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A Guide to Dublin's Universities and Colleges

Dublin is home to many internationally-acclaimed universities and colleges. Between these historic institutions (and a few modern additions), they have produced big names in an impressive array of disciplines, but they are perhaps best-known for their literary alumni. Famous figures like Samuel Beckett, James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, WB Yeats, and many more have shared educational roots that can be traced right back here to Dublin.

To give you a better understanding of these higher-education institutions, here’s a brief introduction to all universities and colleges in the Irish capital.


Founded in 1592, Trinity College is one of the world’s leading universities and is consistently ranked in the top 1% of institutions worldwide. For over 400 years, this historic university has been known for providing high-quality, internationally-recognised education – from undergraduate and postgraduate degrees to online and evening courses.

Trinity College’s global reputation for excellence attracts a vibrant, diverse, and supportive international community of almost 17,000 students and 2,860 members of staff. The university’s stunning campus of historic buildings (so beautiful that it’s become a tourist attraction in its own right) and cobblestoned walkways are juxtaposed with its state-of-the-art facilities and world-renowned centres of excellence where pioneering research takes place.

But college life at Trinity is about so much more than studying. With over 200 sports clubs and societies ranging from athletics to tennis, debating to investing, and drama to science fiction, there is something to suit everyone’s interests.

Nearest Uninest residence(s): Kavanagh Court and New Mill (roughly a 15-minute walk each)


Since 1784, RCSI has played a major role in medical education and training in Ireland. Nowadays, the college provides extensive education and training in the healthcare professions at undergraduate and postgraduate level. The medical school in RCSI is the largest in the country and is one of the world’s leading international medical schools. Furthermore, the RCSI Research Institute is also one of the foremost research centres in the country.

RCSI is known for its commitment to performing high levels of research activity and commercialising intellectual property arising from its research. In addition, the institution is also highly-focused on developing collaborative links with industry as well as other institutions – nationally and further afield. In terms of its student body, more than 60 countries are represented, so you can expect a diverse and international experience here.

Nearest Uninest residence(s): New Mill (roughly a 10-minute walk)


The origins of the National College of Art and Design date back to 1746. Since it’s the only Irish university institution specialising in art and design, the institution has occupied a unique position in this field of education in Ireland for over 200 years. NCAD offers the broadest range of Art and Design degrees in the country at undergraduate and postgraduate level. As of the most recent academic year, NCAD has over 950 full-time students and a further 600 students who take award-bearing and non-award-bearing part-time classes.

Nearest Uninest residence(s): New Mill (roughly a 10-minute walk) and Broadstone Hall (roughly a 20-minute walk)


Dublin City University (DCU) is a relatively new university celebrated for its cutting-edge and forward-thinking approach to higher education. Created as ‘the National Institute for Higher Education, Dublin’, the university has been working closely with the industry to deliver an up-to-date curriculum and world-class facilities to its students – who range from those fresh out of school to those completing their PhDs. On top of that, DCU is also noted for having an entrepreneurial, innovative, and creative culture.

Renowned for its excellent employability statistics and the success of its graduates, DCU is recognised worldwide for its research-intensive University of Enterprise. The university is distinguished both by the quality and impact of its graduates and its focus on the translation of knowledge into societal and economic benefit.

Nearest Uninest residence(s): Broadstone Hall (the number 9 bus takes you to around the corner from DCU in under 15 minutes)


Originally named the Catholic University of Ireland, and subsequently the Royal University, it became University College Dublin (UCD) in 1908 and a constituent college of the National University of Ireland (NUI) – it is Ireland’s largest university, with over 1,482 faculty and 32,000 students.

Since its foundation, the university has been largely responsible for creating modern Ireland. Specifically, many UCD students and staff participated in the struggle for Irish independence, and the university has produced generations of Irish business, professional, cultural, and sporting leaders. Not to mention the numerous Irish Presidents and Taoisigh (Prime Ministers) who have studied here. Perhaps the most well-known of all UCD alumni is the writer James Joyce, who completed his Bachelor of Arts in 1902.

Nearest Uninest residence(s): Kavanagh Court (the number 46A bus takes you to around the corner from UCD in just a little over 30 minutes)


Most international students (especially non-EU nationals) are required to complete a ‘bridging course’ beforehand in order to enroll to universities in Ireland and the UK, and these bridging courses are precisely what Dublin International Foundation College (DIFC) has been set up to deliver.

The college specialises in foundation courses that are designed to help prepare international students for entrance into partner universities in Ireland and the UK. Both undergraduate- and postgraduate-level programmes are taught here, and students are placed in a wide-variety of higher-education courses providing that they’ve successfully completed their respective courses.

Nearest Uninest residence(s): New Mill (under a 10-minute walk)


ISB Dublin is a private business school which specialises in semester abroad programmes for international students. It’s a state-recognised institution that offers excellent academic standards. Its programmes are designed to provide international students with the knowledge, skills, and competences that will enhance their professional careers – locally and internationally. It strives to provide the context and materials to help its students develop as individuals in a melting pot of multicultural environment.

ISB’s city-centre facilities place you in the heart of Dublin’s hustling and bustling, and will also put you conveniently in between two Uninest student residences.

Nearest Uninest residence(s): New Mill and Kavanagh Court (roughly a 20-minute walk each)


American College Dublin is a constituent college of Irish American University. It’s accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and is licenced as an institution of higher education in the Republic of Ireland and in the State of Delaware, USA.

ACD offers the whole spectrum of post-secondary education at Bachelor’s and Master’s level in liberal arts, performing arts, creative writing, international business, accounting and finance, hospitality management, event management, and more. The college is located on Merrion Square, which puts you right in the heart of city and only short walk away from our Kavanagh Court student residence.

Nearest Uninest residence(s): Kavanagh Court (roughly a 20-minute walk)


National College of Ireland offers a distinctive student-centred learning experience throughout its campus, which is situated in the city’s lively international business centre. NCI combines academic scholarship and theoretical knowledge with business and community practitioner experience to deliver practice-based learning that’s grounded in real-world context.

NCI has developed innovative teaching and learning technologies that are designed to support students who embark on education at all stages in their lives, careers, and transition to third-level education. It offers an education that guides students in their intellectual development as well as their social development.

Nearest Uninest residence(s): Kavanagh Court (roughly a 15-minute walk)


Whichever university or college you choose to study at, we’re sure you’ll have a transformative experience here in Dublin. Now that you know these institutions a little better, it’s perhaps time to start looking into finding your student accommodation.

We have three student residences in various corners of Dublin, so there’s sure to be one near your university/college of choice. Remember: we’re always happy to answer your questions, so for more information, get in touch with us today!