Semester Programs

  • students by Tullycross sign



Ireland is a small island country with a rich and varied history. While it is a "Western" and English-speaking nation with some of the historical factors, traditions, and values shared with other Western nations, ours included, there are significant differences. The Ireland Program provides students with the opportunity to live and travel abroad in order to experience these differences, while at the same time earning a full semester's academic credit. The program has always focused on the goal of in-depth experience of another culture, culture as rich and varied as its countryside. To achieve the cultural immersion objective, we have designed the academics, excursions, housing, and community engagement opportunities to interrelate and intensify the immersion experience.
Since the program was established in 1972, hundreds of students have taken advantage of this unique program, and many feel it has been the highlight of their college experience. Read full details about the Study Away in Ireland program here.

Estimated Cost: $8,000 *
The program cost includes:

  • Roundtrip airfare
  • Housing/utility costs
  • Ireland residency permit
  • Excursions and field trips
  • Health/travel insurance

* Cost is in addition to Aquinas tuition and subject to change (exact cost will be confirmed in the contract). Aquinas housing and meal fees are waived for this semester and scholarships are available.


Students participate during the spring semester and earn at least 12 credit hours through the following required courses (a maximum of 15 semester hours for this semester is recommended to allow for travel, community living experiences, and cultural assimilation):

  • IR 240: Contemporary Issues in Ireland (4 credits)
    This course introduces students to current events and social issues that impact the lives of the Irish today. Special attention is paid to those issues with current topical or local relevance. Excursions to pertinent sites as selected by the instructor are also included.
  • IR 260: Irish Culture and Identity (4 credits)
    This course introduces students to various ways Irish identity has been expressed in selected aspects of Irish culture, particularly folk culture and traditions, and how what it means to be Irish changes over time and across various groups. Special emphasis will be paid to the flowering of cultural and national identity as expressed in culture from the late 19th century to today.
  • IR 310: Special Topics Course in Ireland (4 credits)
    Intensive study of Irish topics to be determined by instructor - varies based on which instructor(s) are on-site.

Optional elective courses include:

  • KN 184: Hiking Elective (1 credit)
    In this course, students take various hikes in and around Tully Cross and other National Parks in Ireland. 
  • CL 395: Community Aides Internship (3 credits)
    This course aims to offer participants an internship experience within the local community of Tully Cross. This course will be coordinated in partnership with Connemara West, a community-owned and managed rural development non-profit organization. The organization has myriad programs in the Tully Cross area including conservation efforts; library; community radio; cultural center and events; and educational, research and recreation programs.
  • EN 399: Teachers Aide in Ireland National Schools (3 credits)
    This course affords a unique opportunity for students in the Education program at Aquinas to work weekly in Irish schools. There are four National Schools (preschool through elementary) within a three-mile radius of the Aquinas College Study Center in Tully Cross. These are two-room schools with one room for the upper levels (grades 4-6), and one for the lower (grades K-3).  Past Aquinas students have found the experience as an excellent way to obtain international classroom experience and a great way to get to know people -- teachers, students, and their families -- in the community.
  • Independent study (credit varies)
    Students may arrange additional electives through independent study contracts with Aquinas faculty if they wish. Arrangements should be made with the resident faculty directors, the Aquinas faculty member with whom they wish to do the independent study, and the student’s faculty advisor. The arrangements must conform to the standards set for an independent study on campus. Students cannot take more than 18 credit hours in a semester without a financial fee.

See Irish Studies Minor


Excursions and field trips are taken to relevant sites around Ireland. The cost for these excursions are included in the program fee and are selected by the instructor, so they can vary year-to-year. Past excursions have taken place to Galway, Belfast, Kylemore Abbey, Crevykeel Cross Roads, Northern Ireland (Derry, the Giant’s Causeway), Dunluce Castle, Burren National Park, Cahir Castle, the Cliffs of Moher and more!  Additionally, students have the opportunity to do additional travel or excursions on their own during some weekends and during their spring/Easter break - these would not be included in the program fee. 


buildings in Ireland with a rainbow
Students and faculty stay in accommodations located in the community of Tully Cross, Ireland and rent/utility fees are typically covered by the program fees.  Additionally, all accommodations have kitchen access so students are able to cook meals for themselves.

AQ in the Irish News
The RTE (Irish National Radio) broadcast on July 21, 2014, highlighted Connemara West (AQ's main Irish partner for the Ireland Program), its successes in community engagement, and Aquinas' influential role in that success. Connemara West owns and manages the cottages which serve as the campus for our Ireland Program. Connemara West also spearheads many rural community development organizations in the areas of Tully Cross and Letterfrack. Many of these organizations host Aquinas students as interns during the Ireland Program semester. The program aired on 'Today with Sean O'Rourke.' This is RTE's most popular mid-morning radio show with 312,000 people tuning in.

Read a blog post by Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of Aquinas Ireland Study Abroad Program Michael J. Lorr about connecting rural and urban sustainability.

Learn more about Aquinas' commitment to all things Irish here.

Student-made Guidebook: Advice and Information about studying abroad in the Emerald Isle