NUI Galway School Leavers Access Programmes will open April/May 2018.

Applicants must be resident in the Border, Midlands and Western (BMW) region or in County Clare for at least six months prior to the commencement of the course.

Online application Guidebook School Leavers

Please register your interest HERE

Please ensure that you read instructions on The Online Application Guide before you begin your online application.

Please apply for only one of the courses below and note location of course delivery:

  • If you would like to apply for the part-time School Leavers Access Programme in Sligo (St. Angela's College),  Click
  • If you would like to apply for the part-time School Leavers Access Programme An Cheathru Rua (Outreach Bi-lingual), Click

Please read the application guidebook before you commence your application, dowload link below

Please download 2 copies of the Referee forms and forward on to your Referees.

Course Information

The Access Course for School Leavers is a course specifically designed for students who are aged 22 or under and have a real desire to study at third level, but are unable due to financial or social reasons. This scheme facilitates school-leavers from all schools in the BMW region and County Clare.

Who is the Access Course for Higher Education for?

This course targets those students who have the ability to benefit from and succeed in higher education but who, for a variety of social and economic reasons, are under-represented at third level. Students should be highly motivated and interested in studying at undergraduate level in their chosen area.

What kind of Socio-Economic Reasons are considered?

  • Long-term unemployment
  • Low family income
  • Little or no family tradition of progression onto higher education
  • Limited study facilities at home
  • Family stresses (particularly those related to family finance)

This programme is also suitable for students with disabilities, whose background education has been affected by long-term absenteeism due to their illness.

What standard of Leaving Certificate is required?

The desirable academic requirements for selection are: that you would have received, at least, two C3 grades on higher level papers, and four D3 grades at ordinary or higher level; or equivalent qualification such as a further education course. In addition, the University will require general details regarding your family's and your own financial circumstances.

Students who have completed a post-leaving certificate course of study are eligible.

The Access Course will be for selected people from schools in County Galway and surrounding regions who completed the Leaving Certificate examination in 2015, 2016 or 2017, and who did not gain the points required to enter the National University of Ireland, Galway. The course will run during the academic year 2017/2018 and will be full-time. People who successfully complete and pass the Access Course will be admitted to degree programmes in the Colleges of Arts, Social Sciences & Celtic Studies, Business, Public Policy & Law, Science, Engineering & Informatics, and Schools of Nursing & Health Sciences in September 2018.  

What are the course objectives?

  • To expose Access students to introductory 'taster' courses at University level which will relate to their interests and their future subject choices which will enable them to make subject choices which are related to their ability. (For example: making students aware of the special difficulties and demands involved in choosing language courses).
  • To ensure that the abilities of Access students are recognised and appropriate supports are given to them within the programme.
  • To ensure that Access students acquire the necessary writing and study skills which will enable them to maximise their full academic potential at NUI Galway.
  • To create an understanding amongst Access students regarding the skills and discipline necessary to manage time at University.
  • To ensure that Access students have a working knowledge of Information Technology.

How is the course organised?

It is a 20 week full-time course over a full academic year, normally September - May.

What are the subjects?

Course Content:

The course content consists of two supporting elements: core subjects and academic options.

Core subjects include Study Skills, Applied Writing, Information Technology, and Educational Guidance.

Academic Options: provide students with introductory university courses as a prelude to continuing their studies to a higher level. Students generally study four options (two per semester) from the following subjects *:

  • College of Arts, Social Sciences & Celtic Studies: Philosophy, Sociology, History, Irish, English, Mathematics, Geography
  • College of Science: Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology
  • College of Engineering & Informatics: Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology
  • College of Business, Public Policy and Law: Economics/Accountancy, Mathematics

Should I also make an application through the CAO?

All current Leaving Certificate students are strongly advised to make an application  for degrees through the CAO.

Summary - Application check list:

  1. Gather All Financial Details as listed in guidebook
  2. Make the on-line application 
  3. Upload all documentation to your application
  4. Download 2 copies of Referee Questionnaires below and send to referees to complete. The referees will then submit  the reference by email to the Access Office at 

SLA referees questionnaire letter

Any queries please email

 Queries to:


 In the event that you are called for an interview, you will be notified of the date and time by email.

Places are generally offered to students 2/3 weeks after the interviews are complete.

Once a place is offered the student is given a number of days to accept the offer.


Course costs are borne by the University, contingent on funding.

What other supports are there?

Students are provided with relevant support while on the Access course and as undergraduates:

  • Academic Support (if required) in the form of additional tutorials in new or challenging subjects
  • On-going support and guidance from academic mentors and the Access Programme Office.

For further details contact Imelda Byrne, Access Officer 
Tel: (091) 493553 
Fax: (091) 494573, E-mail:

Online application Guidebook School Leavers