Studying a Masters: Ireland v Canada


This article will discuss the advantage and disadvantage of studying a masters in Ireland v Canada. Ireland isn’t as well known as a country for international students. But it does offer many advantages. With Brexit and changes in immigration rules in the USA students who want to study abroad will be forced to consider other English speaking countries. Ireland and Canada have a number of advantages.


  1. Relatively New
    Ireland is a relatively new destination for international students. The Irish government has recently introduced reforms in legislation to make Ireland a very competitive place to study and work for international students. During your studies students can work 20 hours per week and up to 40 hours per week during holidays. After you complete your masters you have a 2 year stay back option which allows you to work unrestricted.As these reforms have only been introduced recently Ireland is still unknown to a lot of international students and is not considered as a location to study. As a result when international students come to Ireland they face a lot less competition for jobs from other international students when compared to more popular countries like Canada or the USA.
  2.  Shortage of skilled labour
    Ireland has a significant shorted of skilled labour in particular industries which IT, Finance & Languages. As a result of these shortage it is often very easy for those with skills related to these industries to find employment after graduating. Also, because of the short of supply of skills in these industries people who find employment within these industries often command a much higher level of pay. Also because of the shortage of certain skills Ireland offers critical skills visas. So after your 2 years are finished you can continue working once you meet certain conditions.
  3.  English speaking country
    Ireland is an English speaking country unlike in parts of Canada which speak French. For those who speak English at a high level they will have a lot of opportunities in all of Ireland. Ireland will also be the only English speaking nation of the EU after Brexit.
  4. Masters is 1 year
    In Ireland a full time masters is generally one year. However in Canada it lasts for 2 years. By studying in Ireland you can reduce your study time by 12 months and also start working sooner.
  5. Cost of education is cheaper
    In general, the cost of education in Ireland is much cheaper. For example, in a top university in Ireland an MBA costs €34,500 in Canada an MBA €80,000.
  6. Weather
    The weather in Ireland can be very changeable, you can get four seasons in one day. The weather is mild and it rarely snow with average winter temperatures of 4-6 degrees.  Temperatures in Canada on average can be minus 15 degrees and can go as low as minus 30 degrees in some places.


  1. Disposable Income 
    In general, salaries are higher, taxes are lower and the cost of living is lower in Canada when compared to Ireland. For example, someone earning €60,000 in Ireland will have €42,000 after tax whereas in Canada they will have circa €45,000. Including rent, the cost of living is roughly 17% cheaper than in Ireland.
  2. It’s harder to get PR
    In Canada you need to have 12 months work experience in Canada in the 3 years before applying. In Ireland you need to have been a resident legally for 5 years. Also, your time as a student doesn’t count toward your 5 years.
  3. Rent crisis, particularly in Dublin
    The rents in Dublin are some of the highest in the world. Because of the number of job opportunities a lot of people around Europe are coming to Dublin. Unfortunately the supply of accommodation has not been able to keep up with the level of demand. As a result, rents have increased dramatically and finding good accommodation can be difficult.
  4. Opportunities limited to certain industries
    There are many job opportunities available to you in Ireland but just within certain sectors such as IT, Finance & Languages. You can see the full list of critical skills here. You can also see the list of sectors which the Irish government deems to be sectors which are over supplied with labour. Canada tends to offer a broader range of occupations with less restrictions. 
  5. Canada has higher ranked universitiesCanada can offer courses from universities which rank globally much better than any of the universities in Ireland. However this may not be a significant factor when looking for employment locally. One, formal education is not important in every industry eg in web development experience is far more important than formal education. Second, it can be better to study in a local well known university employers are familiar with than university from abroad which they may never of heard of.



You should choose Ireland when you have a focus on finding a job and you have a skill which is deemed a critical skill in Ireland. Your time spent studying will be shorter, your course will be cheaper and it will be easier for you to find a job when you graduate. You’ll also qualify for the critical skills visa after your two year stay back period has lapsed. After your critical skills visa you can apply for PR after 5 years of residency.

If your focus is on the quality of the university and its global ranking, or you have a skill which is not in short supply in Ireland then you should choose Canada. Canada can offer universities which have much higher global rankings than Ireland. After you graduate and work for 12 months you can qualify for PR. Also, Canada can offer a much broader range of job opportunities but you will also be faced with more competition.