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Photo by Cierra Thomas
2017-18 Irish American Scholar


Photo by Carolina Sanchez
2017-18 Irish American Scholar


Photo by Annie Rogers
2017-18 Irish American Scholar


Photo by Emily Titsworth
2017-18 Irish American Scholar


Photo by Katelynn Gilbert
2017-18 Irish American Scholar

The Irish American Scholars Program

The Irish American Scholars program provides a tuition-free opportunity for qualifited students at APCU member schools to study abroad at one of five universities in Northern Ireland for one or two semesters. Since its inception in 1995, more than 1,500 students have participated in this prestigious program.

Students in their sophomore and junior years at participating APCU schools may apply to study in Northern Ireland in the following academic year. Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.2 and submit an application packet prior to February 1. The packet should include: 

  • The completed IAS application form
  • A 500-word essay about you and why you would like to study in Northern Ireland
  • A current transcript from your college/university (does not have to be official)
  • Two references from faculty (typically your primary academic advisor and one other) 

Your school's study-abroad advisor can nominate up to three students and then submit the application materials electronically. Each application is reviewed by representatives of the five participating schools in Northern Ireland and the executive director of the APCU. Students are then accepted into the program and placed at one of the five schools based on the availability of space, the program of study, and the preferred semester (fall or spring). Placements are final and cannot be changed.

Click here for more details about the Irish American Scholars program and for current application materials.

Program History

The Irish American Scholars program was created through the peace and reconciliation work done by Presbyterian and Catholic church leaders in the Northern Ireland during the early 1990s. This work also led to the development of a study abroad program that enables students in Northern Ireland to study at U.S. institutions affiliated with the Presbyterian, Methodist and Catholic churches. That program is called StudyUSA and is funded through the British Council, United Kingdom’s international organization for cultural relations and education.

Both programs are designed to help participating students experience and appreciate different culturals, faith traditions and academic programs. 

Financial Considerations

Tuition and fees are waived for Irish American Scholars at their host institutions in Northern Ireland. However, participating students are responsible for costs associated with travel, housing, food, books and living expenses. Some of these costs may be covered by student financial aid through the home (U.S.) college or university.

Note that Irish American Scholars may still be obligated to register and pay some amount of tuition at their home college or university during their semester abroad. Please check with an international advisor to confirm any potential obligations.

IAS Essay Contest

The APCU sponsors an annual essay contest for students participating in the Irish American Scholars Program. Interested students are asked to submit a brief essay--along with photos/videos--that tell the story of their experiences as Irish American Scholars. Essay topics can range from your initial packing and travel arrangements, to your feelings about studying abroad, to your classroom experiences, to your social/cultural interactions (or some combination of these)!  

Photos from last year's contestants are featured on this page and in the YouTube video below. The 2017-18 essay contest winner, Annie Rogers from the University of the Ozarks, is pictured to the left of this section.

The 2017-18 Irish American Scholars Experience 

Host Institutions

The academic programs, faculty and campus facilities at the host institutions are of high quality and students can expect a fulfilling academic and social experience at any of them. Check out the school websites for more information and to assess which of them would be a good fit:

    Association of Presbyterian Colleges & Universities
    Agnes Scott College, Box 1102
    141 E. College Avenue | Decatur, GA 30030
    470.443.1948  |