Graduation cermony in Dublin

Degree in Ireland – Why is it so different from Brazil?

1. Introduction

Graduating in Ireland is a subject that generates a lot of curiosity and sometimes leads to some misunderstandings, especially when compared to what is offered in Latin America

Is it worth taking an academic course in Ireland? Is this the best way to go?

Here’s what you need to keep in mind before preparing for your college degree at an Irish university. There is much to be discussed and clarified. This text will clarify a lot so that you can make an informed decision about which course to choose and where to study

2. Terms in English

The term in English used in Ireland for an academic degree “undergraduate” or “undergrad” when used in a more informal way. The word “graduation” is a ceremony after finishing your course

See a photo of the Trinity College Dublin website

The terms used in English for education are specific to Ireland and may have completely different meanings in other English-speaking countries. It must also be considered that Irish English follows the norms of British English. You’ll find words like Honours, Programme and Centre. The American spelling of these words is different.

3. Basic education

Basic education is the entire school term that precedes college. It is important to note that pre-school courses (kindergarten, for example) do not fall within this classification, since they are not compulsory courses in Brazil or Ireland.

Brazilian education is divided into two cycles (primary and secondary education) as well as Irish (primary and secondary education). However, the period within each cycle is different. Primary education in Ireland lasts for eight years (six compulsory years) and the secondary five years (which can be extended to six years if the student decides to make the transitional year, a kind of professional experience after the so-called junior certificate, a national examination in the secondary education)

It is necessary to emphasize that Irish basic education is considered one of the best in the world in the OECD general ranking ahead of countries with the USA, Canada and UK behind the Scandinavian countries and Singapore.


Understanding basic education is the key to understanding college. In Brazil, basic education is divided by turns, and in rare educational institutions students study full time. In Ireland basic education is compulsory full-time, i.e. students spend more time in school and consequently have a higher workload than in our country.

4. Pathway to universities

All Irish high school graduates take an examination called “Leaving Certificate” to enrol at a university in Ireland. This exam is divided into 8 subjects which are elective, i.e. the student decides which subjects to study during the last three years of Irish secondary education (the choice is made within areas of knowledge such as sciences, languages, exact, human, etc. English language, Irish language, mathematics and foreign language are generally required).

The university decides which subjects and grades are required as entrance criteria in its courses. To enrol Irish and European students under the age of 24, they enter through a central registration system called the Central Application Office (CAO), where they submit the “leaving certificate”

5. Types of Undergraduate

As many already know Irish education is divided into 10 levels described by the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) ¬ Levels 1 to 5 correspond to Irish basic education and levels 6 to 10 are taught mostly by tertiary institutions. Levels 6, 7 and 8 correspond to Irish graduations.

In Ireland there are, in general, three types of graduation, namely:

  • Higher Diploma – Level 6
  • Ordinary Degree – Level 7
  • Honours Degree – Level 8

The equivalences to the Brazilian qualifications can be presented as follows

  • Higher Certificate – Undergraduate Technologist
  • Ordinary Degree – No equivalence
  • Honours Degree – Bachelor and Bachelor

To gain access to postgraduate courses in Ireland. The student must have a level equivalent to “Honours Degree”


6. Admission to international students

To be admitted to a university of the country as a Brazilian student, Brazilian basic education must be equivalent to the “Leaving Certificate” in Ireland. The equivalence table can be found at the link below.

However, this classification is subject to the interpretation of the faculty. Some institutions, particularly large universities such as Trinity College, University College Dublin or the University of Limerick, use UK documents such as NARIC UK to give admission to international candidates.

Many institutions will ask for the student to make an extra year because basic education Ireland has one year more than the Brazilian.


  • Basic education in Ireland is delivered full-time, i.e. there is a higher workload.
  • Undergraduate courses in Ireland are taught full-time, except for a few courses
  • Students who have a European passport and are under the age of 24 must apply through the Central Applications Office – CAO. However, the Brazilian qualification may not have equivalence through this system.

7. Conclusion

This was an overview of graduations in Ireland. Our purpose is to spread more and more Irish education in Latin American countries so that you can make an informed decision about undergraduate courses.

There are numerous opportunities for you to do a quality degree and open the door to the Irish and European professional market. Logos Global Education guides you to join the most prestigious universities in Ireland. Contact us and have a quality consultancy based on your profile.

My name is Paulo Santiago, Educational Consultant for Logos Global Education. I have been working with higher education in Ireland for over eight years. I would advise you on the best choice of your university program so that you can achieve your career goals. Our company has partnerships with many of Ireland’s leading colleges and universities and will be glad to help you with any questions. Follow us on our LinkedIn and Twitter @LogosEducation to find out more!


Undergraduate in Ireland Part 1

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Types of graduate studies in Ireland

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Video about the technologist in Ireland

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CAO – Central Applications Office


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Table of equivalences

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5 thoughts on “Degree in Ireland – Why is it so different from Brazil?”

  1. Hola, qué tal? Soy mexicano, me interesaría tener información acerca de alguna carrera en el ramo informático. Pienso irme a Irlanda, pensaba en un curso de 25 semanas de inglés, pero al leer para más adelante ese tiempo no es computable si se quiere pedir la residencia. Me comentaban que mejor estudiar una licenciatura y es el
    Motivo del mensaje. Gracias

    1. Hola Jose, como estás? Te envié un correo con más informaciones sobre nuestros servicios. Como mexicano no necesita visado previo y puede estudiar directamente un licenciatura en Irlando. Al terminar su curso tendrá un visado espcial llamado stamp 1G que te permite trabajar “full-time”por has dos años depois de su curso.

  2. Jaime Jordán Arriola Vielman

    Buenas tardes mi nombre es Jaime Arriola, soy de Guatemala, tengo la licenciatura de Ingeniero Agrónomo en mi paìs estoy interesado en Estudiar en Irlanda un curso o postgrado, actualmente estoy en drogheda estudiando ingles en ELI SCHOOL, agradeceria de su apoyo. Para conocer a detalle el proceso. Muchas gracias

  3. Pingback: How much does a university cost in Ireland - See how to calculate here

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