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
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
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 Múscailt 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 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
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)
|Science/Engineering (per semester)
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.
|Books and Study Materials
|Total per month
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 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