Category Archives: Introduction

Our favourite YouTube videos featuring Galway (part 4)

First up, our friends from Gaelic Girls travelled to Galway to get the lowdown on what makes Galway so special… straight from the horse’s mouth 🙂

A walk through town reveals the artists and songs the people of Galway are listening to.

A bit corporate sounding… but some great shots of Galway nonetheless.

And from Vimeo, An Irish Castle Love Story tells the fascinating and tragic history of Kylemore Abbey in Galway

And finally, some great shots of Galway and the surrounding countryside in this video from Richard Bangs. Come see and experience for yourself!

If you’ve enjoyed these videos, be sure to check out our other posts of videos featuring Galway (part 1), (part 2) and (part 3)



Filed under About Ireland, Introduction

FAQ: Study Abroad at NUI Galway

Each year, we welcome over 600 visiting students from countries all around the world, who come to study abroad at NUI Galway. The following are the questions were most often asked by prospective study abroad students.

Quadrangle Lawn, NUI Galway

Quadrangle Lawn, NUI Galway

1. When can I study abroad at NUI Galway as a visiting student?

There are two main options for when to study abroad at NUI Galway. You can either come for a full academic year or one semester.

NUI Galway is semesterised. Semester One (Fall) runs from September through to December and Semester Two (Spring) runs from January through to May.

Each semester comprises 12 weeks of classes, followed by examinations. Semester Two also includes an Easter break, hence the extra length.

Shorter Summer programmes are also available.

2. What classes can I take at NUI Galway?

The classes made available to visiting students are the normal classes of the University, which means you’ll study alongside our full time degree seeking students.

We offer a broad range of classes across the Arts, Humanities and Social Science, Business, Law, Science and Engineering, so you should have little difficulty finding classes that meet your own academic requirements.

Please note however, that some classes, particularly in Science and Engineering are subject to certain pre-requisites, so you will need to be pre-approved for such classes before you arrive.

The classes available to visiting students are published in the Visiting Student Academic Handbook prior to the commencement of each semester.

3. When do I select my classes?

Visiting Students are given a two week period at the beginning of each semester to sample the different classes on offer and you are encouraged to use this time to try out certain classes before making your final selection.

4. How many classes can I take?

The usual course load for a student at NUI Galway is 30 ECTS credits per semester. Most classes are 5 ECTS credits, so you can expect to take up to 6 classes per semester, depending on the requirements of your home college.

Unlike US credit hours, ECTS credits indicate the entire workload associated with a class and not just the contact hours. 1 ECTS credit equals approximately 25-30 of contact hours and additional time for study and assignments hours. As a general guide, a 5 ECTS class equal approximately 2.5-3.0 US credits.

5. How are programmes delivered?

Classes are delivered through a combination of lectures, tutorials and laboratory classes (where relevant).

Lectures are normally held in large auditoriums or lecture halls and consist mainly of a one-way presentation by a Professor or Lecturer. Lectures outline the subject matter and lay the foundations on which you are expected to explore further through your independent reading and study.

Lectures are usually supplemented by tutorials or seminar classes, which provide an opportunity for discussion in a smaller group setting. Unlike large lectures, tutorials and seminars provide more opportunities for discussion and interaction amongst students.

In addition, students in disciplines such as Science, Technology and Engineering are required to attend laboratory classes include practical demonstrations.

The academic culture at NUI Galway involves a good deal of independent learning and students are required to undertake self-directed study outside of regular teaching hours. Attendance at lectures is not usually monitored so students are required to take responsibility for their attendance at lectures and for handing in assessments etc.

Learning and Research, NUI Galway

Learning and Research, NUI Galway

6. How will I be assessed?

While Continuous Assessment is increasingly used, you may find that the academic culture at NUI Galway is more heavily geared towards formal end of semester examinations, compared to your home country.

Depending on the discipline, you can expect that most classes require an end of semester exam (usually 2 hours) which may count for approximately 70-80% of your grade for that particular class. Some classes are assessed entirely by the end of term exam. Attendance at lectures or class participation does not usually form part of your grade.

In the absence of regular testing, students are therefore required to undertake a good deal of self directed study throughout the semester in order keep up with their study or assessments.

7. How does the grading system work?

The grading system at Irish universities may also vary to your home country. Rather than a GPA or letter grade system used commonly in the US and other countries that follow the US model, official exam results are normally presented using a numerical scale from 100-0.

The pass mark for most classes at NUI Galway is 40. This again is different to countries such as the United States and China, where for example students are usually scored between 100 and 60. As NUI Galway uses a wider scale, top performing students usually range between 70 and 100. In the United States however, the equivalent score would typically range between 94 and 100.

Overall degree results are expressed using the Honours system, which is determined by a student’s average marks for individual modules (or subjects). For more information about the NUI Galway grading system, please refer to our previous blog, Making the Grade.

8. OK, enough about the serious stuff – what about cultural and recreational activities?

Of course, we know that what you study is only half the story! Visiting students at NUI Galway also get to enjoy the truly unique student experience that only Galway can offer.

There is no better way to integrate into the academic and social life of the campus than through our student societies and sports clubs and with over 150 on offer, you have a great variety to choose from.

Galway has a strong reputation for the arts and the University plays an important role in supporting the local arts scene, with numerous literary, visual and performing arts events throughout the year, including the annual Arts in Action programme and MĂşscailt Student Arts Festival.

We are also recognised as Ireland’s leading university for civic engagement, and our ALIVE volunteering programme enables students to make a meaningful contribution to the local and international community.

The unique student experience at NUI Galway owes much to our location in the beautiful city of Galway.

King Richard III granted Galway its first charter in 1484 and traces of the city’s rich medieval past can still be seen today in its narrow streets and laneways.

Galway Arts Festival

Galway Arts Festival

Galway is widely regarded as the cultural capital of Ireland and is home to the world renowned Druid Theatre Company, the Macnas Street Theatre Company and An Taibhdhearc, the national Irish language theatre company.

Aran Islands, Galway

Aran Islands, Galway

The city’s surrounding hinterland, including Connemara, the Burren, the Cliffs of Moher and the Aran Islands, is also a major draw for students who come to experience the Ireland of rugged countryside, castles, lakes and rivers and to savor the unique atmosphere of the region’s restaurants, cafes and traditional Irish music pubs.

9. What is the cost of tuition and the full cost of attendance?

Non-EU Visiting Students Tuition fees 2012-13

Arts/Business/Law (per semester) €6,000
Science/Engineering (per semester) €7,750

The following table gives an indication of the monthly cost of living in Galway as a student. These costs are an approximation only as monthly costs will depend on each person’s individual needs.

Monthly €
Accommodation 340
Food 260
Books and Study Materials 60
Clothes, Laundry 60
Recreation 180
Other 100
Total per month 1,000

10. What are the entry requirements?

Visiting Students are normally required to have completed two full years at University before being admitted and have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (or equivalent).

11. Where will I live?

Most visiting student live alongside our regular degree seeking students in one of our Student Residences. The NUI Galway Student Residences provide self-catering housing for NUI Galway students, all within a 15 minute walk of the campus. Residences vary by size, with smaller residences such as Donegan Court (54 students), Atlantis (80 students) and Menlo Park (140 students) and larger residences such as Cúirt na Coiribe (389 students), Dúnáras (409 students), Gort na Coiribe (657 students) and Corrib Village (760 students).

Cuirt na Coriribe Student Residence

Cuirt na Coiribe Student Residence

12. How do I apply?

Visiting Students can apply to NUI Galway through their home institution’s Study Abroad Office. Alternatively, you can also apply through an approved third-party programme provider (e.g. IFSA Butler, Arcadia, API, ISA, CEA, Interstudy, etc.,).

Contact your college’s Study Abroad Advisor for more information.

Alternatively, you may apply directly to NUI Galway. For more information, please download the International Student Guide. All applications for admission must be made on the official Visiting Student Application Form.

The closing dates for receipt of applications from Visiting Students are
(a) 30 April in the case of applications for admission for a full academic year or First Semester and,
(b) 31 October in the case of applications for Second Semester.

For further information, please visit our website or contact the International Affairs Office at NUI Galway


Filed under About Ireland, Academics, Introduction, Students

A brief history of NUI Galway… and some notable alumni

Queens College, Galway

National University of Ireland, Galway was established by the Colleges (Ireland) Act in 1845. The University was first known as Queens College Galway and along with it its sister colleges in Cork and Belfast, was established to provide non-denominational university education to Ireland’s emerging middle class.

The College opened its doors to its first intake of 68 students in October 1849. At the time, the College comprised three faculties, Arts (including Literary and Science divisions), Law and Medicine, as well as a School of Engineering & Agriculture.

In 1908, Queens College Galway was renamed University College Galway and was reconstituted as a constituent college of the newly established National University of Ireland, along with University College Cork and University College Dublin.

Under the Universities Act of 1997, the various colleges of the National University of Ireland were reconstituted as constituent universities. University College Galway was renamed National University of Ireland, Galway to mark the occasion.

Despite its modest beginnings, the University has always attracted leading scholars. Early luminaries included Sir Joseph Larmor (1857-1942), the notable physicist who went on the prestigious post of Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at University of Cambridge.

The noted astronomer and physicist Alexander Anderson (1858-1936) graduated from Galway with an MA in 1881 from where he went on to further studies at the University of Cambridge. Anderson returned to Galway in 1885 where he succeeded Sir Joseph Larmor. Alexander Anderson is widely credited as the first person to suggest the existence of black holes.

George Johnstone Stoney, Professor of Natural Philosophy at Galway from 1852-1857, coined the term ‘ electron’ to describe the fundamental unit of electrical charge, and his contributions to research in this area laid the foundations for the eventual discovery of the particle by J.J. Thomson in 1897

Other notable Galway scholars included the natural historian A.G. Melville (1819-1901) author of the celebrated work on the extinction of the Dodo work and the distinguished economist J.E. Cairnes (1823-1875), whose influential work The Slave Power shaped the thinking of notable intellectuals of the time including Abraham Lincoln, Charles Darwin & Karl Marx (* Foley, Tadhg (ed.) 2000).

Alice Perry

Alice Perry

Other notable graduates included City Engineer of San Francisco, Michael O’Shaughnessy (1864-1934), and Alice Perry (1885-1969), the world’s first female engineering graduate (1906).

The University’s graduates have also distinguished themselves in sport, the arts and politics. NUI Galway sent more athletes to the Beijing Olympics than any other Irish university. 200m sprinter Paul Hession, 20km walker Olive Loughnane, and heavyweight rowing stars Alan Martin and Cormac Folan are all NUI Galway students or graduates.

Similarly many of Ireland’s most renowned performance artists studied at NUI Galway, including Mick Lally, Marie Mullen, Seán McGinley, Garry Hynes (Druid Theatre Company) and Siobhán McKenna.

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela with NUI Galway President, Prof Iognáid G. Ó Muircheartaigh

In 2006, acclaimed actor and political activist Martin Sheen attended NUI Galway as a Visiting Student while in June 2003, Nelson Mandela, Nobel Laureate and former President of South Africa was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate of Laws at the University.

Other notable recipients of this award include Hillary Rodham Clinton, then First Lady of the United States of America, who was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate in May 1999.

Micheal D. Higgins

Micheal D. Higgins

In November 2012, Michael D. Higgins, Adjunct Professor with the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway, was elected the ninth president of Ireland. Michael D. entered the University as a student in 1962; serving as President of the Student Council; and going on to become a highly regarded lecturer in Sociology & Politics for many years. Michael D. visited the staff and students of the University during his campaign trail.

The current Taoiseach (Prime Minister of Ireland) Enda Kenny; Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Eamon Gilmore; Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte; Attorney General, Máire Whelan; Minister for Research & Innovation, Seán Sherlock are all alumni of NUI Galway.

For more information on the history of NUI Galway, please refer to Foley, Tadhg (ed.) From Queen’s College to National University of Ireland: Essays Towards an Academic History of QUC, UCG and NUI Galway, Four Courts Press, Dublin 2000.


Filed under Introduction, On Campus

NUI Galway Video

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Welcome to the NUI Galway International Office blog!


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