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international programs

Cork, Ireland

program description


The City

Cork was founded in the 6th century on the banks of the River Lee. Its history has been influenced by various cultures, among them the Danes and the Vikings who turned the seaport city into a thriving center of commerce. An independent county since 1922, Cork is today Ireland’s second largest city with a population of over 200,000. The region maintains a rich literary, archaeological, and cultural heritage and offers an art gallery, opera house, music school, theaters, and a museum. Among its noted authors are Frank O’Connor, Sean O’Faolain, and Daniel Corkery. Relaxed yet vibrant, Cork hosts international jazz, film, choral, and folk festivals. Visitors appreciate its hospitality and rich cultural traditions.

The University

University College Cork (UCC), founded in 1845, has been closely linked to Boston College for over 20 years. A short walk from the downtown area, the main campus is located on a picturesque hillside near the ocean and countryside. It is noteworthy for its well-wooded grounds surrounding Gothic revival-style buildings of the Main Quadrangle. Of special note is The Lewis Glucksman Gallery, Ireland’s newest art space, recently named “Best Public Building” in Ireland by The Royal Institute of British Architects.

UCC caters to over 15,000 undergraduate and graduate students in four colleges, with strong programs in the arts.

The Program

Students are integrated into the Irish university system and choose from classes in the humanities, business law, and science. The September Early Start program for fall semester and full-year students is a four week introduction to archaeology in Ireland, Irish literatures, historical and modern Ireland, Irish folklore and ethnology, law, music, as well as management and marketing in the European Union. An introduction to Irish ecosystems combines class meetings and field trips to provide an innovative academic and practical approach to Irish culture. For Irish studies minors at BC, UCC offers a first-semester senior-year course that includes studies in archaeology, ethnography, folklore, anthropology, and advanced work in Irish history and literature.

For students studying during the Spring semester, the BC on-site coordinator teaches a three-credit Irish Studies course that combines classroom lectures with excursions, in and around Cork. The course is mandatory for all Spring semester students.

The certificate "Political Issues in Ireland Today" runs during the spring semester and is especially designed for visiting international students. It provides a comprehensive introduction to the issues dominating the region’s political debates and examines the unique political systems of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The certificate program includes trips to Belfast and Dublin.

Academic support

The BC site coordinator meets weekly with students to provide support. In addition, during the Spring semester he teaches a mandatory Irish Studies course.


Students stay off campus in flats, digs (lodging with a family), or apartment-style housing. Although most accommodations are same-sex, there are some coed apartments. Students staying a full year may be able to acquire on-campus housing.


Social and artistic societies range from chorale to volleyball and Gaelic sports. The International Student Society organizes excursions to destinations such as Killarney, Galway, and the Aran Islands. Monthly activities organized by the BC on-site coordinator bring together BC students with their counterparts studying in other parts of Ireland. Trips include weekend excursions to Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking) areas, archaeological sites, and Dublin.


A small number of internship opportunities are available for BC students. Applications for internships should be submitted by May 31 of the year prior to study abroad.