Undergraduate Application Procedures | Registry

Undergraduate Admissions - General Information

Attending DCU in 2020 FAQ

Admission To DCU

There are many different ways to enter DCU. While candidates are primarily assessed on the basis of their second level examinations, other assessments are in place for mature students, students from socio-economic disadvantaged backgrounds, students with disabilities/specific learning difficulties and transfer students. The university is committed to welcoming students from countries worldwide. To review the list of programmes available at DCU, please click here. To review a copy of the online prospectus, click here. In the case of both EU and Non-EU applications, all applicants are required to produce evidence of their competence in the English language. The recognised examinations of English Language Competency are outlined here

QUICK REFERENCE - Please click on the links below

Non- EU Qualifications

EU Qualifications


Mature Applicants

Transfer Applicants

University Access Routes

Other Important Applicant Information

Contact Us

Application Procedures - Undergraduate Programmes 

Non-EU Applicants

  • Applicants presenting Non-EU School Leaving examinations (except for Nursing) should apply directly to DCU and should use this link for further information on how to apply.

Applicants Presenting EU School Leaving Examinations

  • Applicants presenting EU School Leaving examinations should apply through the Central Applications Office (CAO) by the 1st February. To apply through the CAO click here.
  • Applicants must present General Entry Requirements (GER) and Programme Entry Requirements (PER) to compete for a place on a DCU Programme.
  • General Entry Requirements (GER) for all first year routes to DCU (Leaving Certificate, A Level and FETAC) can be found by clicking on this link. 
  • Programme Entry Requirements (PER) for every programme can be found on the individual programme pages in the prospectus or on the DCU website. They can be reviewed by clicking on this link. For some programmes there are additional assessments, tests and interview processes.  
  • Applicants presenting both general entry requirements and specific programme entry requirements are ranked based on their performance as outlined here
  • 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. This document should be reviewed in conjunction with the individual programme requirement information detailed on the DCU website. Applicants presenting both general entry and programme entry requirements will be scored based on the information contained in the EU Qualification Guide. They can then compete through the CAO for a place on a DCU programme.

QQI/FE Applicants

  • Applications should be made through the Central Applications Office (CAO) by the 1st February. To apply through the CAO click here. Many DCU programmes have an entry route for QQI/FE Level 5 applicants. For programmes with a QQI entry route, approximately 10% of places are retained for QQI applicants. Applicants presenting a minimum of five distinctions in a specified QQI Level 5 award, with specified modules if required, may be eligible to compete for a place. Applicants are ranked based on their performance as outlined here. To review the QQI requirements for DCU programmes, please click here 
  • To review 2020 QQI (FETAC) statistics, please click here
  • There have been changes to the codes used for QQI Awards. The DCU prospectus may not have the most current information. Please refer to the CAO website for the most current list of acceptable QQI Awards and modules to compete for a place on a DCU programme. 

Mature Applicants

  • Mature applicants are those aged 23 years, or above, on 1st January in the year of entry. All candidates (presenting with EU/Non EU qualifications) applying on the grounds of mature years should apply ONLY through the Central Applications Office (www.cao.ie) by 1st February. 
  • For many DCU programmes, mature application 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 will 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. 
  • Non-native English speakers will need to provide evidence of their English language competency. 

Please note special mature application procedures outlined below:

Mature Applicant Special Application Procedures:

BSc in Nursing (4 and a Half Year Programme)

  • All candidates applying for the BSc in Nursing (4 year programme) must apply through the Central Applications Office (CAO) by 1st February regardless of their status as EU or Non-EU, or their eligibility to be considered as a mature applicant. 
  • Mature nursing applicants should apply through the CAO by 1st February.  
  • Mature nursing applications are assessed by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (An Bord Altranais Agus Cnáimhseachais na hEireann)(NMBI). The Public Appointments Service (PAS) carry out the assessment on behalf of the NMBI. Mature applicants are ranked based on their score in this assessment.
  • Having applied through the CAO before 1st February, nursing applicants must register and apply through the PAS website, www.publicjobs.ie. Registration AND submission of an application form through PAS must be done between 2nd February - 22nd February.  If you have not received a confirmation email from PAS within 24 hours of submitting your application, you should contact them at maturecode17@publicjobs.ie or phone 01 8587730.
  • Please click here to refer to the official website of the Nursing and Midwifery Board for registration and other important information with regard to mature nursing assessments.

Bachelor of Education (Honours Degree) Programmes DC002, DC003 & DC004 (DC004 is restricted, apply by 1st February)

  • Mature applicants must apply to CAO by 1st February.  In March, those meeting the eligibility criteria will receive a supplementary form and instructions for completing and submitting this form. Applicants who meet the eligibility criteria and complete the supplementary form will be invited to attend for a general interview and oral Irish test. For further information about special entry requirements for these programmes, please see this link . 

Bachelor of Religious Education & Music DC012 

  • This course is no longer restricted for entry 2021 and applicants will not be required to take a music assessment but they must have a H4 in Music or equivalent. Applicants can also avail of the change of mind process (1st July) once they have made their initial application by 1st May. 

BA in Journalism DC132

  • Mature applicants must apply by the 1st February and are asked to submit, along with their other paper documentation, a hard copy of an article of c. 750 words of their own composition, written for a specific publication [published or unpublished]. If the article has been published, state when and in which publication. If the article is unpublished, indicate the newspaper or periodical for which you think your submission would be best suited.

Transfers Applicants

Internal Transfers (Transferring Programmes within 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. Please note this form is only for students looking to transfer to year one of another programme. If you are seeking a transfer to a programme other than year one, please complete the following application form, R10 available here

If you are seeking a transfer to Year 2/3 of the Bachelor of Business Studies programme, please complete the following transfer application form here.  

We would strongly advise you to speak to the Chairperson of your current programme in the first instance, also to the Chairperson of the programme into which you wish to transfer. In some instances, there may be fees implications, in which case, you may want to make contact with the Fees Office.

External Transfer (Applicants outside 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 DCU by the 1st July.  Full documentation, including course syllabus and transcripts, must be included in the application. An interview may be required as part of the application assessment. To download a direct application form click here.  Transfer applications are not accepted to all programmes.  Please see relevant programme pages here. For further information on eligibility for applying as a transfer applicant, please click on this link

University Access Routes

  • The Higher Education Access Route (HEAR)  is a college and university scheme that offers a limited number of places on reduced points and extra college support to school leavers (those under the age of 23 as of 1st January in year of entry) from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds who are resident in the Republic of Ireland. Eligible applicants compete for a quota of reduced points places at DCU. The timeline for submission of an application for this scheme is as follows:

1st February - Make a CAO Application by 17.15

1st March Fully complete your Application Form by 17.15

15th March  -  All supporting documentation must be received by CAO by 17.15

For further information contact DCU Access Service 

  • The Disability Access Route to Education (DARE) is a third level admissions scheme for school leavers (those under the age of 23 as of 1st January in year of entry) whose disabilities have had a negative impact on their second level education. The timeline for submission of an application for this scheme is as follows:

1st February - Make a CAO Application by 17.15

1st March - Fully complete your Application Form by 17.15

15th March - All supporting documentation must be received by CAO by 17.15

For further information contact DCU Disability Services

  • DCU Performance Sport - CAO Points Concession DCU has put in place a special academic entry scheme for performance athletes at undergraduate level. A number of academic places offering a CAO points concession are reserved for outstanding candidates who have achieved a very high level of sporting performance and who are committed to continuing to develop their sporting and academic careers. All applicants must present the DCU general entry and programme entry requirements, as outlined in the DCU prospectus. Under this scheme, applicants are not assessed solely on the basis of their academic performance, their sporting achievements are also taken in to consideration. Applicants should apply through CAO by the normal closing date of 1st February or before the late closing date of 1st May and complete a DCU online application form which will open on 1st February, please click here to access the online application form. The closing date for applications is 1st May. Paper applications will not be accepted. For further information on the scheme, please click here
  • University of Sanctuary Scholarship Scheme. As part of the DCU University of Sanctuary Scholarship Scheme, DCU is offering five undergraduate scholarships for full-time time study at DCU. There are 5 undergraduate scholarships (one per faculty*) available to students who satisfy the criteria as set out in the application form - click here. Closing date for applications is 1st July.

    Each Scholarship consists of:

    1. Fee waiver for three / four years of UG programme*
    2. Monthly Financial Subsidy

Information for Northern Ireland Applicants

    • McAleese Scholarship for Northern Ireland Students: DCU applicants with a permanent home address in Northern Ireland, presenting 3 A Level results, with a minimum requirement of 2 ‘A’ and 1 ‘B’ grades may be eligible for the McAleese Scholarship. The scholarship allows successful applicants to gain one of five reserved places across a number of DCU undergraduate programmes and includes a small cash award. Applicants must meet DCU minimum entry requirements and specific programme entry requirements as outlined on the DCU website here. Applicants should apply through CAO by the normal closing date of 1st February or before the late closing date of 1st May. Applicants must also submit a McAleese Scholarship Application Form directly to DCU. To obtain a copy of the application form, click here. For further information about this scholarship, call Registry on 01-7005338 or email your query to http://dcu.ie/registryqueries
    • IMPORTANT NOTE: The McAleese Scholarship will continue for entry 2020/21, this Scholarship will be reviewed for entry September 2021.


Other Important Applicant Information

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

Important Changes to Entry Requirements: In 2017 Higher Education Institutes have worked in partnership with the Department of Education and Skills to agree changes to admission criteriaThe process of mapping these changes to DCU programmes is complete and all entry requirements are outlined in the DCU prospectusFor general information about the new grading system, please click here. For frequently asked questions about the new grading system please click here.

DCU Prospectus: For further information in relation to a specific course, please contact the relevant Faculty as per the DCU prospectus. Occasionally there are changes to application procedures or entry requirements which have been omitted from the DCU prospectus, this information is captured in the DCU Alert list, available here.

Student Support & Development: For further information on supports for all applicants, including HEAR, DARE and Mature applicants, please visit the Student Support & Development website.

Fees: For information in relation to third level fees, please contact the Fees Office. The self-assessment criteria for categorisation of an applicant as EU or Non EU is outlined here.