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The top medical schools in Ireland

Ireland has some of the top medical schools in the world. We run through which institutions top the ratings and what they offer.

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Choosing to study for a degree in medicine is a big step. A medical degree is a challenging qualification that places high demands on students. When considering your destination and university options for studying medicine, you’ll be evaluating reputation, quality, student life and student support. That’s exactly why you should consider studying for your degree in Ireland. We place the spotlight on the top medical schools in Ireland.


Trinity College Dublin 


You’re probably not surprised to see Trinity College Dublin at the top of the list. The institution frequently tops the charts of universities in Ireland. Trinity College is rated the premier institution for studying medicine in Ireland by the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021(QS) and the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021 (THE). The university is also ranked comfortably within the world’s top 200 by both QS and THE.


Trinity College Dublin has an almost 450-year history of providing higher education in Ireland and is home to students from over 120 countries. The Faculty of Health Sciences at the university is home to the School of Medicine, first opened in 1711. The university is associated with two teaching hospitals for medical students, namely St James’ Hospital and Tallaght University Hospital.


Some of the areas of clinical expertise taught in the school include:


  • Anatomy
  • Clinical medicine
  • Haematology
  • Histopathology
  • Immunology
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Psychiatry


The university offers undergraduate, postgraduate, and online postgraduate courses.



Discover more about what to expect when studying for a degree in medicine.


University College Cork 


Home to 22,500 students and with a history dating back 170 years, University College Cork (UCC) is a world top 200 university as per QS and in the top 350 globally according to THE. QS rates the university at number two in Ireland for medicine, and UCC sits in the top five medical schools in the country, according to THE.


The School of Medicine forms part of the College of Medicine and Health at UCC. The school has 13 specialist departments focusing on key medical disciplines including:


  • Obstetrics and gynaecology
  • Pathology
  • Physiology
  • Gerontology and rehabilitation
  • Surgery


The UCC School of Medicine offers qualifications in medicine, paramedic science, and health sciences, including a BSc in Medical Health and Sciences. There is also a graduate entry medical programme ideal for international students who hold a degree in a related subject.



Explore universities in Ireland.


University College Dublin 


University College Dublin enjoys the number three spot for medicine in Ireland on both the QS and THE rankings. In addition, UCD is rated as a top 200 (173) world university by QS and in the top 300 globally by THE. The university has a reputation for high research output and has a 6,000 strong international student community.


Based in Ireland’s capital, Dublin, the university was rated as number one in the country for graduate employability by QS for three years between 2018 and 2020. The UCD School of medicine has a dedicated team to support prospective and current international students studying for a medical degree. UCD also offers the possibility of overseas clinical internships and placements for medical students. Some of the medical degrees on offer at UCD include:


  • Radiography
  • Biomedical health
  • Physiology
  • Medicine (including graduate entry)


Find out why studying for a master’s degree in Ireland could be for you.


Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RSCI) 


RSCI is an institution dedicated to the study of medical and health sciences. The university was founded in the late 18th century as the first private university in Ireland. The institution has just over 4,000 students, which is smaller by comparison to some of the other universities in Ireland. This size does mean a good student to lecturer ratio and access to expertise.


RSCI enjoys a favourable rating as a top-five medical school in Ireland and a top 250 university in the world by QS. THE rate the institution slightly higher at number two in Ireland for medical qualifications.  


Undergraduate degrees are offered in specialisations including medicine, physiotherapy, and pharmacy. There are also a variety of taught postgraduate courses in fields such as:


  • Nursing and midwifery
  • Surgery
  • Healthcare management
  • Sport and exercise medicine
  • Pharmacy and biomolecular sciences
  • Ethics and law


Explore what is on offer for international students in Ireland.


University of Galway


The University of Galway rounds out our list of the top medical schools in Ireland. Based in the west of Ireland, Galway has an educational tradition dating to 1845 and hosts 18,000 students. The city of Galway is also a student favourite and made the top five cities list as per Lonely Planet 2020 and called the ‘Most Charming City’ by The New York Times. The institution is a top 300 global university, as per QS, which places Galway in the top one per cent of universities globally.


THE rates the medical qualifications on offer at the university as in the top five offered in Ireland. The College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at Galway consists of three schools, namely medicine, nursing and midwifery, and health sciences. Students benefit from purpose-built facilities, such as the Clinical Science Institute and HRB Clinical Research facility. Undergraduate medicine and health science courses offered include:


  • BSc podiatric medicine
  • BSc surgery and obstetrics
  • Mental health nursing
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech and language therapy


Numerous MSc degrees are offered in fields including:


  • Palliative care
  • Advanced healthcare practice
  • Cellular manufacturing
  • Radiology
  • Advanced midwifery
  • Cardiology


If you have been considering Ireland as a student destination, we have some other advice and insights you may find useful. You can read more about student accommodation in Irelandhow to apply to study in Ireland and post-study visas in Ireland.