Semester Abroad

Study in Ireland for a Semester Abroad

Spend an unforgettable semester studying in Ireland, by joining our increasingly popular ‘Semester Abroad Program’ at Carlow College, St Patrick’s. Our college has partnership arrangements with several higher education institutes across the US, giving American students the chance to study in Ireland for a semester as part of their undergraduate degree, offering international students the opportunity to dive into an Irish lifestyle. As part of our study abroad program, learners can also take courses at SETU Carlow

Experience the culture and history of Ireland

Students in this program will enroll as full time students at Carlow College, earning 12-18 semester credits. The cornerstone of the semester abroad program is The Irish Experience course. This multi-disciplinary course covers fascinating topics such as Irish history, literature, music, language, politics and identity. You will also take fun field trips to areas of historical and cultural significance – expanding your research into the topics covered on the course. For more information, click on the field trip tab below.

The remaining course options are similar to those students take at their home college and include:

Broaden your horizons and make lifelong friends

The semester abroad program provides a perfect opportunity for students to enhance their educational experience, make new friends and try life abroad for the first time. Choosing to study in Ireland for a semester gives a valuable insight into a different culture. It is a great way of broadening your horizons, grow as an individual and making lifelong friends from around the world.

On-campus Accommodation

If you choose to study in Ireland with Carlow College, we offer on-campus accommodation to international students on the Irish Experience program. Accommodation is available at Lennon House which is situated within easy walking distance of the main college building and Carlow town centre.

For more information, contact Dr Eric A. Derr in the International Office:

Incoming semester study abroad students are can take courses across all the undergraduate degree programs at Carlow College. 

Disciplines include:

  • Creative Arts
  • English
  • History
  • Media Studies
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Theology


Incoming semester study abroad students can also take courses at SETU Carlow

Disciplines include: 

  • Marketing
  • Business
  • Accounting
  • Media & Public Relations
  • Health Sciences (e.g. Physiology, Biology, Chemistry, Microbiology)
  • Information Technology

As such, study abroad students can choose from a wide selection of courses that fulfil either general education or major/minor credit hours (generally 12 / 15 credit hours). Learners should consult with their home institution or study abroad provider to ensure their chosen courses will transfer back to their academic program of study.

To learn more about the courses on offer at Carlow College, click here

To learn more about the courses on offer at SETU Carlow, click here

The academic program is enriched and deepened through excursions to places of cultural and historical significance. Excursions are taken to a range of iconic Irish attractions, including those listed below.

The cost of transportation and entry fees for all cultural excursions are included in the program cost.

Co. Carlow / Wexford

Dublin City

Co. Wicklow – Glendalough

Kilkenny City

Co. Kerry

Belfast City

Carlow Town

Carlow, Ireland, affectionately known as Carlow-town, is a bustling Irish country town. With a population of 25,000, Carlow is home to two colleges: SETU Carlow and Carlow College. The town is known for its great night life, has many fascinating cultural sites to explore, as well as VISUAL on the grounds of Carlow College. Carlow is well-connected to bus and train routes – with the train station just 5 minutes walk from the college, connecting you to Dublin, Kildare, Kilkenny and Waterford trains passing through regularly. There is also a bus station with many more routes to travel throughout the country. Dublin is about an hour away and is easily accessible by both train and bus.

The town is also well serviced by cafes, restaurants, bars and two shopping centres.


The cost of housing is included in the program fee. Housing is provided at Lennon House, a residence hall on the college campus. Residing at Lennon House is a requirement of the program. Each student will have a private bedroom and will share living space, kitchen, and bathroom with two or three other students. WiFi is available in the residence hall and is included in the fee. Laundry facilities are located on the premises. Bed and bath linens are provided.


Meals are not included in the program fee but there are fully functioning kitchens available for student use. Students are expected to cook or provide meals for themselves. Many students enjoy group dinners in the common area in Lennon House. Additionally, a nice selection of grocery stores and eating establishments are located within walking distance of the College.: 

Carlow College, St Patrick’s offers on-campus student accommodation for students on the Semester Abroad program in Lennon House. It is a short walk to the main college building and Carlow town centre.

Each student will have a private bedroom and will share living space, kitchen, and bathroom with two or three other students. WiFi is available in the residence hall and is included in the fee. Laundry facilities are located on the premises. Bed and bath linens are provided.

Admission Requirements

This program is open to students who have a strong interest in immersing themselves in Irish culture and heritage. Applicants must be 18 years of age or older as of the program start date. The minimum age requirement is strictly upheld. All applicants are required to complete an application form.

To be considered for admission, students must meeting the following minimum admissions requirements:

  • completed at least twelve credit hours at their home institution by the time they commence their studies at Carlow College (credits taken in AP, CLEP, IB, etc. may be counted toward the twelve-hour total);
  • obtained a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 out of a 4.0 at their home institution;
  • be a learner in good standing at their home institution;
  • obtained a grade of B or higher in a written composition course  completed at a post-secondary institution;
  • be a registered learner at an affiliated institution of Carlow College.

Carlow College welcomes applications from learners with disabilities or additional support needs. As such, Carlow College is committed to making reasonable accommodations to ensure that academic opportunities are available to all appropriately qualified applicants, irrespective of disability. Applications from learners with disabilities are subject to the same academic selection process as all applicants.

All study abroad applications are due to the International Officer at Carlow College by 15 October (Spring Term) and 15 May (Autumn Term). An application is considered complete when it includes:

  • a completed Carlow College, St. Patrick’s Semester Study Abroad Guidelines and Application Form;
  • a copy of your passport page showing your photograph and personal details;
  • certified copies of transcripts from current institution of study;
  • if your first language is not English, attach evidence of proficiency in English (IELTS Score or equivalent); find out more here: English language requirements for admission to Carlow College, St. Patrick’s
  • if you have elected to provide evidence of disability or learning differences, please submit along with your application a letter from the Disability Office (or equivalent) indicating the supports you currently receive.

Please note that the issuance of student visas is for the duration of the learners’ academic studies. As such, visas do not permit learners to remain in Ireland prior to, or after the conclusion of, the academic term.

An application is considered complete when it includes:

Carlow College will not directly process learner fees for an American student’s tuition or accommodation. All learners enrolled in The Irish Experience Program are registered through their home institution. As such, all payments for tuition and accommodation are processed through the learners’ home institution.

Carlow College will invoice affiliated institutions for Carlow College tuition and accommodation; in turn, the affiliated institutions will process tuition and accommodation payments on the learners’ behalf. For a complete program price, please contact your study abroad representative.

All incoming study abroad applicants are required to obtain a Stamp 2 Visa from the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service to study at Carlow College for one academic term or one academic year. After applicants have formally been accepted onto the program, they will receive a ‘Letter of Induction’ from the President of Carlow College. Along with this document, applicants are required to present to the Immigration Officer at Dublin Airport the following documents:

  • a ‘Letter of Induction’ validating that they are a study abroad learner at Carlow College;
  • a valid passport issued by the United States;
  • evidence of private medical insurance (arranged by your home institution); and
  • evidence of sufficient funds in the amount of €2,500 (approx $US2,600).

The Immigration Officer at Dublin Airport will stamp all passports for a period of thirty days.

Upon completion of registration at Carlow College, the International Officer at Carlow College will schedule appointments with the Carlow/Kilkenny District Immigration Officer for the application of a Stamp 2 Visa. At their designated appointment, students will present the same documents at the Garda Station that they presented to the Immigration Officer at Dublin Airport. In addition to being fingerprinted, students are required to pay an application fee in the amount of €300 payable by credit/debit card.

NOTE: Proof of Sufficient Funds

  • Proof from a foreign bank
    • You must bring 2 original bank statements from a foreign bank (i.e. your bank from the United States).
      • The first statement must show a balance of €2,500 (approx $US2,600) or equivalent (€500 per month if you are staying less than 6 months). The statement must less than 1 month old.
      • The second statement must be from the same bank. It must be less than 6 months old.
      • Both statements must be for the same account and in your own name, i.e. the same name as detailed on your passport.
    • You must also show that you have a debit card (for cash withdrawals in Ireland – cards from the US are standard and should work with no problem).
        • The debit card must be for the same bank account that has the €2,500 (or €500 per month if you are staying less than 6 months).