Scholarships for PhD Students in Ireland
Written by Taru Medha
If you want to be a part of the legacy of world-class education at Irish universities, there are a number of funding options available to support both national and international students.
This guide lists, in detail, the fee structure of a PhD programme in Ireland and the funding options that are available to you as an international student
The cost of studying a PhD in Ireland varies between programmes and subject areas. It is always a good idea to double check the fee with your university before calculating the total cost of your PhD and how much funding you require.
A PhD in Ireland usually costs between €4,000-€9,000 a year for domestic students. International students usually pay a higher fee of at least €9,000 a year but some courses may be as high as €30,000. Subjects like Medicine and Business Studies can sometimes be more expensive than others.
Even though tuition fees for PhDs in Ireland are less than other parts of the world, it is always a good idea to look at the funding options available whether you are a domestic or international PhD student.
You can also have a look at our living in Ireland guide to find out more about the cost of living which will help you decide how much funding you’ll need overall.
PhD scholarships for international students in Ireland
Enterprise Partnership Programme
The Enterprise Partnership Programme joins research students in any discipline with an enterprise partner for their postgraduate degree. Students will be expected to research an area directly related to their organisation. By the end of the degree, students will have gained both research and workplace skills in a particular field. Partners could include charities, companies and public bodies on both a national and international scale.
Applicants must hold a Masters degree or a first-class or upper second-class Bachelors. You do not have to be a domestic student or resident of the EU to apply. Awardees will receive an annual stipend of €18,500 as well as a yearly fee contribution of up to €5,750 and a research expense fund of €3,250.
Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship Programme
The Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship Programme is funded by the Irish Department of Education and Skills and administered by the Irish Research Council.
It can be used to fund a research Masters or a PhD in any discipline at an Irish university.
The scholarship programme is open to domestic and international students from around the world. You’ll need to have a first-class or upper second-class Bachelors (or the international equivalent) degree in order to be eligible.
If you’re successful in applying for a scholarship, you’ll receive the following financial support:
- An annual stipend of €18,500
- A contribution to your tuition fees of up to €5,750 per year
- A contribution to your direct research expenses of €3,250 per year
Online applications open at the beginning of September, with a deadline at the start of November.
You’ll need to find a primary supervisor who will supervise your research project and provide the details of two academic referees.
You can read more about the scholarship programme on the Irish Research Council website.
Irish Research Council Employment-Based Postgraduate Programme
Administered by the Irish Research Council, this programme allows students to complete a research project – through a research Masters or a PhD – in collaboration with an Irish employment partner.
An employment partner could be a business, charity, non-profit organisation or a public body (you can see a list of previous awardees on the Irish Research Council website). You’ll split your time between this company and an Irish higher education institution.
Under the terms of the Employment-Based Postgraduate Programme, researchers will receive a full salary during their studies. Your employer will be expected to provide at least €9,000 per year towards your salary / travel expenses, while the scholarship will itself provide €27,500 per year, broken down into the following elements:
- €18,500 contribution to your salary
- €5,750 towards tuition fees
- €3,250 towards direct research expenses
You should apply through the Irish Research Council’s online application portal (the deadline is usually at the end of February). Before beginning your application, you’ll need to contact – and receive approval from – an academic supervisor and an employment mentor, as well as two referees.
Find out more about the Employment-Based Postgraduate Programme.
International scholarships from Irish universities
Another option for PhD funding is to check what opportunities are offered by the university you intend to apply for. Many universities have in-house incentives for researchers from different backgrounds or studying particular subjects. Opportunities could range from fee reductions and grant awards to full scholarships.
Other forms of funding and financial aid
Research organisations also offer funding opportunities for doctoral students. Usually these will either be short-term funding or subject-specific scholarships. Make sure to research organisations in your field of study in case they offer any scholarships, awards or grants.
The Health Research Board in Ireland offers funding awards to researchers at all stages in their career, including a Collaborative Doctoral Award in Patient-Focused Research. The award is designed to train those in health-related disciplines to be able to apply and transfer research knowledge into patient care. You can also browse all funding schemes run by the Health Research Board.
Environmental Protection Agency
The EPA conducts research into climate change, as well as facilitating a greener economy and protecting the natural environment. Joining with Fulbright, the EPA runs a PhD scholarship award that will financially support successful applicants throughout their degree.
Agriculture and Food Development Authority
Walsh Fellowships provide funding for students in the Agriculture and Food Development research area.
Technological Higher Education Association
The Ireland Homecoming Study Programme offered by the Technological Higher Education Association supports descendants of Irish nationals to pursue higher education at Institutes of Technology.
Foreign scholarship schemes
Ireland has many connections with foreign institutions to help encourage a diverse and more globalised educational environment. Some examples of foreign scholarships include:
Irish postgraduate student grants
Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) is the Irish student finance agency. In some cases, EU, EEA, UK or Swiss nationals (as well as those who have leave to remain in Ireland) can apply for financial support through SUSI.
If you’ve been living in Ireland for three out of the last five years, you could be eligible to apply for a contribution towards your tuition fees, as well as a maintenance grant (subject to qualifying as a ‘disadvantaged student’ who meets certain conditions).
If you’ve been living in the EU, EEA, UK or Switzerland (but outside Ireland) for three out of the last five years, you could be eligible for a contribution towards your tuition fees only (not a maintenance grant).
Depending on your personal circumstances, you could receive between €2,000 and €6,270 as a contribution towards your tuition fees.
The maintenance grant is worth €2,375 if you ordinarily live within 45km of your university, but €5,915 if you ordinarily live outside of this radius.
Applications for the following academic year open in April and can be made online via SUSI.
For more information on eligibility for Irish student finance, please visit SUSI or the Citizens Information Board.
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