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You apply for almost all full-time undergraduate courses through the Central Applications Office (CAO). The undergraduate courses in the universities and institutes of technology include Higher Certificates - Level 6, Ordinary Bachelor degrees - Level 7 and Honours Bachelor degrees - Level 8. You can find more information about these qualifications in our document on third-level education in Ireland. There is no central applications body for Post-Leaving Certificate (PLC) courses. Students must apply directly to the individual colleges.

The CAO provides a handbook that lists all the courses on offer and gives information on how to apply. The closing date for 2020 applications from Irish and other European Union nationals is 5.15 pm on 1 February 2020. Late applications are allowed up to 5.15 pm on 1 May 2020.

Decisions on offers of places are normally made in August and September, after the results of the Leaving Certificate have come out. A detailed schedule of the offer rounds is in the CAO handbook.

Key dates for CAO applications for 2022/2023

4 November 2022 - Online applications open at 12 noon

20 January 2023 - Closing date for online applications at discounted fee.

1 February – Normal closing date for applications

1 March - Closing date for final completion of online HEAR/DARE forms

15 March - Latest date for HEAR/DARE supporting documentation to arrive in CAO

April – Interviews and portfolio presentations for most of restricted courses*

1 May – Closing date for late applications

5 May – Online change of mind facility opens

1 July – Final date for changing your mind about course selections on your previously submitted CAO form