Progression to Higher Education


Courses in this prospectus are at Levels 5 and 6. Courses in Universities and IoTs are at Levels 7 and 8. All Universities and IoTs accept growing numbers of applications on the basis of performance in QQI Level 5 assessments. In many cases holders of the QQI Advanced Certificate (Level 6) may apply for advanced entry.

UK institutions are open to applications and offer advanced entry to holders of Edexcel HND qualifications. Progression opportunities for QQI graduates are growing each year. There are now real and substantial opportunities for PLC students to progress to third level.

A Few Basics:

  • Learners working towards QQI Awards may apply for places in Higher Education courses through CAO, as Leaving Certificate students do.
  • Some PLC courses have links that allow students to apply directly to enter the second year of a university/ IoT course.
  • Mature students (over 23 years) and Access programme students may apply through CAO

Requirements for entry to higher education courses are set by the Admissions Office of each institution. QQI offers guidelines on
Detailed information can be found at (click on student resources for QQI information).

Mature Students

Mature students are particularly welcome in Liberties College. Universities and Institutes of Technology recruit at least 15% of their allocation from mature applicants. Mature students (over 23 years) may apply directly for such places through the routes defined by each institution. Mature students in Liberties College receive much support and benefit from specific workshops arranged to assist with the application procedure to third level. Our mature graduates have gone on to study Social Science in NUI, Maynooth and UCD, Social Work, Sociology and Social Policy in Trinity College, Nursing in Trinity College, Contemporary Culture and Society in DCU and various Arts programmes within the University sector.

Further Information

A large number of courses in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) have a reserved quota of places for applicants presenting QQI Level 5 and Level 6 Awards. Such applicants compete for these places separately from all other applicants. Application for Higher Education courses are made through the CAO and applicants are ranked based on their performance in the eight modules that make up their award.

A full QQI major award normally contains 8 components. A Component Certificate will not suffice. In many cases, to be eligible, students must obtain a minimum of 5 distinctions in their award. Certain courses within the HEIs may require specific achievements in particular specific modules, (e.g. Distinction or Merit or Pass) within the QQI level 5/6 major award. Some courses may require a minimum set of achievements, e.g. 5 Distinctions. Applicants should consult the prospectus of each individual Higher Education college and the FETAC section of the CAO website for details of such specific requirements

Notwithstanding the minimum entry requirements mentioned above, relevant cognate courses and/or specific pre-requisite QQI modules may be required for some courses in higher education. Details of QQI awards which allow for such progression are shown in the prospectus and website of each individual Higher Education college.


1. Liberties College Social Studies students complete the QQI Level 5 Award Code 5M2181. This award is the cognate award for entry, through the QQI system, to:

  • Social Science, NUIM, MH107
  • Social Science, UCD, DN550
  • Social Care, DIT, DT571
  • Social Care Practice, ITT, TA025
  • Applied Social Studies in Social Care, ITB, BN107

2. Liberties College Liberal Arts students complete QQI Level 5 Award Code 5M3114. This award allows for progression, through the QQI system, to:

  • Arts degrees in NUIM, MH101
  • Arts degrees in UCD, DN50
  • Arts degree in St. Patrick’s College, Drumcondra, DC009
  • Politics in NUIM, MH112
  • Anthropology in NUIM, MH111,
  • Contemporary Culture and Society in DCU, DC238
  • International Relations in DCU, DC231
  • English Media and Culture Studies in IADT, DL821
  • Applied Psychology in IADT, DL825
  • Education, Religion and English(Second Level Concurrent Teaching degree)in Mater Dei, MD201
  • Education, Religion and History (Second Level Concurrent Teaching degree)in Mater Dei, MD301
  • Arts in Mater Dei, MD500

Applicants are advised that further, more detailed information about progression using a QQI award can be found on the CAO website

Leran more about Liberties College and the Trinity Access Programme (TAP).