How to Apply
Central Applications Office (CAO)
All interested applicants must make an application through the CAO to be considered for a place in UCC as a mature student. The CAO is an online application form that opens in early November and closes on 01 February each year.
Please check out the CAO website for more information on the application process as a mature student. There is a specific video guide for mature applicants, which can be accessed HERE. There is also an easy to understand presentation available HERE.
To apply as a mature applicant, you must tick Box 8 on the Qualifications and Assessment Summary section. This is on the first page of the CAO application:
Mature applicants can also apply to UCC on the basis of Leaving Certificate or QQI/FET results. You may submit an application under all three pathways, if applicable. Just ensure to tick boxes 1,2 & 8 on the Qualifications and Assessment Summary section, to be assessed under all three pathways.
Statement of Interest/Personal Statement
Part 9 of the Mature Applicant section on the CAO application form asks you to provide a Statement of Interest. There is space here for 200 words (approx.).
In UCC, we require a more in depth Statement of Interest. We are looking for you to provide up to 1,500 words if the Statement is stated as a requirement (check out the entry requirements section for this information). This should be sent to the CAO by post, with any other documentation that you may be required to provide.
Please note that a Statement of Interest is not needed as part of the application for every course so please check to make sure it is relevant to you.
Important Information about the Statement of Interest
- Ensure that the Statement of Interest is no longer than 1,500 words.
- On the CAO application (Part 9) state that you have sent your Statement of Interest by post. If you are applying to more institutions than UCC, you should check with the institution's Admissions Office for their requirements.
- Always put your name and CAO number at the top of each page that you send by post to the CAO.
- You can only send one Statement by post. Therefore, if you are applying for more than one course in UCC, you will have to explain this within your Statement (see Anatomy of Statement of Interest below).
- This must be sent within 10 days of the closing date for CAO applications (01 February). We advise that you send by registered post to ensure it is uploaded on to your application.
Anatomy of the Statement of Interest
We offer the following for guidance purposes only. We strongly recommend that you research your course choices and get someone to proof read your statement before you send it to the CAO. Some of our courses require very specific information in the Statement. Make an appointment to speak with our Recruitment Officer if you are unsure about this part of the application, as it is very important.
Our advice is to formulate your Statement under the following 3 categories:
- Past – What has led you to this point where you have decided to return to education as a mature student. You should always remember to relate what you write here, to the course(s) that you are applying for.
- Present – Why this course(s), what do you know about the content and what makes you stand out as an ideal candidate (it is a competitive process so this is your opportunity to explain why you should be given a place). If you are putting more than one UCC course choice on your CAO application, you should use distinct headings to explain why you are applying for each individual course.
- Future – What are your overall aspirations? What do you plan to do once you complete the degree programme? For some, this will be easy to explain. However, we always advise applicants to be open minded about this part of the Statement. The process of pursuing a degree is at least three years so your future goals can change dramatically in this time.
External Assessment Tests
Entry in to some of our undergraduate programmes is only possible on completion of an examination. The list below provides confirmation of which examination is relevant to which course(s).
College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences – CK101 to CK125
If you are hoping to pursue an undergraduate programme in the College of Arts, you must sit the Mature Student Admissions Pathway (MSAP) assessment.
This is a two-hour exam that is designed to test your verbal reasoning and written ability skills. The MSAP is independently administered by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER).
Once you have a CAO number, you can make an application to ACER for the MSAP. The timeframe for making an application for the MSAP falls in to line with the CAO application deadlines. This is an online application process also.
MSAP do not accept late applications.
Please be aware that the MSAP examination will take place online this year. Further details will be updated on their website and they will communicate with you directly, once you make your application.
For further details on the MSAP please click on the following link - https://msap-ireland.acer.org/.
College of Medicine and Health – CK710, CK712, CK720, CK730, CK740 (Nursing)
All applicants for our Nursing programmes must register and sit the Nursing Assessment Test. This test is administered by the Public Appointments Service (PAS) on behalf of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI).
Registration is done via the PAS website - www.publicjobs.ie. The application system for the NMBI test opens in early February of each year. We advise you to register with PublicJobs well in advance of February.
Further details on the test and the process can be found on the NMBI website - https://www.nmbi.ie/Careers-in-Nursing-Midwifery/How-to-apply.
College of Medicine and Health – CK701 (Medicine)
All applicants for Medicine degrees in Ireland must register and sit the Health Professions Admissions Test (HPAT).
The HPAT is a two-hour paper based test consisting of three sections:
- Logical Reasoning and problem Solving
- Interpersonal Understanding
- Non-Verbal Reasoning
This is a multiple choice format test. You will get 4 or 5 choices and you are asked to pick the most appropriate response. The HPAT is independently administered by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER).
To register for the test and get further information (including sample questions) please click on the following link - https://hpat-ireland.acer.org/.
Internal Assessment Tests
A number of our degree programmes require mature students to sit specific in-house tests. You will be contacted directly by the relevant department in UCC with details of these tests, if applicable to you.
- CK104 Arts with Music – Music Entrance Test. Further details can be found HERE.
- CK112 Drama and Theatre Studies - Further details can be found HERE.
- CK301 Law - The Assessment Test and Interviews will take place in April every year. You will be notified by email of this.
- CK302 Law and French – Same as CK301
- CK307 Law and Business – Same as CK301
There is also the possibility of an interview for entry to some of our degree programmes. You can find out which courses include an interview by downloading the Mature Student Entry Requirements, which you will find here.