Courses at third level are offered mostly by Universities (7 colleges), Institutes of Technology (14 colleges), the Colleges of Education (5 colleges), and independent Private colleges. The first three are substantially State funded and take part in the government free fees scheme, whereas Private colleges are all fee paying.
Ed Zone 3 Courses
These courses are two-year programmes leading to a Higher Certificate (NFQ Level 6). They are run mostly in the 14 Institutes of Technology around the country and in many PLC Colleges as a second year after completion of a Level 5 Award.
On completion, participants can:
- enter directly into employment, or
- continue on to an Ordinary (Level 7) or Honours Degree (Level 8) in a related sector.
Ed Zone 4 Courses
These courses last three to four years (full-time) and lead to an Ordinary (NFQ Level 7) or Honours (NFQ Level 8) Degree.
Application to undergraduate (first time) entry third level courses is done through the CAO.
Note: Mature students (over 23 years) can apply to CAO even if they do not have a Leaving Certificate. There are many university access programmes available that support mature students to progress into degree programmes within the universities. For further information about access courses, contact HEA www.hea.ie or phone 1890 200637.
Some interesting facts about Third Level education in Ireland: