Karen Buckley one of 2,000 Irish studying in UK each year

Scotland a popular destination as no tuition fees charged to Irish students

University of Limerick graduate Karen Buckley (24) is one of about 2,000 Irish students who choose to move to the UK each year to further their education.

Almost a quarter of those who secured places in 2013 through Ucas, the UK application system, did so in nursing. A further 20 per cent secured places in related medical disciplines such as pathology, pharmacology and toxicology.

Scotland is one of the most popular destinations as no tuition fees are charged to Irish students because of their EU status.

Edinburgh Napier University, Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen and the University of Sterling feature in the top ten destinations for Irish students moving to the UK.


Glasgow Caledonian University, where Ms Buckley took up a course in occupational therapy three months ago, has a strong international flavour with over 17,000 students from 100 countries.

In 2013, Ucas recorded 6,056 applicants from the Republic and 2,119 (35 per cent) secured places at UK institutions. Of these, two thirds were female students.

The number of students from the Republic accepting places in English universities has dropped by about 1,000 since the introduction in 2010 of annual tuition fees of up to £9,000 (€12,500).

Joe Humphreys

Joe Humphreys

Joe Humphreys is an Assistant News Editor at The Irish Times and writer of the Unthinkable philosophy column