Study in Northern Ireland

Breathtaking, mystical and adventurous are just three of the words international students have used to describe studying in Northern Ireland. Read on to find out why.

About Northern Ireland

Man and boy sitting on the red basalt columns of The Giant's Causeway, County Antrim, Northern Ireland.

The Giant's Causeway, Country Antrim, Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland occupies a unique place in the UK and Ireland. Geographically, it is on the island of Ireland, but politically and economically, it is part of the United Kingdom, giving international students a unique cultural experience.

Northern Ireland has spectacular scenery, with wild, rugged coastlines and unspoilt green countryside.

'I loved the gorgeous scenery, the complex history, the colourful lingo, the stunning rainbows and the rousing, heart-tugging music'.

Charissa, USA, Ulster University

While you are in Northern Ireland, you can visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site – the Giant’s Causeway in County Antrim; the idyllic Fermanagh Lakelands in Enniskillen; or the bewitching Mourne Mountains - the same mountains that inspired the Belfast-born writer CS Lewis to create his world-famous ‘Narnia’ stories.

If you are a fan of the TV series Game of Thrones, you can visit the real-world locations used in the series, plan a road trip yourself, or join an organised coach tour.

You can be sure of a warm welcome in Northern Ireland. The people are friendly and fun, and they like to ‘have the craic,’ which is local slang for having a good time.

'Northern Ireland is a wonderful place to live', says Charissa. 'I lived in Coppin House right along the Foyle River; I could see the sunrise over the water from my window every morning. I would frequently go on runs or walks along the river, across the stunning Peace Bridge, or through the many beautiful parks around the city, such as St. Colomb’s Park across the river or Brooke Park on the city side'.

'I also loved walking around the 400-year-old walls surrounding Derry’s old city and learning more about the area’s multifaceted history', says Charissa. 'No matter how many times I explored the city centre, I never got tired of seeing the Peace Bridge arching over the glimmering river or looking back to see the Guildhall against the sky.'

Receive a world-class education

Northern Ireland has a reputation for education excellence and is home to two global Universities – Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University. Every year, both universities welcome students from all over the world to study at their campuses.

Ulster University has four campuses across Northern Ireland and is a young, dynamic and innovative university that transforms lives, stretches minds, develops skills and raises ambitions.

Ulster University

Ulster University.

From affordable tuition fees and accommodation to high graduate employability—with 94 per cent of graduates in work or further study within six months of graduating—Ulster University offers international students an outstanding UK study experience that prepares them to become leaders in their future careers.

Ulster University was also shortlisted for University of the Year 2022 by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide.

Located in Belfast, Queen's University Belfast, founded in 1895, is part of the prestigious Russell Group of UK research-intensive universities; these universities combine excellence in research and education with a student-centred ethos.

Queen's University Belfast

Queen’s rich heritage, history and cutting-edge facilities mean that it has a global reputation for teaching and research excellence. It also has a thriving Students’ Union with over 215 clubs and societies, state-of-the-art sporting facilities and library services.

Queen's is dedicated to student employability and their strong links with industry mean that you can benefit from a global network that spans 120 countries.

Experience a world-famous cultural scene

In 2018, Lonely Planet ranked Northern Ireland the number one place in the world to visit, and it is easy to see why.

Northern Ireland has an award-winning food and drink scene. You can dine at Michelin Star restaurants in Belfast, sample delicious seafood in Holywood, or try some old favourites such as Ulster Fry, Tobacco Onions or Grandad Joe’s famous Cream Horn (fans of the Northern Ireland-based comedy television series, Derry Girls, will be familiar with this retro cake).

The capital city of Belfast is bursting with creativity and is only the third UK city to have been awarded the title of UNESCO City of Music. It’s also the birthplace of the most famous ship in the world – the Royal Mail Ship (RMS) Titanic. In Belfast’s Titanic Quarter, one of Europe's largest urban waterfront regeneration projects, you can stand in the spot where the Titanic was launched in 1911, explore Her Majesty’s Ship (HMS) Caroline and take afternoon tea at the Titanic Hotel Belfast.

Northern Ireland is also great for shopping. You can shop for luxury brands, independent designers and environmentally friendly fashion in Belfast or hunt out something unique in Derry-Londonderry’s Dickensian Craft Village.

An affordable cost of living

Northern Ireland has the lowest student cost of living in the UK, with an average monthly living cost (without rent) in Belfast of £682 per person.

For accommodation, you can expect to pay around £400 per month for a room in a shared house (excluding bills), and even less should you live outside of the city centre. A three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant will cost about £20 per person, with takeaway meals and other options costing a fraction of that price.

Travel is easy and affordable. You can easily visit Ireland, the UK, and Europe. There are regular flights, trains, and sea ferry crossings so that you can explore exciting destinations such as London, Dublin, Paris, Berlin, and beyond.

Funding your studies

A range of scholarships are offered at Northern Irish universities, including Study UK’s GREAT Scholarships, which are delivered in partnership with Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University.

The best possible you

Studying in Northern Ireland is a fantastic choice for any international student.

It has a long history of academic excellence and offers a great student experience and an affordable way of life. It is truly a place for you to become the best possible version of yourself.

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See also

A guide to Northern Ireland for students

From world-class universities and untouched nature to cultural cities and fascinating history, find out what Northern Ireland has to offer.

6 reasons why Belfast is a fantastic place to study

Why is the capital of Northern Ireland so popular among students?

Home from home: The lifelong connection you will feel with your study abroad destination

Charissa Roberson shares why she thinks you should choose Northern Ireland as your study destination.

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