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Studying in Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland the higher education sector consists of three well respected universities:

and two University Colleges:

Northern Ireland also has six Further Education Colleges:

NI Direct has useful information on:

Choosing a course

NI Direct website helps to decipher the range of qualifications available. It explains the full range, from entry level, through to GCSEs and National to Diplomas, to Vocational qualifications and Higher Education qualifications – see Qualifications: What the different levels mean

Careers Service NI – Careers Advisers, based in JobCentres / Jobs and Benefits offices and Careers Offices throughout Northern Ireland, can give you advice and guidance on employment and education opportunities. See the NI Direct Careers Service NI portal.

UCAS  (University and Colleges Admissions Service) is the central applications body for full-time undergraduate courses at Northern Ireland universities and colleges and is the equivalent of the CAO in the Republic of Ireland.  You can apply online through the UCAS website or through your school or as an individual. The website provides a list of all universities and colleges –


Student Finance NI delivers financial support to students who normally live in Northern Ireland. It is a service delivery partnership between the Department for Employment and Learning in Northern Ireland, the Student Loans Company and all five Education and Library Boards in Northern Ireland –

Further finance information is also available on the NI Direct website – Student finance

Cross-border issues

The Citizens Information website contains useful information for individuals living in the South but who are thinking of doing a third level course in the North – Studying in the UK including Northern Ireland

UCAS website can help you to compare Leaving Certificate and GCSE A level grades in their guide to the Irish Leaving Certificate.


  • The All Ireland Scholarship Scheme, which is funded by JP McManus, provides significant financial support to high achieving students from challenging economic backgrounds
  • North South scholarships: Universities Ireland offers bursaries to students undertaking a recognised Master’s course (taught or research) in the other Irish jurisdiction –
    NOTE: these are awarded annually, so check the website to see when the applications for the scheme opens.

See also:

Page last checked: September 2017

This webpage is for general information purposes only and while we endeavour to keep it up-to-date, errors may occur.  It is very important that you check with the relevant body to ensure the information is current and is applicable to your situation.

If you would like to suggest amendments or highlight new information that could be useful to others please don’t hesitate to get in touch.