Education in
Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland is recognised as having one of the best education systems in Europe. Every year thousands of international students travel to study at one of our universities, boarding schools, vocational education colleges or English language schools. As well as a world-class education system, we’re also renowned for our high quality of life, low cost of living, clean environment, lively social scene and friendliness of our people.

Lonely Planet has recently named Belfast and the Causeway Coast as the world’s top regions to visit in 2018.


Why choose Northern Ireland

A great place to live
World-class education
An English-speaking location
Value for money
Great accommodation

Northern Ireland has a vibrant student scene and a warm welcome awaits international students with research showing that our people are the happiest in the UK. 

Say Hello To More Special Moments in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland’s education system is considered one of the best in Europe and consistently outperforms all other UK regions at GCSE and A-level qualifications (high school leaving equivalent).

Ulster University
Queens University

Northern Ireland is an integral part of the United Kingdom and located in Europe, ideally situated between mainland Europe and the US.

The giants causeway

A combination of attractive fees and low cost of living means that studying here is very affordable. 


To help you settle easily into university live, there’s a wide range of student accommodation available in secure locations that are a short walk from the universities’ main facilities.


Northern Ireland has been increasingly successful in recent years in attracting international companies, boasting world-class clusters in a variety of sectors.


Options for study

  • Queen’s University Belfast
  • Ulster University
  • University affiliated teacher training college
  • English Language Teaching
  • Boarding Schools
  • Vocational Education and Training

The UK's ninth oldest university, Queen's was founded as Queen’s College in 1845, and can trace its roots as far back as 1810.

With more than 170 years of heritage, Queen’s combines an international reputation for academic excellence with a life-changing student experience and a culture of innovation.

Queen’s University Belfast

Member of the prestigious Russell Group Joint 8th in UK for research intensity (REF2014) A world-class outdoor sports centre and the university has also invested £20m in a state-of-the-art physical education centre Strong links with industry - employability links to over 3,000 companies and 95% of Queen’s students are in employment or further study 6 months after graduating (HESA) Ranked 15th in the UK for student experience – The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2016 In the top 1% of universities in the world (QS World University Rankings 2015/16) One of the top students’ unions in the UK – National Student Survey 2013

Find out more about studying at Queen’s:

Contact Queen's

Ulster University is one university with 4 distinct campuses across Northern Ireland – Belfast, Coleraine, Jordanstown and Magee. Courses are also delivered at branch campuses in London and Birmingham.

The £250 million Belfast campus redevelopment represents a new chapter for the university, providing a state-of-the-art teaching and learning facility in the heart of Belfast city centre.

Ulster University

Over 92% of graduates are in work or further study six months after graduation A top UK university for providing courses with a period of work placement The teaching and the learning experience are rated at the highest level by the Quality Assurance Agency More than 2,000 international students from over 80 countries and alumni from 121 countries A leading modern university ranked in the top 150 global institutions - The Times Higher Education 150 Under 50 Ulster is a leading university for sport in Ireland and the UK, offering a wide variety of individual and team sports for fun or at a more competitive level. More than 4,000 students from over 50 countries have successfully completed eLearning courses at Ulster University. Investing significantly to provide the best learning experience. Its £250 million Belfast campus redevelopment will provide a state-of-the-art teaching and learning facility.

Find out more about studying at Ulster:

Contact Ulster University

Northern Ireland’s teacher training colleges offer courses at undergraduate and postgraduate levels for teacher education. In recent years, the colleges have expanded their undergraduate portfolio to offer a wider range of professionally related academic programmes. Both colleges have relationships with a wide range of partner institutions globally.

University affiliated teacher training college

St Mary’s University College

St Mary’s has a proud reputation in providing high-quality teacher education. The courses provided range from undergraduate through to master’s level.

St Mary’s mission is to prepare excellent teachers who in turn can lead and inspire children in a life of learning and who will pass on the beliefs, values, knowledge and skills necessary for leading a life of full participation in society.

Stranmillis University College

Stranmillis was established in 1922 'to provide teacher training for Northern Ireland'. Teacher education remains its core mission, however it has expanded its undergraduate portfolio to offer a wider range of professionally related academic programmes.

The university college works with an extensive range of partners in Europe, America, Africa, China and Malaysia.

Northern Ireland has seven British Council accredited providers of English language training. This encompasses private sector and further & higher education provision, including focused pre-sessional English language provision at both universities.

English Language Teaching

Belfast Metropolitan College

Every year Belfast Metropolitan College welcomes thousands of students from around the world who study a huge range of courses.

International House Belfast

International House Belfast is the leading English language and teacher training institute in Northern Ireland.

INTO, Queen’s University Belfast

INTO Queen's University Belfast courses are proven to help international students progress to undergraduate and graduate degrees in the UK.

North West Academy of English

At the North West Academy, students receive guidance on every aspect of their stay, from accommodation to English classes, from work placement to induction.

South Eastern Regional College

The College offers a broad range of internationally recognised qualifications e.g. University Degree, Foundation Degrees, Higher National Diplomas (HND), Level 3, English Courses, Professional Qualifications and Vocational courses.

Ulster University

Ulster University Centre for English Language Teaching (CELT) offers courses and consultations in English language and study skills to students of all subjects, levels and nationalities.

Foyle International

Foyle International is a language school based in the beautiful and historic city of Derry.

Northern Ireland boasts an education system that is considered to be one of the best in Europe and consistently outperforms all other UK regions at GCSE and A-level qualifications (high school leaving equivalent).

Northern Ireland offers an excellent choice of boarding schools, each with a rich history of academic achievement and personal progression. There is a choice of all boys, all girls or co-ed as well as a city or a rural setting. Northern Ireland’s boarding schools also have a commitment to delivering an extensive extra-curricular provision to help personal development in addition to a high quality of education.

For more information watch the video - Why choose a Boarding School in Northern Ireland?

Boarding Schools

77% of high school graduates (post A-level) go on to further and higher education Best performing education system for primary maths in Europe and sixth best in the world. Northern Ireland is consistently the top performing region of the UK at GCSE and A-level examinations (equivalent to high school diplomas)

For more information, visit Boarding NI:

Boarding NI

Northern Ireland has a network of 7 colleges delivering a range of vocational education and training, often in close cooperation with local businesses including foundation degrees and a new modern apprenticeship programme.

Vocational Education and Training

Belfast Met

Belfast Met is the largest further and higher education college in Northern Ireland and one of the largest in the UK.


CAFRE provides a range of training programmes aimed at farmers, farm family members and those who work in the food and land-based industries.

Northern Regional College

Northern Regional College has campuses around the north-east of Northern Ireland in Ballymena, Ballymoney, Coleraine, Larne, Magherafelt and Newtownabbey.

North West College

North West Regional College has enjoyed a fine reputation for its range of international partnership projects and programmes with colleges, universities, employers and charities, both to enhance its curriculum provision and learner experience.

Southern Regional College

Southern Regional College is committed to providing the best possible opportunities for students coming to Northern Ireland for the first time. For international students, there are huge benefits.

South West College

South West College encourages applications from international students, and seeks to provide an educational environment in which overseas applicants are treated in a friendly and welcoming manner.


South Eastern Regional College (SERC) is one of the largest public funded further and higher education colleges in the United Kingdom with over 1,200 staff and 30,000 enrolments.

Why study in
Northern Ireland

Watch some videos to find out more information on why you should choose to study in Northern Ireland. The videos are from Ulster University and Queen’s University, Belfast.


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Conal Doherty

Conal Doherty
Regional Manager - International Education