Foundation Year Courses at Universities in Ireland


Ireland Universities Who Offer International Foundation Courses

Last updated: 16 February 2024 Foundation Courses Irish University Courses

When applying to universities in Ireland, international students might find that their educational credentials are not at par with the admission requirements for their desired study programme or preferred university.  This doesn’t mean that they cannot get an admission offer from that institution. Several universities and colleges offer foundation courses to enable such students to study in Ireland. 

Foundation courses are designed for international students who wish to study undergraduate degrees at Irish universities but require a preparatory course to meet the undergraduate eligibility requirements. In general, students need to study a foundation course in Ireland if they have:

Foundation courses act as a bridge for international students to enter Irish universities and help them plug the gaps in eligibility requirements, if any. An International Foundation Year Programme is usually a one-year course in partnership with universities either on campus or away. A direct progression to the desired university undergraduate programme is possible upon completing the foundation year.

Learn more about foundation year programmes in Ireland for International students below and book a free consultation with our education consultants if you have any questions about studying in Ireland.

Study Foundation Course in Ireland

Foundation Course Structure

Although each university has a different curriculum structure for the foundation courses, many have common aspects that you must be aware of if you intend to find the right course for your transition to university study in Ireland. Most foundation courses vary in duration and typically range from six months to one year, depending on the university and the specific requirements of the study programme.

The curriculum is tailored to meet the needs of international students who wish to prepare for degree programmes and cover essential subjects such as mathematics, English language, science, and academic skills. Some courses may also offer specific modules related to the chosen field of study, providing students with a solid academic foundation in their desired area of specialization at the university level. 

Foundation Courses in Ireland

- Trinity College Dublin

Trinity College Dublin's one-year international foundation programme is designed to develop skills to excel in a competitive university. Trinity’s associate college, the Marino Institute of Education, delivers this programme. Accepted candidates to the Trinity Foundation Course are also given conditional offers for undergraduate programmes at Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin for the following year.

The foundation programme at TCD has two major pathways in which core modules are in English and Maths with electives in either Physics, Chemistry and Biology or Business, Economics, Sociology and Political Science, both of which progress to a Bachelor's degree at the university. 

- University of Galway

The University of Galway’s Foundation Programme is offered by Galway Business School (GBS), in collaboration with Galway Cultural Institute (GCI). During the foundation programme, students are offered English language classes with subject-specific business, science or engineering knowledge. A student has to pass this programme at the requisite level to get the conditional offer letter.

Major subjects taught during the programme are academic English, computer application, quantitative methods, introduction to marketing, and business communications. Students also gain a higher level of English language proficiency, which can also help them in the long run in their careers. 

- Dublin City University

The foundation programme at Dublin City University is a full-time course of one academic year, covering the English language course and several subject-specific modules. The programme is an ideal transition to a specialist DCU course by facilitating students with English language training and other support. It is perfect for students who have completed high school in a different country, and the entry requirements for each country may differ at the university.

After determining eligibility, you can choose one of the multiple subject routes, Science, Engineering, Business, or Humanities,, to pursue the foundation course at DCU. After completing this course, graduates will have gained the knowledge, skills and confidence to begin their undergraduate studies at DCU.

- University of Limerick

The International Foundation Programme is ideal for those international students who do not hold the required qualifications, including English language skills, to get admission to the University of Limerick. After the programme, students can demonstrate the necessary study skills to enter their chosen course. The Limerick foundation course is a two-semester course comprising core modules (English language subject) and stream-specific modules.

The academic entry requirements for the foundation course at UL are based on the stream you have to choose. For the Science and Engineering stream, you must have studied English, a laboratory subject and Mathematics, while for the Business stream, English, Mathematics and another language are required. 

- Maynooth University

Maynooth University offers foundation and preparatory courses intended for mature students to gain the required skills and knowledge to enter the university world. As an international student, if you want to strengthen your skills and knowledge to study at an Irish university, Maynooth’s courses will significantly help. The foundation courses provide opportunities for gaining study skills as well, such as note-taking, research and writing. Maynooth offers these three courses: 

- University College Dublin

The International Foundation Year Programme at University College Dublin is a three-term course combining English language skills training, academic preparation and general study skills to prepare for a bachelor’s degree-level study.

Course modules include four core subjects and six specific subject modules focussing on the academic areas most beneficial for the degree. Students can choose from two routes depending on the bachelor's degree they want to access:

- TU Dublin

A foundation year at TU Dublin is a one-year programme upon completion, of which students are guaranteed a place on the undergraduate programme of their choice at TUD. The teaching modules generally involve lectures, workshops, online learning, cultural trips, and several opportunities to practice English in a group setting. The program runs for two semesters in which students are taught communicative English, applied writing, Maths, and lessons on information technology. Students can choose two modules from the four major streams- Science, Engineering, Social Science and Business.

Entry Requirements

Each university would generally have its set of entry requirements to foundation courses, but some general rules apply to international students, which are applicable across the country. The major entry requirements are:

Study in Ireland

If you want to study a Foundation Course in Ireland, book a free consultation with SI-Ireland today.

Universities featured in this article:

  • Trinity College Dublin
  • University of Galway
  • Dublin City University
  • University of Limerick
  • Maynooth University
  • University College Dublin
  • TU Dublin
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