Undergraduate Admissions FAQ

Undergraduate Admissions FAQ

Entry Requirements / Matriculation

Question Answer
What does Matriculation mean? Matriculation refers to the minimum requirements for entry to the University, often referred to as Entry Requirements. Before you can be considered eligible for admission you must meet DCU minimum entry requirements.  Applicants who satisfy the minimum entry requirements are ranked for admission in order of merit on the basis of their results in their school leaving examinations. 
What are the minimum entry requirements for Irish Leaving Certificate Applicants?

Leaving Certificate applicants are required to have a minimum of six Leaving Certificate subjects at Grade 06/H7, to include the subjects English OR Irish AND the subject Mathematics. Applicants must present at least two subjects at grade H5. In addition, applicants are required to have programme entry requirements

Applicants applying for our Bachelor of Education programme are required to have a minimum of H5 in at least three subjects and a minimum of 06/H7 in three other subjects, to include minimum of H4 in Irish; O4 or H7 in English; O4 or H7 in Mathematics.

What are the minimum entry requirements for A level applicants? Applicants are required to have 2 x Grade C at GCE A-Level plus 4 x Grade C at GCSE Level which must include the subjects Mathematics and English (or Irish). In addition, applicants are required to have programme entry requirements
If I am repeating my Leaving Certificate, do I need to take all my subjects again? Applicants can combine the results of Leaving Certificate examinations obtained in different years for matriculation purposes. However, this applies to matriculation only, points are only calculated on results from one year only. Please ensure you advise the CAO about all your Leaving Certificate sittings when applying.

Can I get an exemption from Irish?

Proof of an Irish exemption is not a requirement at DCU, as DCU entry request either English or Irish as a general entry requirement

Do you accept Foundation Irish? The Leaving Certificate subject ‘Gaeilge – Bonnleaibhéal’ (Irish-Foundation Level) is not acceptable for matriculation registration purposes.
Do you accept Leaving Certificate Foundation Maths? The university does not award points for the subject of Mathematics at Leaving certificate Foundation Level. This subject will be accepted for Admission purposes for some courses, please see our online prospectus for a list of courses.
What languages will meet the language requirement? All languages currently offered in the Irish Leaving Certificate meet the general language entry requirement for DCU programmes. Please note, not all programmes require a language other than Irish or English. Please see course finder for specific language requirement.
Do you accept the LCVP (Leaving Cert Vocational Programme)?

LCVP link modules cannot be used as a subject for general or specific course entry requirements, but can be used for the calculation of points.

Points are awarded as follows:

Distinction: 66; Merit: 46; Pass: 28

Do you accept BTEC in combination with A levels? DCU does not accept a combination of  BTEC qualifications with A-levels. 

CAO Applications

Question Answer
How do I apply?

Applicants presenting qualifications from Ireland, the UK and Europe apply via the Central Applications Office (CAO).

All other applicants apply through the International Office as a Non-EU applicant. 

What is the closing date for CAO application? The normal CAO closing date is 1st February, but there is a discount for applying by 20th January online.
There is a late closing date of 1st May but this is not available for restricted courses or for some categories of applicants i.e. mature. There is a special late closing date of 22nd July for students registered in DCU or another HEI who wish to transfer to the first year of a course.
What is a restricted application course?

A restricted application course is one for which you must apply by 1st February. This is usually because there is an additional test or assessment involved. 

HEARDARE and Mature applicants must also apply by 1st February. 

DC004 - Closing date 1st February. Eligible candidates are required to complete an online supplementary form. 

I've put in my CAO application and forgot to put down a restricted course - what can I do? CAO has a window after 1st February when you can correct errors or omissions (usually up to 1 March). Any changes made during this time frame are deemed "on time".
What documents do I need to send to CAO?

You need to send

  • Results of school-leaving exams other than Irish Leaving Certificate
  • Results of Irish Leaving Certificate pre 1985
  • Transcripts of any previous third level or Certificate of attendance if you left without taking examinations.
  • Personal statement if applying as a mature applicant.

In addition, applicants applying via HEAR or DARE will need supporting documentation.

Should I send copies of the documents or originals?

You should NOT send originals. Documents should be certified copies.

My documents are not in English, do I need a translation? A certified English translation is required for any results and qualifications not issued in Irish or English. You should still send a copy of the untranslated version
I'm a school-leaver who didn't apply by 1 February; can I make a late application?

Yes you can apply to the CAO up to 1st May if the course you are applying for is not restricted i.e. DC111.

HEARDARE and Mature applicants must also apply by 1st February. 

I'm a mature applicant, who didn't apply by 1 February; can I make a late application?

To be assessed as a mature applicant, you should apply by 1st February.

To be assessed based on other qualifications only i.e. QQI/FET or Leaving Certificate, an application can be accepted by 1st May.


Mature Applicant

I am a Mature Applicant, how do I apply for a course in DCU?

Normally Mature applicants should be 23 years of age on or before 1st January in the year of entry and must apply to the CAO by 1st February at www.cao.ie

The Mature application form (part of the CAO application form) must be completed by 1st March. Assessment is based on the CAO application and in some instances, an assessment and/or interview. 'Other' experience, apart from performance in examinations, may be taken into consideration - this may be work experience, further studies, or other such experience deemed to be relevant to the application. Interviews normally take place in April either in person or remotely.

For some programmes, mature applicants are required to present the entry requirements as outlined in the prospectus such as Leaving Certificate Science or Mathematics. 

I am a mature applicant, what should be included with my application?

Mature Applicants need to provide supplementary information. Supplementary information such as examination results, a CV and a personal statement must be sent to CAO and/or completed online on your CAO application form. Further information is available on here

If you are applying for any of the following programmes there are additional steps:

  • DC002 Bachelor of Education (mature applicants only) are require to complete a Mature Supplementary form which will be emailed to you by the CAO Mid March.
  • Mature entry nursing candidates (DC215-DC218), are assessed by the Nursing Careers Centre (NCC) of An Bord Altranais agus Cnáimhseachais na hÉireann (Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland, NMBI). For details please visit: www.nursingcareers.ie or email: careersinformation@NMBI.ie to request a copy of their nursing and careers booklet. 

The CAO Handbook contains useful advice regarding the application process. You should read it carefully, taking particular note of the sections about mature student applications.

There are many supports available to Mature applicants pre and post entry.

How are applications on grounds of mature years assessed? The relevant Programme Board evaluates applications for their courses. Generally, the Programme Board is looking for evidence of academic ability, interest and motivation in doing the course for which you have applied. It is vital that applicants ensure all supporting documentation is submitted to CAO in time for the programme board to assess your application.
I am a mature applicant, when will I know the outcome of my application?

Offers for mature applicants will issue via CAO in Round A (early July) and must be accepted by the deadline date.

Successful applicants will receive notification of an offer from CAO when the round issues.

If a conditional offer is made to an applicant, our admissions office will contact you in advance to advise you of the condition i.e. pending results of a course you are currently undertaking. Once you meet the condition, you will be made an offer in a subsequent round i.e. round O or A. 

Please note that, in accordance with CAO procedures, applicants will only be offered their highest successful preference so it is extremely important that you fill out your CAO choices in order of genuine preference.

FET/QQI Applicants

Question Answer
I am a FET/QQI Applicant, how do I apply?

FET/QQI Applicants can apply via the Central Applications Office (CAO) by 1st February or by the late date of 1st May.


I am a QQI/FET applicant, how am I assessed?

Applicants who have a full NFQ level 5 award in appropriate qualifications and modules can be admitted on a competitive basis to certain DCU courses. Applicants are required to have;

  • Full FET/QQI Level 5 Certification must be achieved in one single sitting.
  • FE/QQI awards are normally made up of eight minor awards, commonly known as modules.
  • Five distinctions from the eight modules must be achieved

The FET/QQI entry route is a competitive entry route with a limited number of places. A quota of places are offered based on the CAO ranked order of applicants based on performance. To review how an applicant is scored, please click here.

For programmes with a QQI entry route, approximately 10% of places are retained for QQI applicants. To review the QQI requirements for DCU programmes, please click hereTo view 2022 DCU FET/QQI statistics, please click here.

EU Applicants 

Question  Answer 
I am an EU applicant presenting a qualification within the EU, how do I apply?

Applicants presenting EU qualifications from outside Ireland should apply through CAO by 1st February. All applicants must present general entry and programme entry requirements as outlined in the DCU prospectus.

All applicants to DCU must present a pass in Mathematics and a pass in English. EU qualifications are manually calculated in to a Leaving Certificate points equivalent. Eligible applicants compete using the points calculated and all offers are made through CAO in mid August.

For those presenting an EU qualifications from a country outside Ireland or the UK, please use the following guide to review the approved EU qualifications and criteria for assessment of these qualifications. 

Further information can be found here

Non EU Applicants

Question Answer
I am an applicant presenting a qualification outside of the EU. How do I apply?

Applicants presenting Non-EU School Leaving examinations (except for Nursing) should apply directly to DCU here Closing date for applications is 1st July. 

Applications are processed by the DCU International Office.

For further information, please visit the International Office webpage

I've applied as a non-EU applicant. When will I know the decision?  Decisions are made on an on-going basis, so if all your documentation is complete, you will be notified of the outcome of your application by our International Office, within a few working days.

Transfer Applicants

Question Answer
I am a 1st year  Student in DCU, can I transfer internally to another course in DCU?

Some students may find that their chosen programme of study is not suitable for them. In some cases, students may be allowed to transfer internally onto another programme in the University. Please ensure to read the internal transfer form and guidelines in detail, as there are strict application rules and deadlines. The online application form can be found using the following link: Transfer Form

Applications are accepted from 1st May. Please note this form is only for students looking to transfer to year one of another programme.

I failed my first year, can I apply to transfer?

If you have not successfully passed your current programme, you can apply for another course at www.cao.ie. Applicants must meet programme entry requirements and the points for your chosen course.

If you are registered in DCU or in other Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), you can use the CAO change of mind facility up to 22nd July. You must use a paper form and you must get the form stamped by your current HEI to say you are a student.

I have been offered a course in DCU  but I'd prefer to do a different DCU course - Can I apply to transfer? 

It might be possible to transfer at the end of the CAO Season if places remain in the course.

Applicants must have attained the leaving certificate points for the programme they wish to enter and have met the specific programme entry requirements. (CAO points can be checked at the following linkClosing date Early October.

I am currently taking a course in another University, can I apply to transfer to DCU. 

Candidates taking higher education studies at another institution who are seeking to transfer onto a programme of study at DCU must apply directly to the CAO by the 1st May.

Full documentation, including course syllabus and transcripts, must be included in the application. An interview may be required as part of the application assessment.

Applications are made through CAO Advanced Entry route. Transfer applications are not accepted to all programmes. Please see programme requirements under relevant programme pages here. For further information on eligibility for applying as a transfer applicant, please click on this link

Covid Related FAQ - Undergraduate applicants can read the information below and contact ugadmissions@dcu.ie if you have any further questions.

Question Answer
Will the current restrictions affect my application to DCU?

DCU applications are being managed in the usual way. Applicants presenting qualifications from Ireland, the UK and Europe apply via the Central Applications Office (CAO)

All other applicants apply through the International Office as a Non-EU applicant. 

If you are applying directly to DCU for a Transfer or Advanced Entry, please apply through the CAO Advanced Entry Route or email ugadmissions@cu.ie for more information.

We are monitoring the situation closely and will update these FAQs as more information becomes available.

Do I have to attend campus for my assessment/interview? For programmes where this applies, temporary arrangements have been put in place to facilitate remote assessments/interviews. In line with previous years, all applicants will be contacted by email in relation to assessments/interviews. This remote arrangement will be kept under review.
My school is assessing my final examinations/or providing my final results in a different way than in previous years. Will DCU accept my final school examinations in 2021?

In cases where 2021 examinations are cancelled or the mode of assessment is changed due to the current pandemic we will continue to accept the results if they are formally issued by the examining body (and the examination is one which we normally recognise), in accordance with the timelines for 2021 admissions.

However, we will keep the situation under review and if there is a significant difference in relative grade distribution between an EU examination and the 2021 Leaving Certificate results, we reserve the right to implement a Numerus Clausus (see page 12). If you require further information about this, please contact the undergraduate admissions team by email on ugadmissions@dcu.ie.

I am unable to take my English language test because the IELTS test centres are closed, how will this affect me? The university accepts several English language tests. Please refer to the published English Language Requirements which can be found here.
If I am unable to take up my place for any reason, is it possible to defer my place until next year? Please contact the undergraduate admissions team by email on ugadmissions@dcu.ie for further information about the deferral process. It may not be possible to accommodate all deferral requests. 

NON EU Applicants

Undergraduate Non EU applicants, should contact the International Office by email on international@dcu.ieFurther information is available on their websitehttps://www.dcu.ie/international/index.shtml.

What happens when Leaving Certificate / A Level Results are Issued

Question Answer

What will this year's points be?

Will the points go up or down? 

Points are based on the number of places available and competition for those places in any given year. As a reference point, you can use the CAO points chart to give you an idea of what the points were last year, but points can change year on year. It is for that reason applicants are advised to make their CAO choices based on genuine preference
Will I get bonus points for taking Higher Mathematics? 25 additional points will be awarded for a grade H6 or better in Leaving Certificate Mathematics, where that subject is one of the six subjects being counted for points purposes.

For details on how it applies to EU examinations, please see the Guide for EU applicants

I'm going to repeat my Leaving Cert/A level. I've already passed a required subject. Do I need to repeat it?

No - Entry/matriculation requirements can be combined over any number of years provided your points are only taken from one year. Please supply details of your leaving cert to the CAO for all years when you make your application.

I have got my A-level results. How can I tell if I've got enough points? Information about how points are calculated is available on our website. Points will not be known until offers are made in round 1. Please ensure that you meet the subject requirements for the course.



Question  Answer
How can I tell how many points I've got? You should be able to see your points score under the course code on your CAO online application. If there is an asterisk beside it this means you've been deemed ineligible, probably because you haven't met one of the subject requirements.
I got offered my 1st preference but I'd really prefer my 2nd, what can I do?

The CAO system operates on the basis that the highest choice on your CAO form is the one you want most.

This means that, you will receive an offer of the course highest up on your course choices list(s) that you are deemed eligible for, if any. For example, if you receive your first preference Level 8 course in Round One you will not receive an offer for a lower Level 8 preference in subsequent rounds. If you receive an offer of your third preference course you may still receive an offer of your second or first preference course in a subsequent round of offers, but you will not receive an offer of your fourth preference course or lower.
However you should check the CAO website for the list of courses with "Available Places" as there may be something there of interest to you.

I've just got an offer. Can you send me some information about it?

Congratulations on your offer of a place DCU. We will email you shortly after you accept your place on the CAO. Please ensure you have access to the email address you supplied to the CAO. Further information regarding Orientation and Registration can be found at our CAO Hub
How do I defer my place?  You may request deferral to next year for most undergraduate courses. There is no guarantee that a deferral will be permitted as there is a limit to the number of deferrals we can grant. Deferrals will not be permitted if you want to attend another course of more than 1 year’s duration. Please contact the undergraduate admissions team by email on ugadmissions@dcu.ie for further information about the deferral process.
Can I defer for more than one year? Deferral is normally allowed for one year only. 
Will I get an offer in the next round? Unfortunately it is not possible to predict if offers will be made in subsequent rounds. It depends whether all the places are filled at the end of the current round. DCU aim to fill all courses in round 1, we offer more than the number of places based on our history of acceptance rates.
I've been offered my first preference but would really prefer a lower one?

Unfortunately, you can never be offered a lower preference.

However, if you have accepted a place on a DCU course, it may be possible for you to transfer internally, if places remain. 

There is an * beside the points for a course. What does this mean? This means that everybody above the points listed has been offered a place but we were not able to offer places to everybody on the points listed at this stage. So random selection was used to select from the applicants at that points score. Please see page 31 of the CAO handbook for details on random selection. We will not know until after the closing date if we will be able to offer to the rest of the applicants on those points.

I'm a HEAR applicant and I think I'm within the points range but I didn't get an offer?

  • DCU allocate up to 10% of first year places on ALL courses at reduced points entry to students entering through the HEAR/Access DCU routes. Please refer  to DCU Prospectus for a list of courses and number of places per course (p246 onwards)
  • candidates achieving the highest points nearest the course cut-off, i.e. 1 point from cut-off reducing down until the quota is filled. We will not offer below 300 points.
  • Students who achieve on or above the points are deemed to be merit candidates and automatically receive a DCU HEAR offer - this does not affect the quota for reduced points places.
I'm a DARE applicant and I think I'm within the points range but I didn't get an offer?

DCU reserves 5% on programmes for eligible DARE applicants, some programmes with *Restricted Entry are excluded from DARE.

For eligible DARE applicants to be considered for a place in DCU they must obtain:

  • General Entry Requirements AND
  • Achieve any relevant specific programme requirements AND
  • Achieve a minimum of 300 points and get within 75 CAO points to be considered for DARE in DCU, as DCU applies a maximum point reduction of 75 points for DARE applicants.
  • If you are eligible for DARE you should note that due to the high demand and limited places in DCU you are not guaranteed entry. Available places are offered to those students ranked highest by the points scale.
I'm thinking of doing a QQI/FET next year instead of repeating. Can I apply on that basis?

Applicants who have a full QQI/FET level 5 award in appropriate qualifications and modules can be admitted on a competitive basis to certain DCU courses. For programmes with a QQI entry route, approximately 10% of places are retained for QQI applicants.

To review the QQI requirements for DCU programmes, please click here. 

I did a QQI/FET course and didn't get an offer in Round 0. Will I get an offer later? QQI/FET places are offered in round O. QQI entry route is a competitive entry route with a limited number of places. A quota of places are offered based on the CAO ranked order of applicants based on performance. We may not be able to offer applicants a place in later rounds if the QQI/FET quota is full.



Question Answer
How do I accept my place? If you receive an offer and you choose to accept it, you must do so online at www.cao.ie. You must accept your offer by the reply date indicated in the offer notice. One you accept your offer online, you will receive an acknowledgement email, you can check that your acceptance has been recorded online at www.cao.ie via the "My Application facility". 
I forgot to accept my place. Can I accept it now?

If you haven't accepted your offer by the reply date, the offer has lapsed. If there were extenuating reasons why you didn't accept your offer on time, you can contact the Admissions Officer at ugadmissions@dcu.ie explaining However, the place may already have been offered to somebody else in the next round and it may not be possible to accommodate you.

I don't want to accept my place. Do I need to tell you?

You do not need to let us know. Your offer will automatically lapse when the reply date has passed.

I accepted my offer but do not wish to take the place, what do I need to do?

Please contact our admissions team at ugadmissions@dcu.ie, quoting your CAO number as soon as possible so we can offer your place to another applicant. 

However, if you wish to cancel your place because you are accepting higher CAO preference there is no need to let us know - it will automatically be cancelled.

Note: If you have registered for your course you must submit an official withdrawal form via your DCU Student Apps online account.

I have accepted my place, but now wish to defer. What do I need to do?

If you have already accepted your place, it may still be possible to defer prior to registration. You must contact us immediately explaining why you wish to defer now. 

If you have registered for your course, you will need to complete the R32 form, deferral of Academic year form. Further information can be found here.  


Leaving Cert Rechecks / Upgrades

Question Answer

I applied for a re-check in some of my subjects. If my points go up will I get an offer in my higher preference?

If you are deemed entitled to a place on a course based on your upgraded leaving certificate results you will receive an offer. We will do our best to accommodate any applicants who has received an offer. However, if all the places for that course have already been allocated, you will receive a deferral of the offer for the following year.

General Queries

Question  Answer
Where can I get a prospectus?

Our online interactive prospectus is available here

Applicants can request a hard copy of our prospectus here 

When are DCU Open Days DCU holds a number of Open days throughout the year. For more information click here.
I am a Guidance Counsellor, can I arrange for speaker to come to my school?

DCU Student Recruitment Team arrange Open Days and School visits, for further information, please visit the Student Recruitment webpage

Your students may also be interested in some of the upcoming events

Admissions Changes: Following publication of the DCU prospectus each year, there can be changes to course offerings or entry requirements. This information is captured in the DCU Alert List which can be found on the CAO website here.

What will my fees be?

It depends on a number of factors, such as whether you are an EU or non-EU student and whether you are eligible for "Free Tuition". Please see the full schedule of fees.

I'm from the UK/Northern Ireland, what will my fees be following Brexit?

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the Common Travel Area (CTA) was signed between Ireland and the UK in May (2019). The MoU acknowledged the importance of education noting that “the CTA affords Irish and British citizens the right of access to all levels of education and training, and associated student support in each other’s State on terms no less favourable than those for citizens of that State. In terms of higher education, this means that notwithstanding Brexit, UK students will still be eligible for the same fee structures as EU students in Ireland. For the free fees initiative, once students meet all other criteria as set out in the Free Fees Initiative:

  • Students with UK nationality will continue to be eligible under the nationality criteria of the free fees scheme;

UK residency will continue to contribute towards fulfilling the ordinarily resident criteria of the scheme.

Where do I get a grant? Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) is the awarding authority for grants in Ireland.
How do I apply for a Scholarship?

DCU have a number of Scholarships from Academic to Sport

Click to find out what DCU scholarships are available.

How can I appeal the decision on my application? DCU Admission Appeals Policy:  The purpose of this policy is to define the grounds for an appeal against an admission decision: To access the policy, please click here
How do I apply for on-campus accommodation? Please see Campus Accommodation website