What are you going to do with this time?

Page last updated on 06.04.2021 at 10:00 GMT

Start your programme virtually from home

You may have had to put many things on hold during 2020, but your education doesn’t have to be one of them. Make valuable use of the free time that the past few months have opened up by starting your studies now and graduating as planned.

Now is your time to learn, to develop and be ready for the world. By starting your university education now, you can look forward to achieving your graduation dreams and starting an exciting graduate-level job in just a few short years. Whether your goal is to start your own business, research medical developments, work for an NGO or something in between, this is your future.

Flexible study options

Start your pathway programme from home and keep your education on track. If you are unable to travel to Ireland, you can begin your progamme virtually from the comfort of your home and join us on campus by the start of term 2. When you start online you'll benefit from virtual teacher-led learning with our experienced staff and a wide range of learning and social activities.

We'll get you to where you want to be – studying at University College Dublin in autumn 2021.

Why start your programme virtually with us?

Achieve your university dreams

Keep your studies on track and start your programme virtually from home. We’ll make sure you’re ready to progress to your chosen university as planned in September.  

High-quality education

You will experience the same level of exceptional, high-quality teaching whether you study virtually or on campus.

Supportive community environment

Academic guidance, tutorial sessions, careers support and personal and welfare support is all available virtually from the same specialist staff. You’ll be part of a community of students, connected through live classes and discussion groups, and we’ll be here to support you every step of the way.

Smooth transition

We will support you to in your transition to campus so that you settle in with no disruption to your studies.

We'll get you to where you want to be

21-day money back* satisfaction offer

We want to make sure you are confident on your pathway to academic success. That’s why when you start one of our virtual programmes, you will have a 21-day introductory period to experience learning online.

If, within the 21-day introductory period you choose not to continue your studies virtually, you have two options available:

  • Defer your place to a future intake
  • Withdraw your place at no extra cost

*Provided you have an online attendance level of 80% or more

Government health and travel information

You can find the latest health and travel advice on the Irish Department of Health website. We advise that you check this regularly before making any travel plans as this is an evolving situation and advice is constantly changing.

Admissions information

We understand the disruption that many students will face in receiving their final results in 2020, so to ensure that no student is disadvantaged by this, we will take in to account individual circumstances when assessing academic achievement for entry to our programmes.

If you cannot provide formal certificates, we can accept preliminary results for you to start studying virtually, however when you come to apply for a visa, you will need to ensure you have the right documents for your application. You should submit your official up to date qualifications once available for our internal records. If you have already met the requirements we will not change your offer based on your most recent qualification (once available).

Please contact your agent or Student Enrolment Advisor if you would like to have your current offer updated with new requirements.

To determine English language proficiency, we will now accept a wider range of English tests including:

English tests
IELTS General or Academic (UKVI or Non UKVI)
IELTS Indicator
A Level English
TOEFL iBT IB Diploma English 
TOEFL Home Edition HKDSE English
Duolingo SPM English

We are committed to working with every student on the options to continue studying with us.

If you cannot travel for the start of the first term, you can start your studies online from home. Starting your studies online will ensure you can still achieve your academic and career goals and progress to your chosen university degree, on time, from wherever you are in the world.

We are offering an extended introductory period to ensure you have confidence and financial peace of mind to begin your studies online.

You can try our online pathway programmes for 21 days before you make an important choice about how to continue with your education. If, within 21 days, you decide not to continue with your studies online, you can still select to defer your place, or withdraw from your studies with a full refund.* For further details, please refer to the Terms and Conditions page on our website.

*Provided you have an online attendance level of 80% or more.

Information for starting virtually

In order to create the safest possible learning environment, and whilst social distancing restrictions are in place, you will enjoy a mixture of face to face and online learning.

When our International Study Centres and Colleges open, you'll receive a warm welcome and plenty of support to help you succeed. We will offer both face-to-face and online welcome activities to help you settle in to student life and make the most of your student experience. As part of our programme of welcome activities we will encourage you to take the opportunity to meet your teachers and fellow students both face-to-face and online - you will be fully part of our international community from day one.

As soon as you start your programme, you will meet other international students who are going through a very similar experience to you. During your time in Ireland, you will have the opportunity to join clubs and societies where you will meet people who share a common interest.

UCD International Study Centre will be open for your studies and we are looking forward to welcoming you. We do recognise however that there may be reasons that you are unable to travel for the start of term.

You can begin your programme online from home, but we would encourage you to travel to Ireland when you can. You can be assured of a safe and inclusive campus environment, so you feel confident to study your programme in Ireland.

UCD International Study Centre will be adapted to ensure that they are safe through the following measures:

  • We will encourage the wearing of face-coverings around our buildings;
  • We will provide hand sanitisers in all our buildings;
  • We will have enhanced regular cleaning and sterilising regimes;
  • We will manage the flow of people around our buildings;
  • We will manage social distancing including limiting class sizes;
  • We will make use of online learning and will ensure the right balance of face-to-face interactions and engaging with learning and fellow students online.
  • We will take additional steps to ensure that vulnerable students or those with special requirements are given enhanced and appropriate levels of support.

Yes, INIS advised "the approach to be taken is that our visa office and mission network will issue “D” long stay study visas with maximum validity of 6 months (usually 3 months), on an exceptional basis for the 2020/21 year only, in respect of all students who are commencing studies in September, regardless of whether they start the course on-line or in a classroom environment. Students should apply for multiple entry visas instead of single entry visas as per INIS guidance."

Technology requirements for Study Group online courses

To access virtual classroom, course materials, LMS/VLE and undertake assessments, it is important to be prepared with the appropriate technology.


While it is possible to access and interact with most course content using various tablets and smartphones, such as iPads, iPhones and Android devices, these devices will not work for assessments and therefore it is important that you have a PC or Mac based computer available for use.


  • Any Microsoft Windows based PC (laptop or desktop, preferably running Windows 10)
  • Web Browser: Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge (Chromium version)
  • Webcam
  • Microphone
  • Installation of Zoom for Virtual Classroom


  • Any Apple MacOS based laptop or desktop
  • Web Browser: Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge (Chromium version)
  • Webcam
  • Microphone
  • Installation of Zoom for Virtual Classroom

Internet Connection

Internet connectivity is required for access to all coursework. Internet connectivity could be in the form of a fixed line connection, 3G/4G/5G, wi-fi or other technologies.

Minimum: 600kbps download and 600kbps upload speed

Recommended: at least 1.5Mbps download and 1.5Mbps upload speed

Zoom Restricted Countries

Zoom is used for access to virtual classroom and is therefore an important part of all courses. Zoom is unavailable or restricted in several countries, with the full list available here. While Zoom may still work from the countries listed, individuals should test Zoom using their own equipment to ensure connectivity.

Your attendance will be monitored through your engagement with online learning activities. You will be expected to engage with all course activities provided to you.

Assessments will be held online via coursework submissions. We use Turnitin software which scans for plagiarism and other forms of academic impropriety.

There may be some skills that we can't assess online, such as practical lab skills, and we are looking at alternatives for students impacted by this.

As government travel guidance is changing regularly, we will provide more guidance on assessments and exams relating to specific programmes of study in due course. These will be in line with approaches taken by University College Dublin and, as appropriate, with guidance that is due to be issued by the Irish government’s Department for Education and Skills.

Currently, there has been no change made to this aspect of our programmes. Students will continue to work towards the same targets, and we will be supporting you to achieve these through online sessions.

When you progress you will of course be supported in your transition to degree programme studies at university.

Yes, you will be able to work in Ireland after study for up to 2 years with a postgraduate visa for international students.

Before you depart

Book your accommodation

During your time at the ISC, you can choose to either live in allocated student accommodation or arrange your own private accommodation. If you are younger than 18 years at the start of your course, it is mandatory for you to stay in a homestay option that will be arranged through our approved third-party provider. If you have requested accommodation on your application form, our Central Student Support Team will contact you directly regarding the options available. Ensure that you have provided your contact details to avoid any delay in processing your request. You may prefer to arrange your own accommodation. Make sure that you have secured your accommodation before arriving in Ireland and let us know where you will be staying to ensure that there are no difficulties on arrival.

Email: UCDISC.CSS@studygroup.com

Apply for your visa

Now that you have confirmed your place, you will be sent your Visa Letter with further instructions. Please ensure that you review the letter to ensure all details are correct. You can then use this to apply for your long stay study visa when you are ready to do so. You are expected to apply for a multi-entry visa. Any student who starts the programme, even if it is online, will need an Irish entry visa. The Irish government does not allow students to start the programme online without being eligible for a visa. In case the entry visa can’t be used yet due to travel restrictions, you are able to extend your entry visa.

Book your travel

Once you receive your visa, you can book your travel. You should arrive ready for the first day of the term to get a good start to your studies. If you have booked your accommodation with us, it will usually be available two days prior to the start of term.

You should book any flights home after the official end of term date, which can be found in your offer letter.

Complete the Godsil guardian application forms (under 18 only)

You will have been sent details to complete in order to consent a guardian for you. You will need to complete the form and your parent(s) will need to sign and have it notarised. You should make a copy, and bring one copy with you in your hand luggage and keep the other in your main luggage.

Complete our Pre-Registration Form

Around one month before term starts, we will email you with a link to an online form. You will need to complete this with your travel information - so we know when to expect you - and your visa details. If you would like us to arrange your taxi from the airport, please let us know by ticking the box on the form. On the form, you will need to provide us with a mobile phone number that you will have at the time of travelling so the driver can contact you.

Make sure you are insured

It is essential that international students have the protection of personal insurance for the duration of their time in Ireland as well as for registration with the Garda (police).

When you applied to the ISC, you will have had the option of taking insurance cover with StudyCare Plus. This insurance policy covers loss of personal possessions as well as providing health and medical insurance. If you have not taken this option, please make sure you have secured your own policy. For full information on StudyCare Plus, visit https://www.studygroup.com/land/studycare-ie

Visa services resumed from Monday 22nd June. During this initial resumption phase, only Long Stay “D” visa applications, including Study, as well as those identified under our current criteria as Emergency/Priority visas will be accepted. While long stay visa applications are being accepted for processing, the actual issuance of non-Emergency/Priority visas remains dependent on Public Health Advice, and has not yet begun.

There are still restrictions in place in many countries, so in locations where it isn’t possible to resume from the 22nd June, visa applications will be accepted as soon as is possible thereafter. Again any resumption of services is subject to current health and safety advice in relation to the COVID 19 pandemic.

For up to date information in your location, you should go to the local Irish Embassy/Mission website for that location.

Most Irish Embassies and visa offices around the world have resumed their activities details can be checked here http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Pages/updates-announcements

You’ll need to pack some important items, such as your passport and visa, in your hand luggage for easy access, while other non-essential items can be packed away in your suitcase.

As some lessons will be taught online, you will need to have a PC or Mac based computer. Whilst it is possible to access and interact with most course content using a tablet or smartphone, these devices will not work for assessments. If you do not have access to equipment, please let us know so that we can support you.


  • Any Microsoft Windows based PC (laptop or desktop, preferably running Windows 10)
  • Web Browser: Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge (Chromium version)
  • Webcam
  • Microphone
  • Installation of Zoom for Virtual Classroom


  • Any Apple MacOS based laptop or desktop
  • Web Browser: Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge (Chromium version)
  • Webcam
  • Microphone
  • Installation of Zoom for Virtual Classroom

Things to pack in your hand luggage

  • Passport and visa
  • Your offer letter
  • Your education certificates including IELTS or other original Secure English Language Test
  • Evidence of funding for your tuition fees and living costs, including sponsor letter (if you are being sponsored)
  • Accommodation documents, if you are living on campus, please ensure that you have agreed to the UCD Residences terms and conditions and that you have a copy of your booking receipt with you on arrival.
  • Four passport-sized photographs
  • Notarised letter naming your designated guardian in Ireland (if you are under 18)
  • Any insurance documents
  • Medical certificates including vaccination records
  • Mobile Phone
  • Essential toiletries and medications (please check with your airline what’s permitted)
  • Enough money to live on in the first few weeks. We advise using traveller’s cheques and not bringing large amounts of cash

You may want to bring:

  • Comfortable clothing such as trainers, jeans, t-shirts, jumpers and a warm coat. The dress code at the Centre or College is informal.
  • Study supplies e.g. pens and paper notepads – these may be less expensive in your country.
  • Laptop computer and charger – you can set English as the main language choice. This will help you to improve your English and assist you with everyday aspects of your life in Ireland.
  • Mobile phone and charger
  • At least one travel adaptor plug – 240v with a three-pin plug.

For current and/or returning student

A new online Registration Renewal System for non-EEA national students based in Dublin was launched by the Minister for Justice and Equality on 22nd June 2020. Students renewing their registration will no longer have to book appointments and attend the registration office in person. The service is now available to all non-EEA national residing in the Dublin area who are eligible for renewal of their permission to reside in Ireland.

Additional information

  • For enquiries related to students who are already at one of our Study Centres or Colleges, please contact your Study Centre or College.
  • Joining us from September 2021? Our aim is for the Centre to be fully open for the start of your course in September 2021.  Our aim is to get you to where you want to be, studying at your chosen university, and we will continue to follow local government guidelines to ensure we provide a safe learning environment. Please do check back here regularly for updates on our plans for September 2021.
  • What happens next? If you have decided you want to start virtually, you can complete the application form and your Student Enrolment Advisor will contact you and support you every step of the way. Already have an offer? Accept your offer and confirm that you will be starting your programme virtually from home. 
  • If you have now confirmed or conditionally confirmed your place and have any questions about starting your studies either at UCD ISC or online; you can contact our Central Student Support Team at UCDISC.CSS@studygroup.com

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