The Republic of Ireland is a beautiful, scenic country that occupies the southern part of the island of Ireland. It has a proud Celtic history and several modern and cosmopolitan urban areas, with over a quarter of its population situated in the four largest cities (Dublin, Cork, Limerick, and Galway). These cities also host the country’s six medical schools: University College Dublin (UCD); Trinity College Dublin; the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI); University College Cork (UCC); the National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG); and the University of Limerick.
Undergraduate medical applicants can apply to 5- and 6-year programmes, with the longer courses catering to students whose scientific knowledge is less than what is required for the shorter programmes. Graduate-specific courses that last four years are offered by Limerick, UCD, RCSI, and UCC.
All Irish medical schools offer a Bachelor in Medicine, Bachelor in Surgery and Bachelor in the Art of Obstetrics (MB BCh BAO Hons) diploma. All are accepted in all EU countries, as well as in many other regions around the world, and permit graduates to take the USMLE in the USA, the MCCEE in Canada.
All Irish medical schools offer undergraduate entry except Limerick, which caters specifically for graduate applicants. Applicants can choose from either 5-year programmes or 6-year programmes, as per the table below. The courses all take a fairly modern approach to medicine, with a solid grounding in biomedical and anatomical sciences being delivered through Problem-Based Learning, prior to pathological and clinical teaching commencing in the later years. All the universities offer fully immersed clinical placements in the later years, and students in Ireland can benefit from well-funded, state-of-the-art facilities.
All the Irish medical schools accept applications from graduates, with all schools except Trinity and Galway offering shortened, 4-year programmes for applicants with previous degrees. Here is a summary of all the Medical Programmes available in Ireland.
Academic requirements & admissions exams
All six Irish medical schools require applicants to sit an admissions exam. Undergraduate applicants must sit the HPAT Ireland, and graduate applicants have to sit either the GAMSAT or the MCAT. When selecting undergraduate students, the HPAT Ireland Score is combined with the academic score achieved at high school/college, to create a number of Entry Points, which are then used to rank applicants. Generally speaking, undergraduate applicants from the EU are not required to sit an interview, though in some cases mature students and students from North America are. Graduates are ranked on their GAMSAT or MCAT scores only, and are required to have achieved a 2:1 or higher if applying for a 4-year programme. USA and Canada applicants must present a competitive GPA, with course length and difficulty being taken into account when deciding whether a grade is high enough.
To assess the academic requirements of undergraduates, the medical schools use the Irish Leaving Certificate equivalent points when ranking EU applicants, and all require over 480 points (except University College Cork, which requires 555). A detailed conversion chart can be found on each university page, but 480 points are roughly equivalent to AABB at A2 and 36 points on the IB. Non-EU applicants are considered individually and the universities do not have specific minimum grade requirements for these applicants, though the competitive nature of the courses means a good score will be required from all applicants.
Medical student's opinions
Irish medical students point to the strong community feel and friendliness among staff and students as the best features of studying in Ireland. By ensuring all students have good relationships with their peers, the opportunity and time to socialise within their year group, and the knowledge that all their tutors are ready and willing to help them whenever they need it, Irish medical schools provide a great working environment, and student wellbeing is reportedly very high. Others say that the abundant Irish natural beauty and cultural heritage is the best part of their student experience. Of course, there are always some downsides to every medical school. Some students feel that the PBL-based approach to medicine fails to provide adequate levels of biomedical knowledge, others say that there are only limited facilities available for student use on campus, or that the relatively small city size is a drawback in terms of extra-curricular activities. Overall though, students report a high level of satisfaction with their medical schools, and all the medical students interviewed by our team recommend their medical school for prospective applicants. If you are interested in learning more about studying abroad view our guidebook "Get into Medical School Eastern Europe, Ireland & Italy".