Third Level Education

Third-level education is made up of a number of sectors. The university sector, the technological sector and the colleges of education are substantially funded by the State. In addition there are a number of independent private colleges.

Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT)

Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT) offer a wide range of fulltime, part time and evening third-level courses. These courses are offered in the Business School, the School of Engineering, the School of Science and the Department of Lifelong Learning. For details see

There are seven universities in the republic of Ireland, which are autonomous and self-governing. They offer degree programmes at bachelor, masters and doctorate level.

The technological sector includes institutes of technology which provide programmes of education and training in areas such as business, science, engineering, linguistics and music to certificate, diploma and degree levels. The Department of Education and Skills has overall responsibility for the sector.

The colleges of education specialise in training for first-level teachers. They offer a three-year bachelor of education degree and a postgraduate diploma.

The training of second-level teachers usually involves completing a primary degree in university or other third-level institution followed by a one-year higher diploma in education. In addition, there are colleges of education that specialise in the training of second-level home economics teachers, teachers of religion and physical education.

Asylum-seeking children who have been in Irish secondary education for five years may be eligible for admission to third-level education on the same basis as Irish-born children. Other asylum seekers are not prohibited from attending third-level courses but they may be asked to pay full foreign fees for the course.