Going to college? Head to the open days in universities around the country

When are they on and what’s on offer? Key facts about 2021-2022 open days

The following is a taste of some open days to look out for in Ireland’s universities:

Technological University Dublin/TU Dublin

When is open day? TU Dublin's undergraduate events will take place in-person on the new campus in Grangegorman, while students who can't make the trip can check out some sessions online on tudublin.ie.

– Saturday, November 6th, 2021, 10am-4pm, in-person, Grangegorman

– Thursday, January 13th, 2022


– Wednesday, April 27th, 2022

Registration details: tudublin.ie/open/.

What makes TU Dublin unique? TU Dublin has five major locations across the city at Grangegorman, Aungier Street, Tallaght, Bolton Street and Blanchardstown. It has over 2,800 international students from 105 countries, and 5 per cent of its student population are access students.

A key goal for the TU Dublin is to ensure students are responsible global citizens when they finish their studies. Therefore a core learning outcome in all programmes is sustainability, and every learner will engage in practice-based research where they get to make a real difference in their community.

What's new? TU Dublin's new campus at Grangegorman, the largest investment in higher education in Ireland in over a century, has brought together many of the university's activities in one vibrant, cutting-edge campus.

The Central Quad is the largest building on the new campus. It is now the new home for all nine schools in the disciplines of biological sciences; chemical and pharmaceutical science; computer science; food science and environmental health; mathematical sciences; physics, and clinical and optometric sciences (including the National Optometry Centre); culinary arts and food technology; hospitality management and tourism, and electrical and electronic engineering.

TU Dublin has introduced new courses including in sustainable transport management and sustainable timber technology in 2021.

Does the university offer accommodation? Technological University Dublin does not own accommodation, and also books approximately 600 places in student hubs each year.

What not to miss: It has to be a tour of the new campus in Grangegorman. Two new buildings opened this year: the East and Central Quads. Highlights include a 400-seater concert hall, a black box theatre, state-of-the-art labs, workshops, and studios, the student centre in the beautifully restored Lower House and mesmerising artwork by Alexandra Carr in the Central Quad.

University of Limerick

When is open day? Friday November 12th, Saturday November 13th.

Registration details: studyatul.ie.

What makes UL unique? UL is located on a stunning, almost 400 acre campus, with unrivalled sporting facilities including a 50m Olympic-sized swimming pool, an all-new, state of the art climbing wall, a 22-acre sports facility with floodlit GAA pitches and even an altitude training centre.

UL pioneered the concept of co-operative education in Ireland, placing more than 2,000 students in paid and semi-paid work placements annually – 30 per cent of these are international placements. These valuable work experiences make UL graduates highly employable, with the college’s graduate employment rate 15 per cent higher than the national average.

What's new? A vast new student centre is currently under construction. UL this year launched a new integrated undergraduate and masters degree in partnership with over a dozen leading tech companies from Ireland and around the world, including Analog Devices, Stripe, Zalando, Intercom, Shopify, Manna Aero, and many more.

UL was the first university in Ireland to appoint a woman president when Prof Kerstin Mey took over as interim president in September 2020. She has just been appointed by the UL governing authority as president for a 10-year term.

Accommodation: There are a total of 2,850 beds on offer in the student residences on the UL campus, a significant percentage is reserved for incoming first years. There is also an off-campus section on the UL accommodation website where local homeowners and landlords unconnected to UL can advertise vacant rooms.

What not to miss: Prospective students should check out the newest programmes on offer for the next academic year: Bachelor/MSc in immersive software engineering, Bachelor/MSc in artificial intelligence and machine learning and BSc biomedical science.

Maynooth University

When is open day? Friday, November 26th and Saturday, November 27th.

Registration details: mu.ie/opendays

What makes Maynooth University unique? Maynooth University is a place of lively contrasts – a modern institution, dynamic, rapidly-growing, research-led and engaged, yet grounded in historic academic strengths and scholarly traditions. Students often describe the friendly, welcoming character of the MU campus – a unique atmosphere that visitors also enjoy during open days. The education curriculum provides a significant degree of flexibility in terms of student choice in subjects at the beginning of first year – students have up to to four weeks to choose their preferred degree subjects.

What's new? New degree programmes for 2022 in business and languages, BSc in economics with an integrated MSc in economics, as well as new degree streams in business and global cultures. There is also a new BA early childhood teaching and learning degree. Work has commenced on a new student centre to provide additional student club and society facilities.

Accommodation: There are over 1,200 apartments on campus, with 50 per cent reserved annually for first-year students.

What not to miss: There will be a range of presentations, including those on clubs and societies, information on student supports and services, and time to talk with current students who are undertaking courses that prospective students are interested in.

NUI Galway

When is open day? NUI Galway's virtual undergraduate open day took place on October 2nd. It featured a virtual exhibition with 91 stalls and over 75 live talks. Many of the talks are available to watch back and accessible online. There will be four further CAO virtual information evenings this autumn aimed at Leaving Cert students and parents, which will be held on:

– Business and law, November 11th

– Science and engineering, November 18th

– Arts, November 25th

– Medicine, nursing and health sciences, December 2nd

Registration details: Nuigalway.ie/caoevents.

What makes NUI Galway unique? NUI Galway is one of the oldest and largest universities in Ireland. Beginning with just 68 students when founded in 1845, the campus community now numbers over 21,000 students and is counted in the top 300 universities in the world according to the QS University Rankings. It offers over 70 undergraduate degree programmes, providing great choice for CAO applicants.

There are a number of flagship undenominated degrees (in arts, business, science and engineering) which allow students to study the subject very broadly in the first year and then specialise and choose more focused pathways in the following years. These are very popular degrees at NUI Galway as students enjoy the flexibility and opportunity to study a variety of modules early in the degree to get a feel for them and then make decisions about specialisation and specific careers later in their college studies. GY101, the joint honours arts degree is the university’s most popular degree with over 365 different subject combinations.

What's new? The flagship joint honours arts degree has two new subjects for entry in 2022. Performance and Screen Studies draws together two academic disciplines, performance studies and screen studies, to create a unique subject that involves the lecture-based study of drama, film, television, social media, sporting events, gaming, streaming platforms, political activism and more.

The second new subject, international development, is an interdisciplinary subject combining themes of rights and equality, sustainable development, business development, policy and international development practice. The subject includes a work placement and will appeal to students who want to impact the lives of those living in developing countries. A further new subject/stream; climate physics will be available from 2022 to students of science and BSc (physics), and will focus on understanding the physics of climate change from a rigorous science perspective.

Accommodation: NUI Galway's student residences comprises two villages, Corrib Village and Goldcrest Village. Located on campus, they provide a home away from home for nearly 1,200 students during the academic year. Bookings for 2022/2023 will open in early spring 2022.

What not to miss: NUI Galway offers campus tours every Saturday. An NUI Galway student ambassador takes visitors on a walking tour of the beautiful riverside campus, stopping at all the flagship buildings and locations of student services.


When is open day?

The TCD open day will take place virtually on Saturday, November 6th, 2021, 10am-4pm.

Registration details: tcd.ie/openday/

What makes Trinity College unique? Trinity's historic campus is situated right in the heart of Dublin city.

Trinity is Ireland's highest ranked university, ranked 101st in the world, with a 429-year history, and is led by its first female provost, Dr Linda Doyle. It has state-of-the-art research facilities, including the library, the Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute, the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute and much more. Its outlook is international; with staff and students from more than 120 countries.

Trinity offers research-led teaching by the best in their fields. Its long list of notable alumni runs from Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett to former presidents Mary Robinson and Mary McAleese to screen director Lenny Abrahamson and comedian Aisling Bea.

It has its own on-campus sports facilities including a high-performance gym, climbing wall and swimming pool. There are 127 student societies serving interests that run from alternative music through comedy, film, business, politics and yoga, among others.

What's new? In February 2021, Trinity kicked off a landmark two-year investigation into its own colonial past, led by the history department.

A new 18-month international master’s in global challenges for sustainability accredited jointly by five leading universities of the CHARM-EU Alliance launched in September 2021. Suitable for students from all undergraduate disciplinary backgrounds, it offers opportunities to study at multiple campuses.

Prof Yvonne Buckley has been named Trinity's first vice-president for biodiversity and climate action. Trinity has sought to highlight biodiversity loss, by replacing its formal gardens at Front Gate with a different kind of garden featuring native plant species.

Accommodation: First-year students can apply to live at Trinity Hall in Dartry, Dublin 6 which has 358 student rooms. There are rooms on campus for other student cohorts. Trinity expects to open a new student accommodation centre in early 2022 called Printing House Square, located on Pearse Street.

What not to miss: Prospective students should tune in to the provost Linda Doyle's welcome address, "Why Choose Trinity? Panel Discussion" and make sure to take one of the virtual campus tours, as well as interacting directly with professors, student services teams and current students.


When is open day?

Friday, November 19th: 1pm-6pm (virtual)

Saturday, November 20th: 10am-4pm (in-person, both DCU Glasnevin and DCU St Patrick's campuses)

Registration details: dcu.ie/NovOpenDay

What makes DCU unique? DCU was named the Sunday Times University of the Year for 2021, and is ranked number one in Ireland for its graduate employment rate (2021 QS Graduate Employability Rankings).

Eighty per cent of DCU courses include relevant paid work experience, while 60 per cent of students receive a job offer from their INTRA work placement.

DCU is a diverse campus, with international students making up 18 per cent of the student population, from 122 different countries. Also, 20 per cent of students come from non-traditional backgrounds.

Clubs and societies are the heart and soul of DCU, with over 140 for students to choose from, catering to every interest.

What's new? All courses at DCU focus on getting students career-ready, and equipping them with the skills to take on an ever-changing world. In 2021, DCU launched six new courses and four new specialisms to take this approach even further. They're built on a radically re-imagined curriculum that draws on the university's deep industry partnerships. These new courses will give students the chance to learn in innovative ways, including challenge-based, immersive learning experiences, industry-led hackathons, significant final-year projects and leadership skills development. Whether a student wants to tackle climate change, invent new vaccines, become fluent in artificial intelligence or combat inequality, they will find a course at DCU to give them the knowledge and skills they'll need.

Accommodation: DCU has purpose-built residences over three campuses, providing more than 1,400 rooms for students. Applications for entry 2022 will open in February 2022 and will operate on a random allocation.

What not to miss: Open day activities will help prospective students explore what DCU has to offer. They will find out more about the various degree offerings and learn about the excitement of life on both the DCU Glasnevin and DCU St Patrick's campuses. During the virtual open day, students can watch short subject presentations from student ambassadors, with the opportunity to ask questions and gain the student perspective.

There is also an online parent/guardian information session, which aims to guide parents on how they should approach their child’s path to third level. Topics include the costs involved in attending college, supports available to students, what parents/guardians should look out for and how to tackle any issues that may arise.

The in-person open day will include course information sessions, internship and work placement information sessions, sessions on student support, and campus tours.


When is open day? UCC's open day was held on October 9th but as it was held virtually anyone can still experience it by logging in and browsing the online platform. The platform is simple to navigate, and contains an incredible amount of useful information – from videos, to chat opportunities with staff and students, documents and brochures, and even sample lectures. It will be accessible between now and the end of June 2022, and this will allow all prospective students familiarise themselves with the courses on offer and choose the one that is right for them, all the way up to the CAO change-of-mind deadline on July 1st, 2022.

Registration details: ucc.ie/openday.

What makes UCC unique? UCC was voted number one in Ireland for Best Student Experience, Best Campus, Best Green Campus, and Overall Excellence in Education at the Education Awards. The university is a vibrant and diverse community of over 22,000 students from over 100 countries. UCC has the best student retention rate in Ireland – 94 per cent of first-year students continue into second year. Almost 80 per cent of academic staff hold doctorate qualifications. Students participate in holistic, research-based, collaborative inquiry-based education, and are supported at every stage along the way.

What's new? UCC's Nurturing Bright Future Programmes are aimed at secondary-school audiences, QQI and mature students.

The Bystander Intervention Programme which began as a UCC initiative, now has a national footprint. The Old Bar has been converted into an autism-friendly calm zone.

There is an LGBTI quarter on campus, with a rainbow walkway, an initiative that is now being mirrored across Europe, as part of the UNIC university alliance.

Accommodation: There are five student apartment complexes which are managed by UCC, and all are located within a short walk of the campus. These include Victoria Lodge, Victoria Mills, Castlewhite Apartments, University Hall (including Áras Uí Thuama) and Mardyke Hall

What not to miss: Throughout November the university will be running campus tours for prospective students and their families. Live CAO Q&A sessions will be held on the virtual platform on Wednesday, January 19th, 2022 and again on Wednesday, May 4th, 2022. The Postgraduate Expo for master's degrees and PhD applicants will be held on November 30th, 2021.


When is open day? UCD undergraduate open day will take place virtually on Saturday, November 13th, 10am-4pm.

Registration details: ucd.ie/openday

What makes UCD unique? UCD is located just 5km south of Dublin city centre. The university is set in a modern parkland campus with world-class teaching and student facilities, a state-of-the art student centre and over 8km of woodland walkways. In total, there are over 33,000 students. UCD has almost 60 official sports clubs, excellent facilities and a huge range of fitness classes on offer. There are also almost 90 active student societies, from jazz to broadcast, Harry Potter to dramsoc, horticulture to traditional music. The main Belfield campus offers students a wide range of services including a 3D cinema, debating chamber, TV studio, radio pod, medical and counselling centre, pharmacy, restaurants, cafes, shops, a campus bookshop, a bike shop and a barber shop.

It is ranked as the number one university in Ireland for graduate employability in the QS World University Rankings – Graduate Employability Rankings.

Recent developments: This year UCD has added two new degree programmes: a BSc sustainability with business & economics, and creative & cultural industries. In the QS World University Rankings By Subject 2021, UCD was named among the best universities globally in the study of 38 subjects. Four subjects rank in the top 50: veterinary science (23rd), sports-related subjects (34th), library & information management (45th) and petroleum engineering at 50th.

Accommodation: UCD this year increased the number of residences at Belfield by over 900, so that now 4,000 students live on campus, with priority given to first years.

What not to miss: There will be a full schedule of programme and subject-specific talks in eight virtual venues on the day. Learn more about the courses you are interested in, talk to academics and ask questions at the live Q&A sessions. Chat to academic and support staff, hear from current students and take a virtual tour of the main Belfield campus guided by student ambassadors. There will also be opportunities to find out about the world of UCD including the societies and sports at their virtual stands in the exhibition hall.