Frequently Asked Questions: Access Courses

What are Access courses?

These are specially designed courses to help adult learners prepare for university. Sometimes called Return to Learning, or Foundation courses, University Access courses equip mature students with the skills and confidence required to take the next step to selected degree courses. The UCD access courses guarantee entry to a number of degree programmes in UCD once course assessment criteria are met.

What types of Access courses are offered?

There are two types of Access courses, namely: Access to Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences and Law (AHSSL) and Access to Science, Engineering, Agricultural Science and Medicine (SEAM)

How do I know if an access course is for me?

An access course may suit you if:

  • You are a mature student
  • You do not meet existing entry requirements to university
  • You would like to ‘test the water’ and see what you make of the university environment
  • You want to build study skills and confidence before taking the step into a degree
  • You already qualify for university but are not ready to commit just yet

Who is Access to Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences and Law (AHSSL) aimed at?

This course is designed to prepare adults, who may not have formal qualifications, for successful study at university. The course is suitable for those who aim to study in the area of the Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences or Law. The course aims to:

  • Equip students with the skills that they will need to engage in an undergraduate course
  • Introduce students to the methods of study, writing and research required for successful participation in higher education
  • Prepare students to compete for entry to university and to make informed choices about further study
  • Increase students’ self-confidence in their ability to advance in university
  • Offer students the opportunity to experience the fulfilment that can be gained from learning in an academic setting

What is the course fee for Access to Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences and
Law?

€850. However, you may qualify for a Cothrom na Féinne Scholarship, and this would either reduce your fee by half, or offer you a free place. Students who are registered as unemployed and/or in-receipt of one of the following payments: Job-seekers Benefit, Jobseekers Allowance or One-Parent Family Allowance or Disability Benefit may qualify for a Mature Years Access Scholarship. To apply for the scholarship or reduced course fees you will need to produce evidence of income.

Who is Access to Science, Engineering, Agricultural Science and Medicine (SEAM) aimed at?

This course is designed to prepare adults, who may not have the formal qualifications, for successful study at university, particularly in the areas of Science, Engineering, Agriculture, Medicine, Computer Science and Health and Safety
The Access to Science, Engineering, Agricultural Science and Medicine (SEAM) course aims to:

  • Support students in finding the third level course that best suits their aptitude and interest
  • Give students the confidence and skills necessary to plan and organise study for their particular needs
  • Provide students with analytical skills in order to fully understand the material presented in all subject modules
  • Equip students with the skills and confidence to take on a degree course in Agricultural Science: Engineering/Architecture; Science; Medicine certificate/degree or diploma course in Health and Safety at Work
  • Applicants to this course should note the following guidelines: Access to Medicine and Applying as a Mature Student - Medicine

What is the course fee to Access to Science, Engineering, Agricultural Science and Medicine (SEAM)?

€1,800. However, you may qualify for a Cothrom na Féinne Scholarship, and this would either reduce your fee to €600, or offer you a free place. Students who are registered as unemployed and/or in-receipt of one of the following payments: Job-seekers Benefit, Jobseekers Allowance, One-Parent Family Allowance or Disability Benefit may qualify for the Mature Years Access Scholarship. It will be necessary to produce evidence of income.

Further information on UCD fees and how to pay.

Who can apply for a place on an Access course?

Anyone aged 22 or more on 1st of January 2019 may apply for this Access course. For entry to third level programmes applicants must be at least 23 on 1st of January of the proposed year of entry. There is no upper age limit

What are the entry requirements?

There are no formal educational entry requirements. Applicants may apply using prior educational qualifications or life experience. Evidence of recent prior learning is most relevant in an application, ability in maths, and prior learning in at least one of the Science subjects is important.

Will I be the oldest? Am I too old to learn/start college? Will I feel uncomfortable in class with much younger people?

There is no upper age limit. Former students have found that the age-mix helps create an atmosphere which lends itself to sharing information and pooling resources.

I never sat the Leaving Certificate, am I still eligible?

It is desirable though not essential. Applicants to Access to Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences and Law (AHSSL) and Access to Science, Engineering, Agricultural Science and Medicine (SEAM) are not required to have formal qualifications; they will be given the opportunity to make a personal statement outlining their life experience and abilities.

Are Access courses full-time or part-time?

Part-time. Access to Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences and Law (AHSSL) classes are offered in such a way that students may attend either morning or evening. Students register to six modules over the academic year. Access to Science, Engineering. Agricultural Science and Medicine (SEAM) is offered on Monday and Wednesday evenings and on Saturday mornings.

The academic year for both Access courses follows the same term timetable as the rest of UCD. View the 2019-20 / 2020-21 term dates.

What modules (subjects) are available on the course? Is there a choice?

Module options may change on the Access to Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences and Law (AHSSL) course from one year to the next. No matter what modules are on offer, bear in mind that the acquiring of learning skills and the process itself are the key objectives of Access to Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences and Law (AHSSL). The modules in Access to Science, Engineering, Agricultural Science and Medicine (SEAM) do not change.

Details of all modules can be found on the relevant course webpage, under "Course Structure"

How do I apply for an Access course?

Applications are made online, directly to UCD

Deadlines for Applications:

  • Access to Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences and Law (AHSSL): End of August
  • Access to Science, Engineering, Agricultural Science and Medicine (SEAM): Mid-July

Who can I contact for further information?

The programme coordinator, Thomond Coogan, will be able to assist you if you have any further questions. You can email her directly at thomond.coogan@ucd.ie