Step 4: Seeking exemption from minimum entry requirements
If you wish to seek exemption from minimum entry requirements (e.g. exemptions from Irish or modern language requirements) then you should contact the Admissions Offices of the HEIs for further details (in the case of NUI institutions see www.nui.ie for details). For more information go to the Student Resources section of www.cao.ie.
Step 5: Add your Level 8 and Level 7/6 course choices before 1 February to avoid restrictions
The courses listed in this handbook are classified with reference to the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ). Courses are listed by their NFQ Level of learning achievement, for example, NFQ Level 6, 7 or 8 and by the NFQ Award-Type to which each course leads e.g. Honours Bachelor Degree.
A small number of courses listed in this handbook lead to what are known as non-major awards. Where applicable, these will be listed as Certificates (CT) or Foundation Certificates (FC) at NFQ Level 6 and as Diplomas (DP) at NFQ Level 7.
This table outlines the range of NFQ Levels and Award-Types that are used to classify the courses in this handbook:
Table 1.3 NFQ Levels and Award-Types
Honours Bachelor Degree
Ordinary Bachelor Degree
You are responsible for ensuring that you meet the specified entry requirements and conditions for all courses. The processing of an application at any stage should not be taken as an indication of eligibility for any course.
To add your course choices, log in to the My Application facility and click on Add Level 8 course choices or Add Level 7/6 course choices. You are given the option to introduce 10 course choices on each list, and the choices that you make on one list will not affect the choices on the other list – the only time you have to choose between the lists is if you receive an offer of a course from both lists.
You will have opportunities to make changes to your course choices lists using the Change of Mind facility – restrictions apply (see page 3). For more information on changing course choices go to page 15.
Order of Preference
When entering your course choices it is extremely important that you list your courses based on your genuine order of preference and not on assumptions about examination performance or what you think the points will be for a course.
At the offer stage, 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.
For more information about how offers are issued and order of preference watch the CAO video guides in the Student Resources section of the CAO website www.cao.ie.
- CAO Handbook
- Download CAO Handbook
- Important Changes to CAO Handbook
- Summary of Major Stages of the CAO Application Process
- Applying to CAO
- Application Dates and Fees
- Late Applications
- Reapplying to CAO
- Categories of Qualifications and Assessments
- Applying for a Maintenance Fee Grant (SUSI)
- Introducing your Course Choices
- Applying for HEAR and DARE
- Sending Supporting Documents to CAO
- Summer 2021 Examination Results
- Interviews and Assessments
- After Applying
- Interacting with your CAO Account
- Important Correspondence
- Statement of Application Record
- Change of Mind
- Changes to your Personal and Examination Information
- The Offer Stage
- The Offer Rounds
- Accepting an Offer
- Available Places
- Points Calculation for Leaving Certificate Applicants
- Points Calculation for Other Examinations
- Deferring A Place
- Taking up a Deferral
- The Leaving Certificate Appeals Process
- Registration on your Accepted Course
- Direct Applications and Exceptional Late Applications
- Further Information - Online Resources
- General Principles
- Independent Appeals Commission
- Contacting CAO