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Ireland Study Abroad Program at the Burren College of Art

Burren College of Art

  • Minimum GPA: 3.0 (4.0 scale)
  • Application deadlines: April 1 for fall or full year; October 15 for spring
  • Program advisor: Kendall Hook
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Program Snapshot

Burren College of Art is a Rapid Response program
What is this?

Cead Mile Failte! We’re so excited that you’re preparing to study abroad on an IFSA-Butler program and have chosen the Burren College of Art as your destination. The Burren College of Art is a great art school located on the grounds of a 16th century castle. We’re sure you’re going to love studying there!


What the Burren College of Art has to offer

  • An inspiring setting on the grounds of a restored 16th-century castle
  • An international faculty and one-on-one mentoring
  • A curriculum designed to maximum your personal development as an artist
  • Studio programs meet the requirements of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD)
  • Modern studios and a darkroom, with an emphasis on individual space
  • An art materials store on campus
  • A college cafeteria serving snacks and light meals


  • Housing is in one of two large student houses between the village and the campus, or in the village in small, comfortable cottages
  • Each has its own cooking and laundry facilities
  • Students purchase or prepare their own meals
  • A limited meal plan (hot lunch) is available on campus


  • An independent studio option allows you to work on your own under the supervision of a faculty member
  • Courses in studio arts (painting, photography and sculpture) and supplemental courses in mixed media, art in context, and art and ecology
  • Courses in supporting academic subjects: Art history, creative writing and Irish studies
  • A faculty-led trip to Dublin is included in the program fee
  • Faculty lead trips to London in the fall or to Berlin in the spring for an additional fee
  • Students take five courses per semester

We look forward to working with you! You can learn more about the Burren College of Art by visiting their website here.


Academic Structure

What are the courses like at the Burren College of Art?
Studio courses are very independent. Students work in their studio space with minimal supervision and detailed instructions. Tutors are generally available if there are questions, and assignments are due every couple of weeks. Studying at the Burren is designed to give students the opportunity to flourish with their work and explore their own ideas. Students who need close supervision and/or detailed instructions should consider other IFSA-Butler program options.

Is there anything special I should know about studying at the Burren College of Art?
Yes, attendance in class or studio is compulsory at Burren College of Art. Students must sign in each morning. Attendance for scheduled critiques and exams is also mandatory.

Will I have my own studio space?
Yes. Classes are from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., but studios are open 24 hours a day.

What facilities do students have access to?
Besides your own studio space, students have use of college facilities, such as the sculpture workshop, photographic studio, and darkrooms, and computer suite.

Does the Burren College of Art offer any trips?
Each semester there is an optional trip to the galleries, museums and sights of either London (autumn) or Paris (spring) for four days. The trips are not included in your IFSA-Butler program fee, and participants pay the Burren College of Art directly. There are also optional trips from to Belfast and other places of interest. Each semester we also provide opportunities to attend ceilis and storytelling sessions.


Where can I find a list of courses that the university offers?
You can find the Burren College of Art's online course catalog here.

  • Choose one the mediums listed to read more about the courses offered in each discipline.

What if I need to take a required course?
Please be aware that IFSA-Butler cannot guarantee that your host university will offer a particular course, or that you will be allowed to take that particular course. However, if you need to take a required course, you may indicate that it is required on your course preference form. Your IFSA-Butler program advisor will communicate your needs to your host university.

What courses am I eligible to take?

As an IFSA-Butler student, you are entitled to enroll in undergraduate courses for which you are qualified and in which space is available. Course descriptions in the online course catalog (see above) include prerequisites you must fulfill in order to enroll in each course.


How many courses am I able to take, and how do I determine U.S. semester credit hours?
IFSA-Butler requires students to enroll in a full course load at the host institution as defined by IFSA-Butler. The number of courses you take depends on the credit value of the courses you select. At Burren College of Art, each course is worth three U.S. semestcredit hours. Students must take five courses for a total of 15 U.S. semester credit hours per semester.


The course preference form is not a registration form; it is a guideline to let your host university know which courses you are interested in taking abroad. You should discuss your course selections with your academic advisor at your home institution and have several backup choices in mind. Accepted students will receive their provisional schedule shortly after an admissions decision is made. This schedule will be based on the courses listed on the course preference form.

What are the registration conditions?
You must take a full Burren College of Art course load as determined by IFSA-Butler. Credit will be awarded on a Butler University transcript based on a typical U.S. full course load. All courses are graded on an A-F scale, and there is no provision for pass/fail or auditing courses unless pass/fail is the only method of assessment for the course. You are not allowed to register for online, distance education or hybrid courses.

You should also be aware that you may be charged additional fees by your home institution or host university to take or process additional credits. Taking less than a full course load may jeopardize your student status and result in personal academic repercussions and/or loss of financial aid.


What do I need to know about exams?
Because of the differences in the academic systems, you will not know your exam schedule until after you arrive at your host university. Please refer to your program calendar to review the exam period for your host university. Your host university's policies do not permit you to reschedule any exams, request alternate assessments or arrange to have your exams proctored in the United States. If this occurs, IFSA-Butler cannot assist you in conducting a grade appeal or academic follow-up for the course in which you made this arrangement. You will need to complete and submit all academic work prior to departing the program.


How will my home university know what my classes were and what grades I received?
After you have returned to the U.S., your home university will receive a Butler University transcript with the credit you earned at the Burren College of Art. The Butler University transcript will report the equivalent U.S. semester credit hours and letter grades. We also will send an official transcript to your permanent address.


Housing Options

Students at the Burren College of Art will be housed in self-catering cottages convenient to the college and village of Ballyvaughan. These cottages are bright houses with all modern facilities. All housing has fully equipped kitchens with oven, microwave, dishwasher and laundry facilities. Each house has three to four bedrooms, with students sharing rooms. Bedding is provided and consists of a duvet (comforter), pillows and two sets of bed linens. No towels are provided.

Housing FAQs

Is my housing included in the program fee?
Yes. Your program fee includes accommodation at the university while classes are in session. You will be responsible for the cost of your meals (whether a meal plan or self-catered) and any commuting costs you may incur. Some university housing requires students to move out during winter and spring breaks. If you wish to remain in residence during the vacation period(s), you must notify the university housing office upon arrival to make necessary arrangements. Staying in residence during university breaks may incur additional costs not covered by the IFSA-Butler program fee.

When will I receive my housing assignment?
You will most likely receive your housing assignment one to two weeks before your departure. However, in some cases you may not receive your housing assignment until you arrive in Scotland for orientation. Your program advisor will notify you of your housing assignment via e-mail when it is released by the university.

Please keep in mind that while IFSA-Butler guarantees housing, we cannot guarantee your preferences.

Can I arrange my own housing?
Yes. IFSA-Butler recognizes that some students require independent housing for their time abroad. If you choose not to take advantage of our guaranteed housing, you may sign up for independent housing on the housing preference form. Once you've made this choice, we will not provide housing for you or bill you for the accommodation fee.

Please be advised that housing costs can be high abroad, and many times students living independently end up spending more money than students living in IFSA-Butler arranged housing. If you are hoping to save money by arranging housing on your own, please research your options early so you can compare costs. You must notify us of your intention to live in independent housing by the program application deadline for your term abroad, listed at the top of this page. We are not able to accommodate independent housing requests after the deadline.

What is the social life like in Ballyvaughan?
For such a small place, Ballyvaughan (population 450) is very lively socially and artistically. There are two reasons for this: The residents are very sociable and the village attracts many visitors from around the world. This small village has a cosmopolitan population, which includes numerous artists, writers and musicians. The area has attracted creative people since the times of WB Yeats, who lived nearby.

There are 11 places to dine out locally, five of them being pubs or bars. The pub is a different sort of institution from those found in cities: There is no expectation that you will consume alcohol and a cup of tea is as much a favorite as Guinness. Rowdy behavior in these places is largely unknown. The Burren is a center for traditional Irish music, and music can be heard in pubs and bars throughout the year. During the summer, the village is full of music! It is possible to join in traditional Irish dancing locally. Students are always made welcome at the community events that are organized periodically.

Location Info

Population: 450
Location:County Clare, in the west of Ireland

Village features

  • Thatched-roof cottages reflecting traditional life in Ireland
  • Restaurants, pubs and traditional music
  • Friendly, welcoming residents

Do more!

  • Explore the beauty of the Burren, a source of inspiration to poets, novelists, painters, sculptors, musicians and playwrights
  • Enjoy traditional Irish music and gorgeous views in nearby Lisdoonvarna, the Aran Islands and the Cliffs of Moher
  • Take a bus from Ballyvaughan to Galway City, an hour away

Visit Ballyvaughan
Burren National Park
Cliffs of Moher
Aran Islands
Discover Galway

Dates & Fees

Program Dates

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Students must have a round trip ticket to enter the country. Please use the program end date when initially booking your return. 

Your program end date may change due to circumstances beyond IFSA-Butler's control. Upon arrival at your host university, be sure to verify your exam schedule and program end date. We also strongly recommend that you investigate fees and penalties associated with your airline tickets in case you need to make date or route changes.

Program housing is available only until the program end date.

Exams must be taken where and when scheduled. Under no circumstances may students request that an exam time be changed. In Ireland, exams are taken under formal examination conditions and changes cannot be made for individuals. 

Program Fees

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What's included in our Ireland program fees
Expense calculator

Academic Year and Fall Payments Due: July 1
Spring Payment Due:
November 15

Program Fee Bills
IFSA-Butler will send a single bill for tuition, services and housing. Any bills for tuition differentials and/or supplemental housing fees will be sent separately. Students who opt for independent housing will not be charged the housing component of the program fee.

The housing component of our program fee is based on the average cost of local student self-catering accommodation, usually a shared room in a regular dormitory, apartment or house without any extra features.

Personal Cost Estimates

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Expense calculator

These figures are designed to assist students with financial planning but are only estimates based on past students’ experiences at the current exchange rate. They do not include any entertainment or vacation travel costs. Meals are estimated based on the cost of a weekly standard grocery shop with one or two meals out.  If you plan to eat out once a day or more, we recommend using a higher estimate.  If you have dietary restrictions or follow a specific diet (gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, organic, etc), you may also wish to budget more due to the higher cost of specialty food items.

The above numbers are general estimates of expenses during a program abroad. We recommend taking into account your current spending habits, the cost of living in your host country and the current exchange rate. Your IFSA-Butler program advisor can be helpful as you attempt to work on a personal budget for your experience abroad.

Personal Miscellaneous: Covers general expenses of college life, including course supplies, photocopying, toiletries, snacks, personal care, etc.

Commuting: Estimates are for transportation between housing and university. Transportation for personal or recreational purposes is not included in the above estimates.

* U.S. citizens do not need to apply for a visa to study in the Republic of Ireland. However, citizens of certain countries may need to do so. If this applies to you, you will be notified by your IFSA-Butler program advisor. All students, regardless of citizenship, will need to register with the Garda (Irish police) upon arrival in the Republic of Ireland. Registration will cost €300 (approximately $400).

All costs are in U.S. dollars.

Meet Your IFSA-Butler Team

IFSA-Butler has a dedicated team of staff who are here to help students prepare for their program in Ireland:

kendallProgram Advisor Kendall Hook assists with the application process and is here to answer program, cultural and academic questions before departure. Kendall studied abroad twice during her undergraduate career, in Florence, Italy for a summer term, and London, England for a semester internship program. In addition, she has personally traveled all over Europe and the U.K. She graduated from Baylor University and completed a Master’s degree in Higher Education Administration from Vanderbilt University, specifically concentrating on International Education Policy Management. She is very excited to help students find their fit, plan their own study abroad adventures and help them step outside of their comfort zone. She can be reached at the email link above or at 800-858-0229, ext. 4205.

altStudent Accounts Coordinator Angelita Shaffer assists with the financial side of study abroad and processes payments and invoices. Angelita can be reached at the email link above or at 317-940-4221.




donnettaStudent & Parent Services Manager Donnetta Spears is available to both students and parents for travel questions and information. Donnetta has worked with IFSA-Butler since 2000, and she has traveled through parts of Europe, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand. As the mother of 4 college students (including one who studied abroad on an IFSA-Butler program), she has a deep understanding of the ins-and-outs of study abroad from a parent perspective. Donnetta can be reached at the email link above or at 317-940-4252.

Once abroad, our students are in the capable hands of our on-site office in Dublin. Click here to read more about Resident Director Maria Keane.

abbyAcademic Records Coordinator Abby Miller graduated from Butler University where she worked as a guide for international students from all over the world. From that experience and combined with her own world travels, she knows the amazing experiences that studying abroad can provide. Abby is excited to work with IFSA-Butler students and to help answer any questions about their academic records. Abby can be reached at the email link above or at 800-858-0229, ext. 4217.

Get Connected

Connect with IFSA-Butler Students

If you really want to know what it's like to study abroad, connect with IFSA-Butler alumni and students who are currently abroad on an IFSA-Butler program. Check out the following:

Institute for Study Abroad, Alliance For Global Education and MORE CULTURE. LESS SHOCK. are registered marks of the Institute for Study Abroad, Inc.