street view image of Belfast city hall

International education

Northern Ireland is a fantastic choice for international students and for organisations seeking to develop education partnerships.

The UK has a global reputation for education, characterised by excellence and high quality. It is widely acknowledged that a UK education opens doors wherever you go in the world. According to the British Council, a UK education has been the preferred choice of some of the most successful people in the world, with one in four world leaders having studied in the UK.

Northern Ireland is part of the UK and its education system has historically outperformed the rest of the UK in GCSE and A-Level results (university entrance exams).

Key facts

  • Belfast has been named more affordable than every other major student city in the UK (Mercer, 2017)

  • Northern Ireland has attractive post-study employment options

  • Students from over 100 countries, including China, India, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and the US, study in Northern Ireland

What we offer

  • For overseas students

    Northern Ireland offers a truly unique and high quality education. There is a range of English language teaching, boarding schools and university options. Students can come to learn English, enjoy a summer school or study abroad experience. Students can also study for GCSEs and A-Levels, which offer a route to our universities and progress to a full undergraduate or postgraduate programme of study.

  • For overseas governments, ministries and education providers

    Northern Ireland's universities and technical vocational education and training (TVET) colleges have extensive experience in transnational education. Our universities operate a number of branch campuses overseas, undertake high-quality joint research activity, and deliver jointly supervised PhDs. Our TVET colleges are active across the world and are working overseas to help develop curricula, enhance college leadership and management capability and deliver quality assurance processes.

  • A world-class internationally-focused education system considered one of the best in Europe

  • A safe, affordable location with an excellent quality of life, modern student housing and a welcome that is second to none

  • A rich variety of scenery, activities, cultural attractions and leisure opportunities

  • English-speaking, accessible European location

  • Strong links with industry to help ensure employability

  • World-leading universities with expertise across a range of research disciplines that ensures taught programmes include the latest thinking

Options for study


Two world-ranked universities - Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University – have around 45,000 students enrolled, with students from over 100 countries represented including China, Malaysia, India, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and the US.

There is something for everyone, with both universities offering a broad range of courses across the arts, cyber security, humanities, social sciences, medicine, business, computing, film & journalism, health & life sciences, engineering and physical sciences.

Queen's University Belfast

Ulster University

Teacher Training Colleges

Image of students outside QUB Seamus Heaney library

Northern Ireland’s teacher training colleges offer courses at undergraduate and postgraduate levels for teacher education. In recent years, the colleges have expanded their undergraduate portfolio to offer a wider range of professionally-related academic programmes. Both colleges have relationships with a wide range of partner institutions globally.

Stranmillis University College

St Mary's University College

Technical Vocational Education and Training

Students around a computer

Northern Ireland has an extensive Technical Vocational Education and Training sector. There are over 40 campuses across the region that develop a comprehensive portfolio of academic and vocational courses. These include A-Levels, foundation degrees, apprenticeships and higher level apprenticeships.

Northern Ireland colleges are active across the world, working with partner organisations to deliver transnational education programmes. These include teacher training, curricula development, quality assurance, leadership development and project based learning. Colleges NI can also deliver a range of bespoke programmes, such as short courses and summer school programmes.

Belfast Metropolitan College

Northern Regional College

North West Regional College

Southern Regional College

South West Regional College

South Eastern Regional College

Boarding Schools

Students in a library setting

Northern Ireland offers an excellent choice of boarding schools, each with its own unique heritage and all sharing a rich history of academic and extra-curricular excellence. Whether single-gender or co-ed, city centre or rural, each school nurtures the individual within a supportive and welcoming community environment.

Our boarding schools provide an excellent and affordable launchpad for further study at our universities.

Boarding Northern Ireland

English Language Teaching

Students learning in a circle

Northern Ireland is home to seven British Council accredited English language schools. The language schools offer a range of flexible courses for professional or everyday use.

The schools provide a variety of off-the-shelf to bespoke vocational English language courses. There are strong links with business and local communities, enabling students to continue their immersion in the English language through work placements or home stays with approved local families.

Please get in touch.  You can find a team in your region or fill in an enquiry form and a member of the team will contact you directly.

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