University Fast Facts



Compiled by the Higher Education Authority (HEA)

New Entrants 2017/2018

  • Full –Time Undergraduates – 25,149 – 6% increase in five years

All Enrolments 2017/2018

  • 127,775 in Universities

University Enrolments 2017/2018

  • Full-Time 107,114
  • Part-Time 16,649
  • Remote 4,012

Full-Time Enrolments by Discipline for Universities

Discipline Full Time Undergraduates Full Time Postgraduates
Education 4,027 5% 2,100 11%
Services 303 0% 70 0%
Generic Programmes & Qualifications 550 1% 10 0%
Arts & Humanities 20,559 23% 1,944 10%
Social Sciences, Journalism and Information 6,644 8% 2,354 12%
Business, Administration & Law 3,393 19% 3,665 19%
Natural Sciences, Mathematics & Statistics 12,057 14% 2,201 11%
Information & Communication Technologies (ICTS) 3,924 4% 1,236 6%
Engineering, Manufacturing & Construction 6,793 8% 1,945 10%
Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries & Veterinary 1,685 2% 203 1%
Health & Welfare 14,952 17% 3,437 18%

Research Enrolments 2017/2018 – Total 10,015

  • Almost 9 in 10 research students are studying in Universities
  • Full Time Masters Research (Postgraduate) 1,150
  • Full Time PhD (Postgraduate) 6,888 (up from 6,806 in 16/17)
  • Part Time Masters Research (Postgraduate) 352
  • Part Time PhD (Postgraduate) 1,625 (up from 1, 551 in 16/17)

 Research Enrolments by Discipline 2017/2018

Discipline Full Time Part Time
Education 240 4% 260 16%
Services 0 0% 0 0%
Arts & Humanities 865 13% 199 12%
Social Sciences, Journalism and Information 800 12% 226 14%
Business, Administration & Law 440 7% 211 13%
Natural Sciences, Mathematics & Statistics 1,549 23% 82 5%
Information & Communication Technologies 282 4% 69% 4%
Engineering, Manufacturing & Construction 1,061 16% 111 7%
Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries & Veterinary 200 3% 25 2%
Health & Welfare 1,300 19% 413 26%

Mature Students

Of the new entrants who were mature students in 2017/18

  • 8% were full-time
  • 83% were part-time

HEA Equal Access Survey 2017/2018 – Socio Economic Group of Respondents

  • 24,403 (76%) New Entrants in Universities responded to this voluntary survey
Socio Economic Groups 2016/2017 2017/2018
Employers & Managers 18.3% 17.6%
Higher Professional 11.2% 11.6%
Lower Professional 8.9% 9.3%
Non Manual 10.3% 10.7%
Manual Skilled 9.9% 10%
Semi –Skilled 5.5% 5.5%
Unskilled 4.6% 4.8%
Own Account Workers 6.6% 6.7%
Farmers 6.5% 6.1%
Agriculture Workers 0.4% 0.3%
All other gainfully occupied and unknown 18% 17.2%

 HEA Equal Access Survey 2017/2018 – Ethnic Group of Respondents

Irish 85.8%
Irish Traveller 0.2%
Any other white background 6.9%
African 1.7%
Any other black background 0.2%
Chinese 1.3%
Any other Asian background 2.2%
Other 1.7%

HEA Equal Access Survey 2017/2018 – (Uni & IoT) Respondents with a disability

  • 5.9% of respondents – Blindness, deafness, Severe Vision or Hearing Impairment
  • 6.7% of respondents – Physical Condition
  • 47% of respondents– Specific Learning Difficulty 
  • 34.1% of respondents– Psychological /Emotional Condition
  • 21.2% of respondents– Other, incl. Chronic Illness

Staffing 2017 (As of December)

Academic 4,713
Non-Academic 5,097
Research and Specialist Academic 3,683
Research and Specialist Non- Academic 2,231
Total 15,724

Gender Breakdown of Staff in Universities

Academic Non Academic
45% Female 64% Female
55% Male 36% Male


  • DCU was awarded university status in 1989.
  • Over 50,000 students have graduated from DCU and are now playing significant roles in enterprise and business globally.
  • In the 2016 ‘QS Top 50 Under 50’ DCU is ranked 44th in the world.
  • In 2017, a record almost 6,000 students placed a DCU course as their first choice on the CAO application.
  • In the last nine years, DCU has twice been named Sunday Times ‘University of the Year’.
  • DCU was the first university in Ireland to introduce work placements (Intra) as part of its degree programmes. Now, almost 70% of students take part in Intra work placement or study abroad.
  • DCU was the first university in Ireland to offer academic credits for extra-curricular activities by offering undergraduate students to participate in the DCU Uaneen module.
  • In 2017, DCU receive the Athena Swan Bronze Award for gender equality.
  • DCU has the highest rate of those who enter via access routes.
  • The DCU Alpha Innovation campus is home to over 30 companies and 330 staff.
  • Over 700 Primary & Secondary school teachers graduate from DCU Institute of Education every year.
  • 92% of DCU graduates are in employment or further study within 6 months of graduation.
  • DCU is home to Ireland’s largest arts centre. The Helix hosts a wide range of musical, theatrical and dance performances to suit every taste.


  • NUI Galway first opened its doors to 63 students on 30th October in 1849.
  • NUI Galway has over 17,000 students including, 18% of whom are international students.
  • In 2018 the university has been named ‘University of the Year’ in the Sunday Times University Guide, securing the prestigious accolade for a third time.
  • Ireland’s top university for graduate employability over 96% of NUIG graduates are employed or in further study within 6 months of graduating.
  • NUI Galway secured 1,924 internships for students with employers all over Ireland
  • Its student completion rate is 87%
  • More than 70% of our undergraduate degrees offer the possibility of work experience.
  • The University rose 6 places in the QS World University Ranking in 2017, entering the top 1% of universities worldwide.
  • Galway has been dubbed the ‘Most Charming City’ by the New York Times and has been designated the European Capital of Culture for 2020.
  • Galway has a reputation as a safe, young and student friendly city. Students make up 20% of the population and they bring youth, energy and excitement to the city.


  • Maynooth University is simultaneously Ireland’s youngest university and one of its oldest educational institutions. With the Universities Act of 1997, meant the university gained university status and became independent of St. Patricks College.
  • Situated 25km west of Dublin, it is located in Ireland’s only university town, Maynooth.
  • Maynooth University is rapidly expanding with more than 12,000 students, 12% of whom are international students.
  • Over 6% of the student body at Maynooth comprises students with disabilities which is one of the highest participation rates in the country.
  • Maynooth was ranked 49th in the Times Higher Education (THE) Young University Rankings ‘50 Under 50’, in 2017.
  • More than 3,250 students placed Maynooth University as their first preference on their CAO applications in 2016.
  • Over 28% of the full-time undergraduate student population is supported by the Maynooth Access Programme.
  • Maynooth University counts two Nobel Peace Prize winners among its 40,000 alumni and current academics.
  • Maynooth University has won an international reputation for the standing of its research expertise and has the best record for commercialising research of any Irish university.


  • Trinity College Dublin, was ranked at 120th in the world by THE rankings in 2018.
  • Founded in 1592, Trinity is situated in the heart of Dublin’s city centre, at the centre of the country’s transport hub, in a beautiful campus which contains a wonderful mix of modern and historic facilities (including the country’s largest research library).
  • In 2015, TCD receive the Athena Swan Bronze Award for gender equality.
  • With almost 18,000 students, TCD students represent 118 different nationalities and come from every county in Ireland (with over 50% from outside Dublin) and all socio-economic backgrounds.
  • Trinity is ranked top 50 in four subject areas namely Nursing, English, Classics and in Politics and International Studies. (QS World University Ranking, 2018)
  • Trinity has over 170 sports clubs and societies.
  • There are over 100,000 alumni across the globe. Alumni of note include Oscar Wilde, novelist Samuel Beckett, writer Jonathan Swift and former Presidents of Ireland Mary Robinson and Mary MacAleese.


  • UCC is one of Ireland’s oldest institutions of higher education, founded as a Queen’s College in 1845.
  • In 1910, Cork was the first Irish college to appoint a female professor, Mary Ryan, Professor of Romance Languages.
  • UCC has a student population of more than 21,000 students.
  • For 2018, UCC has over 3,000 international students from 100 countries around the world.
  • 93% of undergraduates go on to employment or further study.
  • UCC offers more than 120 degree and professional programmes.
  • UCC is internationally acclaimed as one of the top 2% of research institutions in the world.
  • Its research income over the past 5 years exceeded €401 million.
  • UCC has 59 Sports Clubs and 78 active student societies
  • UCC was the world’s first university to receive a Green Campus Award for its on-going Environmental efforts.


  • UCD was established in 1854 by John Henry Newman author of the classic work The Idea of a University.
  • UCD is Ireland’s largest university with over 33,724 students. UCD is a large employer with over 1,520 academic staff, over 1,700 support staff and has an annual turnover of €441 million.
  • 28% of staff are international.
  • UCD is Ireland’s leader in postgraduate education with 9,154 graduate students and 1,536 PhD students. 
  • UCD is home to 7,038 international students from 131 countries.
  • UCD has over 239,000 alumni across 165 countries.
  • THE rankings in 2018 saw UCD was ranked at 250th in the world.
  • One of Europe’s leading research-intensive universities UCD has won over €514m in externally funded research contracts in the last five years.
  • As well as generations of Irish business, professional, cultural and sporting leaders perhaps the best known of all UCD’s graduates is the writer James Joyce, who completed his Bachelor of Arts at the university in 1902.


  • The University of Limerick (UL) was established in 1972 as the National Institute for Higher Education, Limerick. It was classified as the University of Limerick in 1989.
  • The UL campus is located 5km from Limerick City and 20km from Shannon International Airport.
  • UL has over 15,000 students across undergraduate, postgraduate and PHD students.
  • In the 2018 academic year, UL welcomed almost 3,000 international students.
  • The University of Limerick was named ‘University of the Year 2015 in the Sunday Times Good University Guide.
  • UL offers a range of programmes up to doctoral and postdoctoral levels in a range of disciplines.
  • As part of their degree programme all students, regardless of discipline, undertake relevant work experience across UL’s network of 1700+ employers spanning twenty five countries.
  • UL is adjacent to the National Technology Park (NTP), Ireland’s first science/technology park which is home to over 80 organisations employing over 4,000 people.
  • In a 2015 QS Stars audit, UL was awarded a maximum 5-Star rating in innovation (patents, spin-off companies and industrial research).
  • UL is home to the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance and the Irish Chamber Orchestra.
  • UL has 88 different Clubs & Societies.