Irish Leaving Certificate

Leaving Certificate students can choose from a wide range of courses – from Business, Law, Engineering, Sciences, Creative and Performing Arts, Hospitality and Food, to Environmental Health, Human Nutrition, Optometry, Architecture, Planning and Construction.

You can begin your studies at Level 6, 7 or 8. Entry requirements will vary depending on your chosen course. Please refer to the individual course page for detailed entry requirements.


Leaving Certificate applicants applying for a first year, full-time undergraduate course, apply through the Central Applications Office (CAO).

The standard closing date for applications is 1st February in the year of entry (also closing date for all restricted programmes) and 1st May is the closing date for late applications. For further details please view the CAO Timetable of Events.

We also have a very small number of our courses where you’ll be required to apply directly to the University. 

A general rule of thumb is, you can move up the preferences in the next round but you can never move down. Some examples:

  • If you have been offered your first CAO choice you will not be offered another one as this is your first choice you cannot go any higher and therefore if you do not accept within the relevant timeframe you are out of the system for this year. 

  • If you have been offered a lower preference in round 1, i.e. your third choice you will never be offered a course below your third choice but depending on points changes you may be offered your second or first choice in the 2nd round or subsequent rounds. For this to happen you can accept your third choice and then wait for the next round/s to see if you have been made a higher offer.
  • If you are made a higher offer, you have the option to accept that or to stick with your acceptance.  Please note if you choose to accept your new offer via the CAO system, your previous acceptance goes straight back into the CAO system and is circulated to another student so you effectively lose any right to this once you have accepted your new place.

  • If you have made a mistake on your CAO form and you meant to put your options in a different order, there is unfortunately nothing we can do to help rectify this and you will be offered based on the preference order you have outlined.

  • If you have filled out level 8 courses and level 6/7 courses you may receive two offers - a level 8 course and a level 6/7. You choose whichever course suits you best for example: Mary has been offered her 9th level 8 choice and her 2nd level 7 choice.  She considers her options and decides that she would prefer to take the level 7 course and perhaps look to progress onto a level 8 course in the future.  Mary accepts, but she is still hoping that she may be offered a choice at level 8 that is higher than her 9th choice. In round two the points drop slightly and Mary is then offered her 7th level 8 choice which she decides she prefers and so she goes ahead and accepts her 7th level 8 choice which means she gives up her entitlement to her previous level 7 choice and this goes back into the system.

There are three main reasons why, having met the points requirement, you may not have been offered a place on a course:

  • You have not met the minimum entry requirements in terms of subjects needed to progress onto the course.

  • The course was oversubscribed and random selection by the computer system has unfortunately not allocated you a place.

  • The positioning on your list of choices.

Once each CAO round of offers has ended, students who have accepted an offer of a TU Dublin course will receive an invitation to register via email with details on how to register for their course. This email will be sent to the email address that you supplied to the CAO. Once you receive this email, you should register on our website using the username and password which will be included in your invitation to register email.

We will also send you two digital magazines which will provide lots of valuable information such as details of your orientation session to help get you off to the best start.