Alternative Entry and Progression (2021 Entry)

The UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science offer a number of alternative entry routes into our degree programmes in addition to entry from Irish school leaving examinations.

These entry routes are known as “Alternative Entry” or "Progression" pathways and are considered from external applicants to stage one or later stages of our programmes.

A fixed number of places are available via alternative entry and progression pathways each year, on a competitive basis.


A progression applicant is one seeking to progress  to a level 8 course in UCD via one of the approved progression routes. 

  • Progress from a related HETAC qualification (Level 6 / Level 7)
  • Progress from an approved QQI-FET qualification (Level 5 / Level 6)
  • UCD Access to Science, Engineering, Agricultural Science and Medicine (SEAM) Level 6

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It is possible to apply for admission to the Bachelor of Agricultural Science (BAgrSc) programme, on the basis of a Level 6 Higher Certificate or Level 7 Ordinary Degree, through specific progression routes from Irish Institutes of Technology with at least Merit award.


Applications are considered for Stage 2 or 3 depending on awards presented. In some cases, applicants are considered for Stage 1. If you have obtained, or expect to obtain, any of the awards listed HERE with Distinction or Merit you are eligible to apply.

Places are competitive and subject to availability. If there are more applicants than places, it will be competitive based on your academic performance in your Higher Certificate and/or ordinary degree.

Candidates who have completed a higher certificate/ordinary level degree programme, for which a progression route has not been established, may apply for progression to the BAgrSc, BSc in Food Science and BSc in Human Nutrition  programmes, subject to having passed with Distinction/Merit third level examinations in the following specific subjects:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Experimental Physics
  • Mathematics

Application is through UCD Directly -

Students with the relevant and appropriate QQI-FET (formerly known as FETAC) Level 5/6 awards and modules, with a minimum of distinctions in five modules, may be admitted on a competitive basis to stage one of the courses listed below.

To apply for entry to UCD via the QQI-FET entry pathway, you must apply to the Central Applications Office (CAO). Detailed information about the application process and important dates are available on the CAO website.

Approved awards for entry to DN250 Agricultural Science (BAgrSc) and DN261 Food Science are listed below. Entry requirements including required modules for entry are listed here.  


DN250 Agricultural Science (all options)

Animal Care - 5M2768 Animal Care

Laboratory Techniques - CASLT or 5M3807


DN261 Food Science 

Laboratory Techniques - CASLT or 5M3807


DN262 Human Nutrition  

There are no approved QQI-FET entry pathways to the DN262 Human Nutrition.

The SEAM 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, Agricultural Science and Medicine.

Candidates who have obtained, or who will obtain the SEAM Certificate from UCD Access and Lifelong Learning with a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.08 in course assessment, may be eligible to apply for admission to enter stage one to DN250 Agricultural Science (BAgrSc) and DN261 Food Science.

More information on SEAM is available here.



Alternative entry routes are additional entry routes available to third level education alternative to Irish school leaving examinations.


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DISABILITY ACCESS ROUTE TO EDUCATION (DARE) is a National College and University admission scheme which offers places at reduced points to school leavers with disabilities.

HIGHER EDUCATION ACCESS ROUTE (HEAR) is a national third level admissions scheme for school leavers from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds. HEAR has been established by a number of higher education institutions as clear evidence show that socio-economic disadvantage has a negative impact on educational attainment at school and on progression to higher education.

Entry to stage one of each of the Bachelor of Agricultural Science programme options and BSc in Food Science and BSc in Human Nutrition programmes are available as part of DARE and HEAR. A quota of places is allocated each year for students entering through these routes.  


Initial application for entry is made through the CAO.

Please see for details on the application process and timelines.

Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible for application you must:

  • Have a minimum of 300 points.
  • Have met all the entry requirements for the course.
  • Be within 20% of the points required.


Meeting these requirements does not guarantee a place. A target number of places is available each year and admission is competitive.  

Anyone who is or has attended third level education is considered as a transfer or re-admission applicant.

  • An external transfer applicant is one who is seeking to transfer from a level 8 course outside UCD to a similar course in UCD.
  • An internal transfer applicant is a UCD student seeking to change to a different level 8 course in UCD.
  • A re-admission applicant is one who is seeking to re-enter the course previously started in UCD.

Detailed information on the criteria and process for transfer application is available on the UCD Admission website:



  • A mature applicant is anyone who is at least 23 years of age on 1st January of the proposed year of entry
  • Suitable candidates are eligible to apply for admission to DN250 Agricultural Science (BAgrSc), DN261 Food Science and DN262 Human Nutrition
  • Application on the grounds of mature years is made through the CAO.
  • Having completed a CAO application, applicants must register for the MSAP (Mature Students Admissions Pathway) and complete a mandatory UCD Supplementary Statement Form
  • Information on applying to UCD as a mature student is available here.