The School Leavers course is designed for students who are 22 years of age or under who have already completed a Leaving Certificate, QQI level 5 or 6 qualification or equivalent. 

  • The Access Course runs for 21 weeks, either full-time of part-time, during the academic year, normally September-May.
  •  Students who complete the Access Course receive a Diploma in Foundation Studies from NUI Galway.
  •  They are also eligible to apply for direct entry (via the CAO) to full-time University undergraduate degree courses.
  • Read the Access Programmes Guide 2022 ‌ for further details. 

Follow these steps to apply:

1. Gather all financial details as listed in the Application Guidebook 21-22 

2. Choose the location you wish to apply for by clicking on the links below to get access to the online form and set up your account:

Galway (Campus, NUI Galway)   Will repopen for applications April 2022
Ballinasloe (Ballinasloe College of Further Education)   Will repopen for applications April 2022
An Cheathrú Rua (Outreach bi-lingual programme)   Will repopen for applications April 2022
Sligo (St Angela's, Lough Gill)   Will repopen for applications April 2022


3. Upload ALL documentation to your online application (financial documentation, ID, educational qualifications etc)

4. Please remember to complete a copy of the Personal Statement 21-22‌ and upload online with your application. The Personal Statement allows you the opportunity to disclose information about your own personal background, disadvantage and the reasons why you wish to do the course.

Any queries please contact the Access Programmes Office: As NUI Galway staff are currently working remotely, in line with Government guidelines, please submit queries by email only to



Darren Casserly |   Bachelor of Arts (Journalism)

I am currently a 3rd year Arts with Journalism student. I would say that the access course prepares you better for college than secondary school and gives you the tools to succeed in college. I would highly recommend the course to anyone thinking of applying, and I would not be where I am today without the course.

Saoirse O'Connor |   Access School Leavers

"The benefits of completing the Access course for me have been invaluable. I have received an amazing foundation from which I learned important skills to start an academic career as an undergrad. I have learned how to study and write academicly, to use technology and different programmes in accessing education due to the pandemic. I also benefited from the ongoing supports of the access office which assisted me, as a student to do my best. I was able to study and learn the material provided and I was able to advance my knowledge in subjects and areas that will help me in my chosen college course in the upcoming year."

Oisín Halligan |   Access School Leaver

“I am about to be a first year student thanks to the access course, the access course was the opportunity I thought I’d never get academically, the course gets you far more prepared than secondary school and there are so many good people involved in the course that are there to help whenever possible. I wouldn’t be where I am in life today if it wasn’t for the access course and if you are interested in it I would highly recommend it and you won’t regret it.”


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    QQI PDF (16 MB)