to visit by the Lonely Planet. The city is located along with world famous ‘Wild Atlantic Way’ whilst its airport is a true gateway to Europe.

Fast Facts

  • Ranked 21st in the world and first in Ireland in the inaugural Times Higher Education Impact rankings for sustainable social and economic impact
  • Ranked in Europe’s top 50 for teaching excellence
  • Ireland’s leading university for the generation of research income
  • Consistently graduate over 200 doctorate graduates per year
  • First Irish university to establish a business incubation centre for recent graduates
  • World’s first Green Flag campus

University of Limerick


Based in the south of Ireland, the University of Limerick is home to more than 12,000 students.

The institution, granted university status in 1989, was the first to be established in the Republic of Ireland after the founding of the state in 1922.

A unique feature of the student experience is that all students are eligible for an 8-month work placement coordinated by the university as part of the Cooperative Education Programme.

The university has a network of more than 1,600 employers, making the Co-op programme one of the biggest in the European Union. Around 30 per cent of students in the programme work internationally for their placement, across Europe, Asia and America.

The alumni community has one of the highest employment rates out of graduates in Ireland.

Many students live close to the university campus, particularly in Castletroy. There is also a good amount of student accommodation on campus, arranged into five student villages.

The University of Limerick has adopted aspects of the US university system. For example, students receive a grade point average as a result of evaluations.

Arts and sciences are both key to the university’s mission; there are a number of dedicated and specialised scientific research centres, alongside the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, the Irish Chamber Orchestra, and collections of Fine Art.

Notable graduates of the university over the years include politicians, sportspeople and more than one dancer of Riverdance.

Dublin City University


Describing itself as a ‘university that looks to the future,’ Dublin City University (DCU) has been broadening the horizons of students on its lively campus since it opened in 1980.

A large expansion programme throughout 2015 and 2016 saw the incorporation of several colleges under the DCU umbrella, including St Patrick’s College Drumcondra, Mater Dei Institute of Education and Church of Ireland College of Education.

With DCU’s expansion came an increase in its academic portfolio. The university offers a total of 70 taught programmes across Humanities and Social Sciences, Science and Health, Engineering and Computing and DCU Business School faculties including 10 different degrees in teacher education (DCU has established the first faculty of education in an Irish university).

Occupying a 72-acre site in the Glasnevin area, just north of Dublin itself. DCU is home to over 12,000 registered students, including full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as students doing distance learning.

The university boasts a number of Research and Enterprise Hubs that facilitate research partnerships between academics and external organisations.

It also comprises the John and Aileen O’Reilly library, with 400 workstations, 1,200 seats and 18 collaborative rooms. It bills itself as the first university library to put digital records on the same footing as books and journals, granting access to some 250,000 volumes, a number that is growing as technology improves.

Its campus also includes restaurants, a theatre and conference centre, a crèche and a university sports complex.

DCU’s other major focus is business and enterprise: the university estimates 50,000 of their graduates are employed in significant positions within industry. It also prides itself on its USTART start-up accelerator programme, which supports students by lending them space and funding to launch their own businesses.

The university separately runs a series of summer schools as part of a ‘DCU in the Community’ programme. These involve public talks in the nearby area of Ballymun, on topics recently including social psychology, public speaking and mental health.

Technological University Dublin


Technological University Dublin is an Irish university formed in 2019. The university’s establishment followed the merging of three other universities in the city, namely the Dublin Institute of Technology, the Institute of Technology, Blanchardstown and the Institute of Technology, Tallaght. The oldest of these institutions has a history stretching back to 1887.

Due to the circumstances of its formation, the university is spread across three campuses across the city of Dublin. The university’s primary focus is on STEM subjects, with a wide variety of specialist science labs and equipment.

Subjects and departments on offer are spread out across both undergraduate and postgraduate courses, and include finance, accounting, architecture, various science subjects, mathematics and business among many others.

As well as these diverse academic offerings, the university also plays host to a range of recreational facilities, with dedicated sports centres on each of the university’s three campuses. The university also provides dedicated student societies and events in order to foster a spirit of co-operation and community across such a large institution.

As well as the university-provided facilities, students at Technological University of Dublin also have access to the city of Dublin itself.

As Ireland’s capital, economic centre and home to numerous other universities, Dublin has a huge amount to offer prospective students with a strong student culture and nightlife as well as a number of cultural and historical sites.

The city also stands as a major business centre for Europe, and Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Ebay, Facebook and Twitter all have a major presence there.

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