Course Overview

The Access Course aims to provide school leavers with the opportunity to prepare personally and academically for an undergraduate course of full-time study of at least three years duration at NUI Galway. The course is designed to meet the learning needs of the student and provide individual attention and assistance where appropriate.

Applications and Selections


Application Procedure:  Application forms available at

Closing Date: End of August each year

Application Fee: Not applicable  

Who Teaches this Course

Requirements and Assessment

The criteria for successful completion of this course involve satisfactory attendance and performance in all elements of the programme. Students’ academic progress is measured through a process of written and oral continuous assessment and examinations held at the end of each semester.

Personal (home) study is an integral and important part of the course.

Students also have the opportunity to attend some undergraduate

lectures on campus, by arrangement.

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

Students will normally have a minimum of 2C (higher level) and 4 (ordinary level) grades to demonstrate their ability to manage academically.  Students cannot always be guaranteed entry at this level.  Students who have completed a post-leaving certificate course of study are eligible.

Additional Requirements


The course runs over the academic year September to May annually. Students should note that this programme may be delivered on a part-time, day or evening basis.

Next start date


A Level Grades ()

Average intake


Closing Date

End of August each year

Next start date


NFQ level


Mode of study


ECTS weighting




PAC code

Course Outline

The course content consists of core subjects and academic options. The

core subjects include:

• Study Skills

• Applied Writing

• Information Technology

• Educational Guidance

The academic options provide students with introductory University

courses as a prelude to continuing their studies at a higher level.  Students generally study four academic options, from the following subjects:

Arts: Philosophy, Sociology, Irish, English, Mathematics, Economics

Science/Engineering/IT/Health Sciences: Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology

Commerce: Economics, Mathematics

Celtic Studies: Irish


The exact subjects on offer in a given year may vary, depending on the availability of specialist tutors. There may also be guest lectures in subjects such as Psychology, Classical Civilisation and Archaeology or on other subjects

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

Participants who successfully complete an Access Course will be eligible to apply for direct entry to full-time University Degree courses in the Colleges of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic studies; Business, Public Policy and Law; Science; Engineering and Informatics; Nursing and Health Sciences (Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Speech and Language Therapy, and Podiatry).

The criteria for successful completion of the Access Course involve satisfactory attendance and performance in all elements of the programme.

Who’s Suited to This Course

The Access course for School Leavers is a course specifically designed for students who have a real desire to study at third level, but are unable due to financial and social reasons.  This scheme facilitates school-leavers from all schools in the Border, Midland and Western region and Co. Clare.  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 underrepresented at third level.  Students should be highly motivated and interested in studying at undergraduate level in their chosen area. 

The kind of socio-economic reasons that 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.

Learning Outcomes

Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

Fees: Tuition

Fees: Student levy

Fees: Non EU

Course costs for those selected to attend the course are borne by the University, subject to sufficient funding being available.

Find out More

Name: Access Programme Coordinator

Phone: 091 493553

E- mail: access

Address: NUI Galway, Access Office