Irish American Scholars Program
Students on this program are given a special opportunity to spend a semester or a year studying abroad in Northern Ireland. In a region where religious tensions have historically run strong, this exchange program is a collaboration between Catholic, Methodist, and Presbyterian schools to give students an opportunity to experience not only another culture, but potentially another religious environment as well. Northern Ireland is a small country, but easy to travel around and packed with history and culture. Students can spend time in cities like Belfast, visit the ruins of ancient castles and monasteries, or walk the dunes and cliffs along Northern Ireland's rugged coastline.
Catholic University students will take a full academic course load equivalent to 15 US credits while abroad. They may choose between five participating schools in Northern Ireland:
Queens University Belfast is one of the 20 top research-intensive institutions in the United Kingdom. While the university does not offer courses in all disciplines, most U.S. students will find appropriate subjects at Queens University.
University of Ulster has a national and international reputation for excellence. With four distinct campuses across Northern Ireland, students are placed at a specific campus based on their field of study.
St. Mary’s University College specializes in liberal arts and teacher training, and is integrated into the larger Queen’s University system. In 2011, St. Mary’s was ranked third among all universities in the United Kingdom for student satisfaction with their overall university experience.
Stranmillis University College is highly recognized for its teacher training curriculum, but also offers courses in early childhood and health and leisure studies. Stranmillis is a college within the system of Queen’s University Belfast.
Belfast Metropolitan College specializes in educating students with strong career goals in vocational areas such as business, marketing, computing, performing arts, communication and Irish studies.
Special Academic Considerations
- Students attending the University of Ulster must take all their courses at one campus.
- The University of Ulster is the best choice for history majors who want to study Irish history.
- Education/Teaching is available only at Stranmillis and St. Mary’s. Preference is given to students who have some in-classroom experience. The spring semester includes an in-school placement, so education students must obtain a background check and bring the results with them to Northern Ireland.
- Students interested in studying a musical instrument at University of Ulster–McGee will be required to pay additional fees not included in the tuition/fee waiver from the university.
- At Belfast Metropolitan College, students can generally take classes in only one subject field. International students can take classes only in HND or FD tracks. Business/marketing students must attend for a full year. Dance and theatre students may attend for the fall semester or for a full year, but not for the spring semester only.
Students apply for accommodations from their selected university. Arrangements will vary by institution, but may include residence halls, shared apartments, or homestay options. Cost of accommodations is not included.