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Foundation Course - Young Adults

The Trinity Access Programmes offer young adults a Foundation Course for Higher Education. This access course prepares students, both personally and academically, to go on and study at degree level.

Applications for the 2019/20 academic year have now closed.


Is this course for me?

The course was set up in 1999 to offer another way into Trinity for young adults 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, as well as taking part in a professional development and mentoring programme with Grant Thornton - a chartered accountants and management consultancy firm.

While completing a foundation course at Trinity, students have full access to all college supports and services, plus additional TAP student supports.


Hear from our Young Adult Students
TCD History student

The foundation course is exactly what an academic course should be: rigorous, challenging, motivating and of clear learning value. I felt nurtured, encouraged and challenged. It was a great experience and will help me in all my future studies.

TCD English and Politics student

The Trinity Access Programme has given me the courage to look to my future and be confident that I have a very promising life ahead of me.

TCD Dentistry student

The foundation year has given me the necessary tools – socially and educationally – so that I can go on to meet many more challenges in my life, knowing that I have just completed one which was, once upon a time, a dream for me, that is, third level education.

Hear from our graduates

What are the entry requirements?

  • attend a second level school in Dublin which is linked to an access service
  • meet the same socio-economic criteria as set out for HEAR
  • achieve a minimum 5 Ordinary grade 6s/ Higher 7s and at least one Higher grade 5 in the Leaving Certificate (applicants must pass English and Mathematics. A pass means grade O6/H7 or above on ordinary or higher papers in the Leaving Certificate. A pass in foundation level Mathematics is acceptable for minimum entry requirements). We will also consider applications from applicants with a distinction in the Leaving Certificate Applied and applicants with a QQI-FET level 5 award.
  • be 21 years of age or under on 1st January in the year you apply
  • be eligible for the Government Free Fees Scheme or EU Fees.

What is the application deadline?

  • Applications for the 2019/20 academic year have now closed.
  • Applicants for 2019/20 have until March 28th 2019 to submit their supporting documents online.
  • Referees for 2019/20 have until March 28th 2019 to return the reference forms to TAP.

How do I apply?

  • Complete the online application (applications for the 2019/20 academic year have now closed).
  • Include a short essay with your online application (maximum 750 words), telling us about yourself and why you want to go to university.
  • Submit any supporting documents about yourself or your parents or guardian that we ask for on the application form. You should do this by uploading the documents to your online application.
  • Give referee forms to two referees (you can download these from the online application and here). At least one referee should be a teacher from your school; the other can be a youth leader, voluntary group organiser, employer or coach.
  • Use the Application Guidebook (PDF) to help you with your application and any questions you have.

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.”


Visit the for frequently asked questions and to apply for the Young Adults TAP foundation course for higher education.

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