Alternative Paths to Trinity

Trinity encourages applications from students from all walks of life and actively works to facilitate access to education for all. Please see below information on access routes, foundation programmes and alternative applications to study at this institution.

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All undergraduate courses in Trinity are open to mature applicants. A "Mature student application" has a specific definition at Trinity - not all applicants over the age of 23 are considered "mature" applicants.

Mature student applicants are not required to satisfy the normal matriculation requirements and are not required to meet competitive academic entry levels (e.g. Leaving Certificate points), but are considered in the first instance on the basis of how relevant their life, work and educational experiences are to the course(s) that they wish to pursue. In addition, all applicants should demonstrate an interest in and a knowledge of their course choice(s).

In order to apply to Trinity as a mature applicant you must:

  • be an EU applicant
  • be at least 23 years of age on 1st January of the year of admission
  • submit a CAO application form to the Central Applications Office (CAO) by 1 February of the year of admission

Late applications will not be considered from mature students.

Applicants to all courses may be required to attend an interview. Interviews are usually held between April and May.

Certain courses may also require applicants to meet other assessment criteria. For information on additional assessments for specific courses please refer to the Mature Student Guidelines booklet available to download at

Trinity will inform mature applicants of the outcome of their application before the end of May to allow successful applicants the maximum time possible to prepare for the start of the academic year. Official offers to successful applicants are made through the CAO in early July.

To secure your place you must return a formal acceptance notice to the CAO by the specified reply date. An information session on preparing for University will take place for all successful mature applicants in July. An orientation programme for all successful mature applicants will take place in September.

For further information on studying at Trinity as a mature student please contact the mature student officer, phone +353 1 896 1386, email: or visit

The Trinity Access Programmes (TAP) co-ordinates initiatives to facilitate increased participation at third-level of students whose social, economic and educational experiences have prevented them from realising their full academic potential. Through a variety of pre-entry outreach initiatives, TAP aims to promote positive attitudes to education with families and the community at large, and to increase the number of students who progress to third level education.

TAP offers a range of application routes to students of all ages and various post-entry supports including a writing resource centre, peer tutors, a laptop lending service and a designated study space equipped with IT resources.

The Higher Education Access Route (HEAR)

The Higher Education Access Route (HEAR) is a third-level admissions scheme for school leavers (under 23 years of age), from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds. HEAR has been established by a number of Higher Education Institutions based on clear evidence that socio-economic disadvantage has a negative impact on educational achievement at school and progression to higher education.

School leavers who provide the necessary supporting financial documents relating to their socio-economic circumstances and meet the Irish Leaving Certificate minimum entry requirements and any course specific requirements are eligible to compete for a quota of places allocated to applicants on a reduced points basis in Trinity. Details of the number of HEAR places available can be found here. HEAR places available 2021

Who should apply to HEAR?

HEAR is for school leavers who are under 23 years old as of 1 January 2022 and taking the Irish Leaving Certificate examination.

How to apply to HEAR?

Step 1
Apply online to CAO by 17:15 on 1 February.

Step 2
Indicate that you wish to apply to HEAR and finalise all elements of your HEAR online application by 17:15 on 1 March.

Step 3
Submit relevant evidence in support of your application to arrive at CAO by 17:15 on 15 March.

HEAR applications can only be made online at

More information on HEAR is available from your school Guidance Counsellor or Trinity Access Programmes. Information can also be found on:

HEAR students: a condition of acceptance of a HEAR place is that students must attend the HEAR Orientation Programme. Failure to attend without prior permission from the TAP office could result in the HEAR place being withdrawn or in the withdrawal of other potential post-entry supports (e.g. financial supports

Students who accept places in Trinity through HEAR are offered a variety of academic, personal and social supports while studying at third level. Details of post-admission supports for HEAR entrants can also be found at and


This one-year course aims to equip students with the skills they will need to benefit from and participate in a third-level education course. It is open to Leaving Certificate pupils from schools in the Greater Dublin area which are affiliated to third level access programmes. Applicants should have taken the Leaving Certificate in the year of application or not more than two years prior to that. Minimum entry requirements are grade O6 or above in five subjects and grade H5 or above in one subject. FETAC and Leaving Certificate Applied qualifications are also considered.

Applicants for the Foundation Course for Young Adults may apply online from mid-November 2019. You may also apply for the University Access Course which Trinity College runs in partnership with Liberties College on this application form. The closing date for receipt of applications is February 7th.

Students are not required to apply to the Central Applications Office. Apply online, find out more or download application guidelines at

 Alternatively phone +353 1 896 2751.

This one-year course prepares mature students (EU students who are over 23 years of age on 1 January of the proposed year of entry) for entry to undergraduate studies at Trinity College and other third-level institutions. There are no standard educational requirements but evidence of a particular interest in studying at university and strong personal motivation is essential. In addition, if English is not your first language you will be required to provide evidence of English language proficiency.

Applicants for the Foundation Course for Mature Students may apply online from mid-November. You may also apply for the University Access Courses which Trinity College runs in partnership with Pearse College and Plunket College on this application form. The closing date for receipt of applications is March 28th. Students are not required to apply to the Central Applications Office. Apply online, find out more or download application guidelines at

Alternatively phone +353 1 896 2751.

Application to CAO 

Applicants with a disability applying for full time undergraduate degree/diploma courses in Trinity should apply via the Central Applications Office (CAO)indicating on the application form that they have a disability or specific learning difficulty, which is the basis for seeking reasonable accommodations and support in pursuing their University career. 

Application to DARE 

Trinity has a supplementary application procedure in place for students from non-traditional learning backgrounds, which includes students with disabilities. This is known as DARE (Disability Access Route to Education). DARE is a third level admissions scheme for school-leavers who have a disability or specific learning difficulty. Students who are considered to be DARE eligible may secure a place on a reduced points basis. DARE offers are conditional on registration with the Disability Service. Details of the numbers of DARE places available on courses in Trinity College may be found here Number of DARE places available 2021 

DARE Admissions Procedure 

  • Apply to CAO by 17:15 on 1 February. 
  • No later than 17:15 on 1 March, you must disclose your disability and/or specific learning difficulty in your CAO application and fully and correctly complete Section A (select “Yes” to Question 1) of the Supplementary Information Form (the SIF is a part of your CAO application). To apply to DARE you must answer YES to Question 1 (Do you wish to be considered for DARE?) on Section A of the fully completed SIF. 
  • The fully completed Educational Impact Statement (Section B) and Evidence of Disability (Section C) of the SIF must arrive at the CAO no later than 17:15 on 15 March. 

Allocation of DARE Places in Trinity 

Trinity College Dublin reserves 25% of places on every course for students with disabilities (DARE), students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds (HEAR), and Mature students. On courses with a quota of more than 40 places, approximately 8% are DARE places, on smaller courses there may be only one or two places. 

Applicants should note that DARE eligibility provides an opportunity to compete for such places it does not guarantee or entitle them to an offer of a place on reduced points. 

Students who are eligible for a DARE offer must still: 
a) meet matriculation / admissions requirements 
b) meet any subject specific requirements for their chosen course, where applicable.  Please check the prospectus for these details. 
A reduction of approximately 10-15% of the points required for each course is granted to DARE eligible students.   
Prioritising DARE Places: In recognition of national and university targets to increase the number of students with sensory and physical disabilities, DARE offers will be made first to eligible applicants within these target groups above, and remaining places offered to all other students with disabilities who are eligible. 

When allocating DARE places are prioritised and the remaining places offered to all other students with disabilities with the highest points within the threshold (points for the course in round 1, and minimum points based on percentage reduction).  

Condition of a DARE Offer: A condition of acceptance of a DARE place is that students must register with the Disability Service. Failure to register or attend scheduled meetings with the Disability Service without prior permission could result in the reduced points DARE place being withdrawn. 

More Information 

More information on DARE is available from your school Guidance Counsellor or the Disability Office (see below). Information can also be found on:; and 

Full details of DARE eligibility criteria for each specific disability can be accessed from 

Mature students (i.e. at least 23 years of age on the 1st January of the proposed year of entry) with disabilities should apply via CAO. There is no late application facility for this scheme – application must be made by 1st February of year of entry. 

Students with specific learning difficulties and sensory or communication disabilities may apply for a waiver of the modern language requirement, provided that the study of a language does not form part of their chosen course of study. In addition, students with dyscalculia, and sensory or communication disabilities may be eligible to request an exemption from the minimum entry requirement of a pass in mathematics, where mathematics does not form any component of their intended course. Please note:

1. This is a separate application to the DARE supplementary admissions process and a written application must be made to the Academic Registry, Watts Building, Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin, Dublin 2 before 1 July of the year of entry.

2. Students should be aware that the criteria for waiving the language or mathematics requirement are different from that required for the DARE scheme. The granting of a language waiver does not mean that a student is automatically eligible for the DARE scheme.

Applicants should consult the following:

Note: Applicants to Trinity are required to present a qualification in one language other than English. Therefore students should only apply for a language waiver if they are not taking any languages in their Leaving Certificate examination.

Further information

If you wish to clarify any issues or concerns you may have in relation to your disability and the demands of a course, or professional practice after qualification, please contact a member of the Disability Service staff by phone or e-mail at:

Disability Service 
Phone: + 353 (0)1 896 3111 

Prospective Student Information: 

This Feasibility Study is only for students taking the Leaving Certificate examination. Feasibility Study places will only be offered in Round One of the CAO Admissions Process. 

For the sixth year, Trinity is pioneering a feasibility study in admission to see if there is a better and fairer mechanism to identify and admit applicants who are enthusiastic and passionate about learning, motivated and suitable for their chosen courses, and with the academic ability and potential to be inspired by everything that college has to offer. The admissions scheme tested in this study will adopt a holistic approach that has worked successfully internationally, using a range of materials to make an assessment about the academic ability and potential of each applicant. 

The new admissions route will be used to admit students on three courses - with ten places in History (TR003), ten places in Law (TR004), and five places in Ancient and Medieval History and Culture (TR028) filled using the new admissions route. Applicants to any of the three courses involved in the study will have the option of using the new admissions route, and submitting some supplementary materials (in which case they will be eligible for all of the regular places on the course filled in the traditional way, as well as the places set aside for the study), or opting out of the study, in which case they will remain eligible for all of the places allocated in the traditional way. Students applying for two or more of the courses in the study will only have to submit the supplementary information once. 

The feasibility study is being operated in partnership with the Central Applications Office (CAO) and all applications will be made completely anonymous before evaluation, to ensure the process is free from any external influences. The three modalities which will be used to assess applicants in the study are as follows: 

(a) Leaving Certificate results. 

(b) Relative Performance Rank (RPR) – the performance of the applicant relative to other applicants from their school. This scale looks at the rank of the applicant compared to every  other applicant from their school who has applied to any course, in any college, through the CAO. 

(c) Personal and Contextual Data – provided via supplementary materials submitted by the applicant. 

Applicants provide Personal and Contextual Data via a Personal Statement online. Personal statements are then reviewed by expert reviewers and used as a qualifier. Qualifying personal statements will be those which the reviewers score a 1, 2, 3, or 4 on a scale of 1 to 6. Applicants whose personal statements qualify according to the above will proceed to the next stage. In the scoring process, Leaving Certificate results and the Relative Performance Rank will be weighted equally and then the candidates will be ranked in order of their combined score for modalities (a) and (b). 

Names of applicants, any identifying information, and the names of schools attended, will be made completely anonymous before being evaluated by the review panels. Applicants will be required to provide supplementary information requested in a Trinity Application Form. Applications must be submitted online through the CAO before 1 February. Additional documentation can be accepted until 1 March. Applicants are asked to submit an honest piece of self-reflection, discussing what they would like to study, and why, and this is what will be evaluated. Grammar, vocabulary, and writing style will not be scored. 

The feasibility study is an attempt to inform broader educational change by providing options to assist in the development of national policy and to see whether, on a small scale and in a strictly controlled way, it might be possible to admit students using a range of assessments (including the Leaving Certificate), with the results published and shared throughout the sector. It recognises the importance of having a Leaving Certificate examination that is fit-for-purpose and supports the reforms that are currently underway at second level to ensure a more positive educational experience. It also recognises and values the great work and commitment of the teachers at primary and second-level throughout Ireland. 

The admissions route tested here seeks to complement the role of the Leaving Certificate and the teaching community, by working with the Central Applications Office (CAO) to examine whether some approaches which have succeeded internationally might also work in an Irish context. 

Admissions through the Trinity Feasibility Study  

Candidates who have been successful in gaining a place through the feasibility study will be notified of their offer by CAO as normal and should follow the CAO's offer procedures to accept their place on the course. Successful applicants will also receive an email from Trinity College Dublin confirming that the CAO offer has been made. 

Applicants admitted through the Trinity Admissions Feasibility Study who are also eligible HEAR and/or DARE candidates will retain their right to the supports offered by those access routes.  

Applicants should note that in order to qualify for admission to a course through the TAFS study, they must meet the University’s minimum entry requirements. The minimum entry requirements can be found at 

NOTE: Feasibility Study places will only be offered in Round One of the CAO Admissions Process.

The School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences has introduced a Graduate Entry route to the undergraduate Pharmacy degree.  A maximum of five places in the first year will be allocated to Graduates. To be eligible for consideration:-

  • Candidates must hold, or expect to hold, by July prior to entry, a minimum second class honours grade result in their first honours bachelor degree (Level 8).  This degree can be in any discipline. Applications will also be accepted from individuals who did not achieve a minimum second class honours grade result in their first honours bachelor degree but who have been awarded a Masters degree or a Ph.D.
  • In addition, applicants must have obtained at least a Higher Level Grade C in Leaving Certificate Chemistry or must have successfully undertaken a Chemistry course in a third level institution.

Application Process:

  • Candidates must apply to the Central Applications Office before 1st February.  Late Applications will NOT be considered.
  • In addition to submitting an application to CAO candidates must complete the online supplementary application form before 1st February.
  • The School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences will assess the applications and a number of candidates will be shortlisted for interview. 
  • If successful, candidates will receive an offer via the CAO in August.

Recognising that only 1 in 8 students in Northern Ireland do 4 A-Levels, Trinity has developed a feasibility study for A-Level admissions, which will continue for students from Northern Ireland seeking admission in 2022. The results will be shared with the other Irish colleges, to see if it could be used as a possible mechanism to admit all A-Level applicants from within the EU.

Students applying to Trinity from Northern Ireland in 2022 will be eligible for all of the places that will be filled in the normal way through the CAO system. However, a set number of places (maximum 3 per course) will be set aside for the purposes of the feasibility study, which will allow students to access any course* with only 3 A-Levels. Students taking 4 A-Levels are also eligible for places offered through the Feasibility Study - their best three subjects will be considered for places offered in the study.

* Medicine is not included due to HPAT requirements

IMPORTANT NOTE: The majority of places per course will continue to be offered in the normal way through the CAO system.   

How to apply for the feasibility study

  1. All students applying to Trinity from Northern Ireland should do so through the CAO, the Irish equivalent of UCAS, at
  2. Students wishing to apply for entry through the feasibility study must submit to the Academic Registry by 1 May.
  3. You can fill in the application form here.


  1. Students applying for entry through the feasibility study must reside in Northern Ireland and be taking A-Level examinations.
  2. All applicants to Trinity must satisfy the University’s minimum entry requirements and specific course requirements.
  3. For the feasibility study, places will not be allocated to students with less than ABB at A-Level.
  4. Feasibility Study places will only be offered in Round One of the CAO admissions process.

If you have any queries regarding the Feasibility Study please contact