Medicine Outside the UK: Applying to Ireland

Last updated: 09/05/2023

As part of the Medicine Outside the UK series, this article will focus on assisting students keen on furthering their journey in medicine by applying to medical school in the Republic of Ireland.

There are 6 medical schools in the Republic of Ireland offering both undergraduate and postgraduate entry options. Unlike other regions, requirements for admission are quite specific to each medical school especially when it comes to assessing international applicants. 

The main takeaway from this article would be that EU students* will be required to take the HPAT entrance exam and apply through the CAO portal system. In regards to other application requirements, along with the following information, we’d advise you to contact the universities directly to ensure you have the necessary qualifications to make an eligible application. 

*At the moment, CAO has confirmed that when applying, UK students are treated the same as EU students. Additionally, students with UK nationality will continue to be eligible under the nationality criteria of the free fees scheme and are eligible for EU fees (once all other criteria are also met

If you haven't already, make sure to explore different routes into medical schools in the UK before applying abroad.

Pathway Options 

  • 5-6 year Undergraduate degree (MB BCh BAO Hons) 
  • 4 year Graduate Entry degree (MChD, MD)

Entrance Exams 

  • Health Professionals Admissions Test (HPAT) 
  • Graduate Medical Schools Admissions Test (GAMSAT) or Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) 


Interviews are not a required point of assessment for entry into Irish Medical Schools if you are an applicant from the EU/EEA and applying through CAO. International students are assessed individually and because of this, may be required to to have one. 

Academic Requirements

Academic requirements for Irish Medical Schools are measured using the Central Applications Office (CAO) points system. Different point requirements are set by each medical school and can be found detailed in the table below, accurate as of 2020.

Non-EU students are evaluated individually by universities and do not follow the same set requirements but it can be assumed that high grades will be expected of successful applicants. 

English Language Requirements

Generally, a minimum IELTS score of 7.0 is sufficient proof of proficiency required for entry to the course but this varies and we advise you check with the specific medical school you are applying to.  Other recognised qualifications include, but are not limited to: the PTE, Cambridge PreU and English A-Level/IB but specific requirements vary according to university.

How to Apply

Residents of EU/EEA countries are able to make their applications through CAO while international students are able to apply directly through their chosen university portals. In some cases, international students may be able to make their applications using private agents which will have different sets of requirements to be fulfilled and it would be best to contact them directly to best understand what’s required of you.


CAO applications generally open in November the year before the intake and close in February with some exceptions. Direct application deadlines differ between universities so we advise you check to ensure your application is sent in on time. 


EU Fees are set at around €8000-€9000 per year and international student fees are more expensive resting at around €47,000-€55,000 per year (accurate as of 2020). To determine if you are eligible for EU fees, you need to get your status assessed by individual universities but the following flowchart from the UCD Registry should be of some help:

EU/Non-EU Fee for Medicine Applicants

Recognised by the GMC?

As of 2020, all medical school programmes offered in the Republic of Ireland are recognised by the GMC. Upon graduation, you are eligible to apply for registration with the GMC, which will allow you to work in the NHS (although finding a job is not guaranteed upon registration). 

Can I stay on in Ireland upon graduation?

At the moment, the responsibility of allocation of intern positions available following graduation falls on the Health Service Executive (HSE), which has made it explicitly clear that those who don’t require a work visa will be prioritised over those who do. 

Options Available

A summary of the undergraduate programmes on offer can be seen in the list below and are accurate as of 2020 but are subject to change and we advise you contact the universities directly for any queries you may have. 

Trinity College Dublin

  • CAO point requirement: 480
  • CAO + HPAT Point requirement (ave): 730
  • Entrance exam: HPAT

University College Dublin

  • CAO point requirement: 480
  • CAO + HPAT Point requirement (ave): 734-736
  • Entrance exam: HPAT

University College Cork

  • CAO point requirement: 480
  • CAO + HPAT Point requirement (ave): 729
  • Entrance exam: HPAT

The National University of Ireland Galway

  • CAO point requirement: 480
  • CAO + HPAT Point requirement (ave): 722
  • Entrance exam: HPAT

The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland

  • CAO point requirement: 480
  • CAO + HPAT Point requirement (ave): 729
  • Entrance exam: HPAT

Tables detailing point conversions for both A-Levels and IB qualifications for comparison to CAO points can be seen below (source: UCC Admissions Office): 

CAO conversion table (A level)
CAO conversion table (A level)
CAO conversion table (IB)
CAO conversion table (IB)

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