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Foundation Course - Mature Students

The Trinity Access Programme offers mature students a Foundation Course for Higher Education. This course prepares mature students, personally and academically, to study for a degree.

Apply online

Application Deadline:

  • Applications for 2019 have closed. Applications for 2020/21 will open in November.



Is this course for me?

The Foundation course was set up in 1997 to tackle educational disadvantage. It offers another way to third-level education for mature students whose social, economic and cultural experiences have prevented them from going to college.

Students can choose from two broad areas of study: arts and social sciences, or science. Throughout the course you have full access to all college supports and services. There are also TAP supports tailored especially for you.


Hear from our Mature Students

Hear from our Mature Students

Mature Student Champions

This is a video series featuring mature students in Trinity College Dublin. We asked mature students to speak about their decision to return to education as adults and explain what a positive impact it has made to their lives to have the support of a champion along the way.

What's clear to see is that mature students come from all walks of life, study a huge variety of subjects and are proof that it's never too late to learn!

With thanks to the Trinity Equality Fund for generously supporting this video project.

What are the entry requirements?

  • demonstrate a real desire to pursue a third-level course and the ability to do so.
  • be 23 years of age or older on 1st January of the year you apply.
  • be resident in Ireland.
  • come from socio-economic background(s) under-represented in third-level education.
  • be eligible for the Government Free Fees Scheme.
  • If English is not your first language, you must submit evidence of your English language proficiency.

There are no standard educational requirements such as the Leaving Certificate or an aptitude test.

How do I apply?

You must:

  • Complete the online application . Applications for 2019 have closed. Applications for 2020/21 will open in November.
  • Include a short essay with your online application (maximum 550 words), about any topic that is currently in the news that you are interested in writing about.
  • Give referee forms to two referees.
  • Attend an interview if we invite you to do so.
  • Use the Application Guidebook (PDF) to help you with your application and any questions you may have.
  • For information on the Privacy Statement of Trinity College Dublin please see 

Meet some of our course tutors

Sarah Grimson: Course Coordinator

Sarah Grimson is the course coordinator of the Foundation Courses and has worked in TAP since 2005. Prior to that, she worked as a secondary school teacher in the North of Cameroon and in St Marks Community School, Tallaght. She has a degree in History Ancient History and Archaeology, and a HDip in Education from Trinity; and a Masters in Education from the University of Edinburgh.

Dara Downey: English Tutor

Dara Downey is a Visiting Lecturer in the School of English, Trinity College Dublin, and lectures in English on the Trinity Access Programme. She is the author of American Women's Ghost Stories in the Gilded Age (Palgrave, 2014), co-author of Antiquities of Rural Ireland with Liam Downey and Muiris O'Sullivan (Wordwell, 2017), and co-editor of  Landscapes of Liminality: Between Space and Place (Rowman and Littlefield, 2016). She is editor of The Irish Journal of Gothic and Horror Studies. She is currently researching servants and slaves in American gothic, and received a Moore Fellowship from NUIG Galway in 2018. She blogs about contemporary non-realist television at I Know What You Watched Last Summer.

Nicholas Grene: English Course Organiser

Nicholas Grene is the retired Professor of English Literature at Trinity College Dublin.  He is interested in drama, wherever it appears, from Shakespeare to contemporary Irish theatre.  He is currently writing a book on farming in Irish literature.

Dr Rachael Hegarty: English, Study Skills and Academic Writing Tutor

Dr Rachael Hegarty is the Finglas Princess of Poetry. She earned her doctorate at  Queens University Belfast, her two masters at Trinity College Dublin, and her B.A. at the University of Massachusetts. Widely published and broadcast, her debut collection, Flight Paths Over Finglas, was awarded the 2018 Shine Strong Award. Her second book, May Day 1974, was published in 2019 and has received critical acclaim. She has taught literature, study skills and academic writing at TAP since 2001. She believes Paulo Freire was bang on when he said “Liberating education consists in acts of cognition, not transferals of information.”


Contact Sarah Grimson (Course Coordinator) or Grainne Mc Inerney (Guidance Counsellor) for further information: Email Tel: 01 896 3472/ 3346

Visit the for frequently asked questions and to apply for the Mature Students TAP Foundation Course for Higher Education.