CAO Applications

The CAO (Central Applications Office) manages most undergraduate applicants for the Higher Education Institutes in Ireland.

Who should apply via CAO?

All EU applicants for first year of undergraduate degree courses (excluding distance and online learning) should apply via CAO.

How do I apply?

Generally, if you are an EU/EFTA applicant* for the first year of an undergraduate degree, you must apply via the Central Applications Office (CAO). It is best to apply online at The CAO handbook, which gives details of application procedures and closing dates, is available on the CAO website.

Central Applications Office  
Tower House Website:
Eglinton Street Phone: 091 509800


* EU/EFTA status is based on fee assessment criteria.

Applicants not eligible for EU fees and transfer applicants (post-year 1) must apply directly to the University.

What's the closing date?

The normal closing date is 1 February, although there is a reduced application fee for applying before 20 January. Late applications are accepted up to 1 May except for restricted application courses (DN300) and from certain categories of applicant (DARE, HEAR and Mature for most courses). For students currently registered in a HEI in Ireland there is a special closing date of 22 July.

How many courses can I apply for?

You can select up to 10 different level 8 courses on the CAO form. When entering your course choices it is extremely important that you list your courses based on your genuine order of preference and not on assumptions about examination performance or what you think the points will be for a course.

At the offer stage, you will receive an offer of the course highest up on your course choices list(s) that you are deemed eligible for, if any. For example, if you receive your first preference Level 8 course in Round One you will not receive an offer for a lower Level 8 preference in subsequent rounds. If you receive an offer of your third preference course you may still receive an offer of your second or first preference course in a subsequent round of offers, but you will not receive an offer of your fourth preference course or lower.

Please note: you cannot place a CAO code on your CAO form twice even if there are different options within the course.

When must my results be with CAO?

Documents already available should be sent to CAO immediately following application. All remaining documents and exam results you are presenting for assessment for entry to UCD must be with CAO no later than the dates below:

  • Mature supporting documents 15 February 2019
  • HEAR/DARE supporting documents 1 April 2019
  • Irish Leaving Certificate/A-level c15 August 2019
  • Other School leaving exams 2 August 2019
  • Other applicants please see the
    relevant website


    How are applications assessed?

    Applications from current year's school-leavers are assessed on academic merit. We do not require personal statements (with the exception of Veterinary Medicine which requires evidence of work experience).or interviews. All eligible applicants are scored using a points system based on the Irish Leaving Certificate. There are equivalent scoring systems for A-level and EU Applicants. Please note: if you have previously attended third level, you must declare it and some restrictions may apply.

    See further information about CAO Selection

    Are there other routes in?

    Yes, we have the following access and progression routes

  • Higher Education Access Route (HEAR)
  • Disability Access Route to Education (DARE)
  • Application on grounds of mature years
  • QQI-FET progression
  • HETAC Higher Certificate/Ordinary Degree
  • Graduate Entry pathways.

  • How do I know if I am EU or non-EU?

    • Were you born outside the EU/EEA?
    • Have you, or your parents, lived outside the EU/EEA for 3 of the last 5 years?
    • Are you a non-EU/EEA National?
    • Have you previously attended a third–level institution (in Ireland or elsewhere)?
    If you answered yes to any of these questions please see for information on the fees which will apply to you.
    How do non-EU applicants apply? If you are deemed to be a non-EU candidate for fees purposes, you should apply directly to UCD - see for more details.

    What is my responsibility as an applicant?

    As an applicant, it is your responsibility to provide full and accurate information in the application and to notify the University and CAO of any changes or corrections made to the original application. We (UCD) may request verification from the issuing authority of any or all details on documentation presented. If documents are found to have been falsified the awarding body will be notified.

    In the light of additional information which was not available at the time of selection, an offer may be amended or, in exceptional circumstances, withdrawn. We also reserve the right to correct errors where they have been made in the communication of decisions and offers.

    See Terms and Conditions of Offers