Qualifications & Entry Requirements

Mature Student Entry Requirements

What are the mature student entry requirements for these programmes?

Students aged 21 years or more by 1 January of the year of admission to a part-time programme may apply on the grounds of mature years alone. This is why many of the programmes state that there are no formal entry requirements.


Part-time programmes for students under 21 years

Students under the age of 21 applying to complete a part-time maybe asked to fulfil the matriculation requirements for the University. These include a pass in at least six subjects (including Irish, English and another language) at the Leaving Certificate Examination, with at least grade C3 in two subjects on the higher course and at least grade D3 (ordinary or higher course) in the remaining four subjects. However, students who do not meet this matriculation requirement may be allowed to submit applications for some courses and are assessed for suitability of entry on a case-by-case basis.


Additional entry requirements

Some courses (e.g. BA in Social Care, Diploma in Community Development Practice) will specify specific work experience as part of the entry requirements.  Prospective students should check out the programme website for details regarding specific entry criteria.


Academic Credits and Qualifications

Can I obtain credit for previous courses undertaken by me?

The University acknowledges that all learning is valuable and that courses previously undertaken by students may be considered for credit awards and possible subject exemptions against a new programme of study through the RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning) process.

If you feel that you have covered some of the course material previously, the RPL process allows you to gain admission to a programme of study or to gain exemptions from some parts of a programme based on demonstrated learning achieved prior to admission. This means that you will have a lighter course load for some elements of the programme and, in some cases, will be able to complete your award over a shorter period.

RPL covers:

(i) Recognition of Prior Certified Learning:

Prior learning may entitle the applicant to exemptions from some parts of a programme. Prior learning is where an applicant has already been awarded a certificate for a programme taken at another institution or training organisation.

Certain courses are deemed eligible for the award of credit:

- Extra-mural or Adult Education Certificates or Diplomas

- University programmes, full-time or part-time

- Other third-level programmes

Where such credit is granted it is normally limited to a maximum number of credits. The award of credits applies to specific programmes only – check with the relevant programme coordinator regarding the exemption policy of a specific programme.

(ii) Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning:

This involves the awarding of credit for learning from experience. In this case, the candidate must prove the learning by producing a portfolio to support the claim for admission, exemption or credit. As a general rule, credit is given for learning, not for experience per se.

Some of the programmes listed on this website may consider RPL applications. For further information, contact the programme coordinator or go to the Adult and Continuing Education web page at www.nuigalway.ie/adulteducation.


What are ECTS credits and what value do they have?

To quantify learning and to place a value on it, courses are divided into credit units, under a system called the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). Credits represent a standard number of class contact hours and average workload for a programme. Each module is worth a certain number of credits and each course requires the completion of a standard number of credits within the following general guidelines:

Certificate 15 ECTS (credits)

Diploma (single subject) 30 ECTS (credits)

Diploma (Arts/Management) 90 ECTS (credits)

Degree 180 ECTS (credits)          

The use of the term “credits” is a common one in the third-level sector and provides a system by which students may transfer from one course to another or gain exemption from elements of a particular programme.


What can I do with an NUI Galway qualification?

The programmes at NUI Galway reflect the highest academic standards of the National University of Ireland. These programmes have been devised in response to the professional training needs of different community and corporate organisations and are recognised, stand-alone qualifications. Having attained this initial qualification, you may wish to progress to further study in a particular area. Alternatively, if you have completed a Diploma programme, you may wish to progress to a Degree programme.

A number of our Diploma programmes have follow-on Degree options. For example, students of the Diploma in Community Development Practice may progress to the BA in Community and Family Studies. Students from the various single-subject Diplomas in the Humanities, for example, Archaeology, English Literature or History, may progress directly with credit exemptions to the part-time Bachelor of Arts programme.


What levels do the courses correspond tointhe National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ)?

The programmes offered by the Adult & Continuing Education Office range from Level 7 to 9 in the NFQ.

Foundation   Diploma

Level   7

Certificate   – Year 1

Level   7

Diploma in Arts– Year 2

Level   7

Bachelor of Arts– Years 3 and 4  

Level   8

Master of Arts/Master of Science

Level   9


What are the mature student entry requirements full time programmes?

Students applying to the CAO for full-time courses on the grounds of mature years alone must satisfy the NUI regulations and be of mature years (at least 23 years of age on or before 1 January of the year of entry to first year lectures in a constituent university or recognised college). Students who are under 23 years of age are assessed for entry though the CAO on the basis of their Leaving Certificate points only.