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Tertiary degrees: CAO deadline closes but options still open for students

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Tertiary degrees: CAO deadline closes but options still open for students


“A new way to earn a degree – without the points race, without CAO deadlines, and with applications open until late September. There’s still time for students to start on the path to their dream career.”

That’s according to Dr. Fiona Maloney, Director of the National Tertiary Office which is today reminding school leavers, as the CAO change of mind deadline passes, they can still begin degree studies this September via the alternative route of the tertiary degree programme.

A first-of-its-kind initiative across Europe, there are now over 40 tertiary degree courses offered in 19 locations across Ireland through partnerships between local Education and Training Boards (ETBs) and Higher Education Institutes (HEIs).

With courses co-designed and co-delivered by ETBs and HEIs, students begin their studies in a further education college before progressing directly to complete their degree in a higher education college.

Courses are available in fields such as animation; business; construction; IT, nursing; software development; and sustainable engineering technologies.

Dr. Maloney says tertiary degrees offer school leavers and mature students a new way to earn a degree. “Students who complete a tertiary degree will graduate with exactly the same degree as those who begin at a HEI. What tertiary degrees offer is an alternative route.

“For many students, there are barriers which can hold them back from pursuing their dream career - the points race, the application deadlines, the cost of higher education, moving away from home, the leap from the school classrooms into huge lecture halls.

“Tertiary degrees are learner-centred – applications are based on a student’s potential and passion for their dream career; they can start their studies in a local town or county rather than moving away from home; and importantly for many, there are no tuition or student contribution fees for the first year or two spent in an ETB.

“When they progress to complete their studies at higher education, it is a direct, smooth experience, and the Free Fees and SUSI supports are available to those who are eligible.”

Throughout the duration of their degree, tertiary degree students have access to both campuses, facilities and supports offered by the partnered ETB and HEI.

Dr. Maloney urged school leavers concerned about the CAO change of mind deadline to consider all the options open to them.  Applications for tertiary degrees remain open until late September and without the worry of points, students can focus on their career goals.

There are new tertiary degrees coming online all the time so check out what’s available at

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