Student engagement is a key predictor of academic performance, persistence and retention in higher education. While many studies have identified how aspects of the college environment influence engagement, fewer have specifically focused on emotional intelligence (EI). In this study, we sought to explore whether EI could predict cognitive and/or affective engagement in a sample of undergraduate psychology students in Ireland. Ninety-one students completed two forms of the student engagement instrument, rating current engagement and retrospective secondary school engagement, along with the trait EI (TEI) questionnaire. After controlling for academic ability, gender and school engagement, multiple regression analyses found TEI to be a positive predictor of both cognitive and affective engagement. Previous academic performance acted as an additional predictor of cognitive engagement, while retrospective affective school engagement predicted current affective engagement. These results suggest that interventions aimed at increasing EI may have positive implications for many aspects of student engagement, and hence performance at third level.