Dublin has always had a long tradition of learning and academia, our oldest university Trinity College dates as far back as the 16th Century. Today, we boast a large and diverse range of both State and privately funded third level institutions. Providing an environment which caters for all who wish to further their education, studying in Dublin will give you access to a varied academic landscape. Our third level institutions provide opportunities to learn in such areas as Business, Finance, Science, Arts, ICT, Media, Education, Law and Medicine amongst others. If you are thinking about attending college in Dublin, you can search Qualifax for details of courses that our third level institutions provide.


Trinity College

Founded in 1592 and the sole constituent college of the University of Dublin. Located on College Green in the heart of the city, it is divided into three faculties comprising 25 schools, offering degree and diploma courses at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Trinity is Ireland’s highest ranked university and one of the world’s top 100. It is home to 17,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students across all the major disciplines in the arts and humanities, and in business, law, engineering, science, and health sciences.


Dublin City University (DCU)

Located on Dublin's northside, DCU, enrolled its first students in 1980 as the National Institute for Higher Education, and was elevated to university status in 1989. The university currently has around 6,000 undergraduate students, over 600 research postgraduates, 1,800 taught postgraduate students.


Maynooth University (NUIM)

Maynooth University is internationally recognised for the quality and value of our research and scholarship, and our dedication and commitment to teaching and our students. The University is located in the historic town of Maynooth, 25 km from Dublin, and its campus combines the peaceful and historic beauty of fine eighteenth century buildings with the very best of modern research and teaching facilities.


University College Dublin (UCD)

Founded in 1854 and located on an extensive parkland campus, UCD is Ireland’s largest university with over 30k students from over 120 countries. It consists of six colleges, their 38 associated schools and multiple research institutes and centres. The international standing of UCD has grown in recent years; it is currently ranked within the top 1% of higher education institutions world-wide. UCD is also Ireland's most globally engaged university with over 400 partner universities for student exchange and extensive global study opportunities taken up by 18% of undergraduates


Mature Students

Dublin’s flexible third level education system provides equal access for all who wish to further their education. Our institutions provide access to their programmes to mature students and some courses can be completed on a part time basis. If you are 23 or over you can apply to attend college as a mature student. However, places reserved for mature students are limited so most likely you will have to apply on a competition basis. A good starting point for anyone who wishes to return to learning this way is to contact the college directly to discuss the particular course and their requirements in relation to mature students.

Part Time Study

If full time study is not an option, many third level institutions provide part time courses in a variety of different subjects. Added to this more and more are providing opportunities to learn via online and distance modules. It is estimated that over 43,000 people in Ireland are undertaking some type of third level education on a part time basis.

Qualifications in Ireland

The National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) is a system of 10 levels which grades all levels of learning in Ireland. School qualifications awarded by the State Examinations Commission, further education and training qualifications awarded by FETAC and higher education and training qualifications awarded by HETAC, DIT, Institutes of Technology and Universities are all included in the Framework. All NFQ qualifications are recognised both home and abroad. Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) has responsibility to develop, promote and maintain the Irish NFQ.

Other Third Level institutions in Dublin:

National University of Ireland Recognised Colleges

Institute of Public Administration
National College of Art & Design
Royal College of Surgeons

Institutes of Technology

Dublin Institute of Technology
Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology
Institute of Technology, Blanchardstown
Institute of Technology, Tallaght

Colleges of Education

The Church of Ireland College of Education
Colaiste Mhuire, Marino Institute of Education

Other Institutions

National College of Ireland
All Hallows College
Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies
Royal Irish Academy of Music
Honorable Society of King’s Inn
Law Society of Ireland

Private Third Level Institutions

Dublin Business School
The Institute of Business & Technology (IBAT)
Griffith College
Hibernia College Dublin
ICD Business School
Independent College Dublin
Rathmines College of Further Education
Dorset College

Useful links:

Higher Education Authority
The Department of Education and Skills – Higher Education
Citizens Information – Third-level education

Higher Education Authority

The HEA has a statutory responsibility, at central government level, for the effective governance and regulation of higher education institutions and the higher education system. Objectives span the enhancement of teaching and learning, the promotion of equity of access to higher education, the enhancement of institutions’ responsiveness to the needs of wider society, research capacity-building, and the internationalisation of Irish higher education.


Union of Students in Ireland (USI)

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) is the national representative body for the 354,000 students in third level education on the Island of Ireland. We are a membership organisation – our members are our affiliated Students’ Unions around Ireland, North and South. USI is a democratic organisation. The supreme authority of the Union is the Congress, which is representative of each affiliated students’ union, apportioned according to the size of the student body in each union.


Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI)

SUSI (Student Universal Support Ireland) is Ireland’s single national awarding authority for all higher and further education grants. We began processing in 2012, replacing the sixty-six local awarding authorities who had previously processed student grant applications. SUSI offers funding to eligible students in approved full-time third-level education in Ireland and also, in some cases, funding for students studying outside the State. We offer support to all types of students, from school leavers to mature students returning to education.