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10th Mar 2022

Not just points: The impact certain Leaving Cert subjects have on college entry

Laura Cunningham

It’s widely believed that you need a language for university entry, however this is not always the case.

Across Ireland right now, lots of third and fourth-year students are choosing their Leaving Cert subjects. Guidance Counsellor Aoife Walsh says that while they should choose subjects they like and are likely to succeed in, some subjects can have an impact on college entry.


It’s widely believed that you need a language for university entry, however this is not always the case. Three NUI universities — UCD, UCC and NUIG — and a number of their associated colleges require applicants to have English, Irish and a third language in their Leaving Cert for entry to most courses.

This won’t apply to students who are exempted from the study of Irish due to a learning difficulty or other reason but, for everyone else, failure to choose a language may exclude them from a significant number of courses.

Maynooth University, also an NUI university, has removed the requirement to present a third language for matriculation for most courses including in their business and law schools. However, the requirement remains in place for arts and humanities.

Those who prefer not to study a language may still attend Trinity College Dublin and University of Limerick, where the requirement is only English and one other language in the Leaving. Students may also attend DCU, technological universities and institutes of technology, where the matriculation requirement is a pass in English and a pass in maths.


A significant number of Irish college courses require applicants to have at least one science subject — you’ll find this especially with certain technical, scientific or health-based courses.

It’s important to check whether it needs to be a lab science, with some courses accepting maths, applied maths or computer science as an alternative.

A small number of courses may also require two science subjects, but maths may be accepted as a second science subject.

Course requirements differ between colleges, so make sure to double-check entry requirements for any courses you may be interested on