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EU/EFTA/UK Applicants

Understanding Entry Requirements (for EU/EFTA/UK applicants)

For entry to all degrees, 6 subjects including English, Irish (unless exempt), and four other subjects in the Leaving Certificate (or equivalent GCE/GCSE or other acceptable qualification) are required.

Candidates born and fully educated outside the Republic of Ireland (26 counties) who are presenting qualifications other than the Leaving Certificate for matriculation are automatically exempt from Irish and do not need to make an application to NUI.

third language must be included among the other subjects for most degree programmes in Arts, Human Sciences, Law, Social Science, Commerce, Medicine and Health Sciences and some other degrees.

For Business programmes such as Commerce, the subjects presented must include Mathematics and for courses in the Sciences (i.e. Science and also Agriculture, Engineering, Food Science and Technology, Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences) Mathematics and a Science subject.

Find out more from the NUI!

The entry requirements for each programme are available on the course pages.

To convert the Irish Leaving Certificate grades into your exam system's grades, please use the Entry requirements criteria for EU/EFTA/UK Applicants document.

Please make sure that you submit your documentation in time so that we can carry out an assessment.

Fiona Grant
Admissions Office

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English Language Requirements (for Non-Irish EU applicants)

Teaching in Irish Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) is normally through the medium of English; therefore all applicants are required to demonstrate a high level of competence in the English Language.

Applicants whose first language is not English must provide evidence of equivalent competence in English Language through their school leaving examination or matriculation examination or by achieving the minimum standard (there may be higher levels for matriculation and/or particular programmes in individual institutions) in a recognised English language test, as specified below (note applicants are assessed on the results of a single sitting only):

UCC Language Centre Pre-sessional Programmes

These programmes are available to assist students who:

  • Have not achieved their required level of English for acceptance onto their undergraduate or postgraduate programme
  • Feel they do not have the academic or general English language skills necessary to succeed at the University

 Find out more about the Language Centre's Pre-Sessional Programmes.

Recognised English Proficiency Exams


Exam Name Required Score

Duolingo English Test (DET)

A minimum score of 120 is required with at least 110 in each subscore.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

Internet-based test: 90 (no less than 21 in writing and at least 19 in every other section) in the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

Written test: A minimum score of 600 administered by Princeton University, with Test of Written English at 475+.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) - Academic

An average score of 6.5 overall components and a minimum of 6.00 in each band in the IELTS Academic Test.

Both Test Centre and Online versions are accepted.

University of Cambridge

176+ on Cambridge English scale with no less than 169 in each skill and use of English i.e.

Proficiency Certificate, Grade C or better (CEFR Level C1 or C2)

Advanced Certificate, Grade C or better (CEFR Level C1 or C2)

First Certificate, Grade A (CEFR Level C1)

English Test for Academic and Professional Purposes (ETAPP) With grade C1 or better (CEFR Level C1 or C2)
UK Examining Boards/Bodies

GCE O Level English Language at Grade C or above

GCSE English Language at Grade C or above

GCSE English Literature at Grade C or above

CSE Grade 1 Pass in English

University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES) English at grade C or above (incorporating the Oxford Examining Body’s English as a Foreign Language (Higher Paper)
Pearson English Language Test (PTE Academic) and PTE Academic Online A minimum of 63 (with at least 59 for each item in the Communicative Skills section)
Trinity ISE Trinity ISE III with at least merit in each skill category
Oxford English Test A minimum score of 140 overall with a minimum score of 125 in each skill.
Language Cert B2 Communicator High Pass with no less than 33 in each skill
QQI/FE ESL Merit in the module “English as a Second Language” or “Communications” (level 5)
IELCA Academic Minimum score 35 with a minimum of 33 in each band
Skills for English 

UKVI B2 (4 component test): Pass with Merit in all components


EU/EFTA/UK Countries’ Matriculation Examination

Matriculation Examinations from European Countries where English is presented as a subject and an acceptable level is achieved can be used to prove level of English. Where the examination has been taken more than 2 years previously candidates may be required to take a proficiency test. Where an English proficiency test that is scored on the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) is presented as part of a school-leaving qualification, the grade must be C1/C2.

Or an equivalent level of English in a recognised examination

Proficiency tests are used to meet entry requirements but do not count towards points scores. For all proficiency tests, the results must normally have been issued within two years prior to the start of your course (i.e. for entry in September 2023, only results attained since 1 February 2021 will be accepted).

Note: Where an applicant shows evidence of hearing impairment that meets the requirements for access, the English language requirements can be met without the hearing and speaking components.


EU/EFTA/UK Applicants Presenting Non-EU Qualifications

It is not possible to include every qualification worldwide in the Entry requirements criteria for EU/EFTA/UK Applicants document. Non-EU qualifications are assessed jointly insofar as possible. Applicants presenting non-EU qualifications should seek advice from the Admissions Office of the HEI(s) to which they are applying regarding eligibility and entry requirements. While an Admissions Office may give an indication of likely points conversion, this will not be final until agreed by all relevant Admissions Officers. 


EU/EFTA/UK qualifications are assessed by the university in July each year. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the contents of the following pages are accurate, the information has been provided by the following EU/EFTA/UK Entry Requirements document published by the Central Applications Office (CAO). The information in these pages is subject to change and the following pages are solely for information gathering purposes and do not guarantee an applicant any form of offer or grant any rights to potential applicants. 

Applicant’s Responsibility

It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide full and accurate information in the application and to notify the University of any changes or corrections made to the original application. Applicants must provide copies of both the official (untranslated) document and a translation where the official document is not issued in English. The HEI may request verification from the issuing authority of any or all details on documentation presented. If documents are found to have been falsified the awarding body will be notified. In the light of additional information which was not available at the time of selection, an offer may be amended or, in exceptional circumstances, withdrawn. The University also reserves the right to correct errors where they have been made in the communication of decisions and offers.

The onus is on the applicant to check entry criteria for the programmes for which they are applying. Please note, criteria can change from year to year.

Admissions Office


1st floor, West Wing, Main Quadrangle, T12 K8AF