Trinity College Dublin: What it's really like
Find out more about Trinity College Dublin
Want to study at one of the oldest universities in the English-speaking world… in a cosmopolitan city? Trinity College Dublin could be the place for you!
Trinity College Dublin at a glance:
|Undergraduate course length||Three years|
|Courses||The college has three faculties: health sciences; engineering, mathematics and science; and arts, humanities and social sciences.|
|Great for||Students looking for an academic experience at a university that’s highly ranked in league tables, but also in the heart of a capital city.|
|Not for||Students who would prefer to live in a bigger city where things are more spread out.|
Antonio, who works in Trinity College Dublin’s global engagement department, tells us what it’s like to study there.
What is Trinity College Dublin?
Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin, was founded in 1592 and is the oldest university in Ireland. We’re also ranked as the top university in the country according to the Times Higher Education Rankings 2023.
Trinity is one of the seven ‘ancient’ universities of the English-speaking world – alongside universities like Cambridge, Oxford, and St Andrews – but it’s the only one in the European Union.
We’re a medium-sized university with around 18,000 students, 12,000 of which are undergraduates. When you study here, you’ll likely have that feeling of being connected to history, but also of helping to shape the world we live in today.
Why apply to Trinity College Dublin?
A great reason to apply to Trinity is its academic reputation: you’ll be studying at one of the best universities in the world, so you can expect to achieve an excellent degree that is highly valued by employers.
Another reason is that Ireland is considered the ‘Silicon Valley of Europe’. Some of the world’s biggest IT companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter, and pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer, have their headquarters in Ireland — so you’ll be on the doorstep of some amazing employment opportunities.
If you come to Trinity as an international student, you’ll of course have that typically ‘Irish’ experience – Irish people being considered some of the friendliest people in the world – but Trinity is actually the 12th most international university in the world too. 120 different nationalities are represented on campus, with 27% of our students from outside of Ireland, so you’ll likely meet someone from where you’re from. 40% of our lecturers are also international, so we have the most international academic body of any university in Europe.
Who isn’t the right fit for Trinity College Dublin?
If you’re looking for a really big city and a commute, Trinity might not be the place for you. Whilst Dublin is a very cosmopolitan city, there are only 800,000 people living in the city itself, so it’s a very manageable size. If you’re also looking for a more isolated, self-contained campus, Trinity might not be for you, as it’s so closely connected to the city centre.
Any application tips?
You can apply to Trinity with your predicted grades and get a conditional offer. If you’re a non-native English speaker, you may need a certificate to prove your English proficiency as well. We also ask for two references, and for a 500-word Personal Statement, where you can show us why you’re a good fit for Trinity and for the programme of your choice.
I would say your transcript or predicted grades are most important, because Trinity is a very academic university. But otherwise, remember to apply as early as possible. Applications for most of our programmes open in November and close in June, but we assess applications on a rolling basis, so the earlier you apply, the better your chances of getting in. Offers are made on a first-come, first-served basis.
What’s the location like?
The location of Trinity College Dublin is unusual, in that it’s an entirely historic campus but set in a capital city centre.
As soon as you leave the campus, you’ll find yourself in the heart of the city. So you can enjoy the exciting restaurants, bars, night clubs, museums, galleries, and festivals that Dublin has to offer – all within a short walk. Dublin’s airport is just a 30-40-minute drive away, which is particularly useful if you’re an international student.
We are partnered with Columbia University, so we also offer twelve degrees where you can spend two years studying in New York!
What facilities does Trinity College Dublin have to offer?
Whilst it might look historical at a glance, Trinity offers state-of-the-art facilities designed for conducting research. For example, one of our newest buildings, due to open in September 23/24, will be a purpose-built research building to support students as part of our E3 project: those studying environmental science, engineering, and emerging technologies.
When it comes to facilities you can enjoy in your free time, we have the biggest gym in Dublin, as well as theatres and galleries you can visit on the campus itself.
We’re also renowned for our careers service, and ranked top in the world for producing entrepreneurs. Our Innovation Centre, where you can put forward an idea for a business, is open to all students regardless of the subject they’re studying. Here you’ll be supported to develop your idea, and if it’s considered especially strong, you could be given a place in our incubator, where you’ll get funding to start your own company.
What is the accommodation like?
When it comes to accommodation, Trinity gives priority to international students, particularly those on foundation courses or on their first year of undergraduate programmes.
There is university accommodation both on-campus and nearby in the city, around a 15-minute bike ride away. Typically, you’ll live in flats of around five students, which have either ensuite or shared bathroom facilities. You’ll also share a living space and a kitchen.
In their second year, because the university is so centrally located, students tend to look for their own accommodation nearby and share houses or flats with their friends.
How does Trinity College Dublin meet the needs of students with different accessibility requirements?
Inclusivity is and always has been very important at Trinity; in fact, the first woman to get a degree from one of the ‘ancient’ universities of the English-speaking world studied here, and female students represent the majority at Trinity.
If you have a disability or any learning differences, we encourage you to contact our disability support team before even applying. The team will be happy to chat to you about meeting your accommodation, study, and examination needs.
Once you’re here, the team also offers confidential daily drop-in sessions so you can pop in any time if you have any worries or questions.
Want to explore more Irish universities? Remember, Unifrog’s Shortlisting tool can help you put together a list of great potential courses.
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