UCD Access to Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences and Law (AHSSL)

This is the oldest access course in Ireland and is designed to prepare matures learners for successful study at university

Access students who achieve an overall Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.6 or more in their 6 modules are guaranteed entry to Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences, or Law at UCD. 

Our programme is student centred and will offer you support and guidance throughout your Access year. You will experience a range of teaching approaches including group work, case studies, reviews and in-class discussions in supportive large and small group settings. A variety of assessment methods are used including reflective journals, presentations, essays and exams to help you discover your learning style.

During your Access year you will have the opportunity to sample lectures and make informed choices about your CAO application and next steps. 


Find out more:

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Anyone aged 22 or more on January 1st of their year of entry to UCD Access may apply for the course. This is so that you will meet the age requirement of being at least 23 on January 1st when starting an undergraduate degree. There is no upper age limit.

There are no formal educational entry requirements to the Access course. What we need to know about you is your life experience and any formal or informal learning you have undertaken previously. Give us as much information as you think relevant.

Applications are made online, directly to UCD. (Please note that there is no application fee for the Access course)

Once you have submitted an online application you will be invited to come and meet with us for a brief, informal interview. During this time you will also be asked to produce a short written piece. This written piece will form the basis of a conversation where we can explore how the course meets your needs and expectations. The interviews are an opportunity for you to discuss your study plans, as well as allowing us to advise whether the access course will be suited to you. After the interview you will be informed of whether you are being offered a place on the course.

Interviews are typically scheduled during June, July and August by arrangement.

Link to application form


The fee for the Access Course to Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences and Law (AHSSL) course is €850 for the academic year.

Fees are paid in September when you begin the course; See "How to Pay" for more information on paying your fees.

There is no application fee for the Access course.

If you are registered as unemployed and/or in receipt of a social welfare payment, you may be eligible for fee support. This will reduce your fee from €850 to €425

Students who are asylum seekers or who have Refugee/Subsidiary Protection/Humanitarian Leave to Remain status may also be eligible for support through the Sanctuary Programme. Please keep in mind that the deadline for 2020 Sanctuary Programme applications was strictly July 7th, 5pm.

Access students take six modules (classes) during the academic year, three per trimester, including these three mandatory 'Core' Modules:

  1. First Steps - Introduction to Higher Education
  2. Digital Literacy
  3. Applied Academic Writing

and any three of the following 'Option' Modules:

Classes are scheduled both during the day and in the evening. It is possible to mix day and evening classes if you wish. For further information on these modules, including what and how you will learn, please click on the title.

View 2020-21 UCD Term Dates

Students who achieve an overall GPA of 2.6 or more from their six modules will be guaranteed a place on the following undergraduate degree programmes at UCD:

In addition to meeting the required standard on the course, you must also be eligible to apply on the grounds of mature years and make an application through the CAO.

Please note that this Access course does not offer progression onto BSc Psychology (DN720)

Before applying for one of our University Access courses please consider the following:

  • You must be at least 22 years old since the first of January.
  • Since COVID-19 restrictions have come into play, and social distancing is a part of life for the foreseeable future, we expect to offer our courses in a virtual format. Therefore, you are advised that participating students will be required to have a reasonable level of computer literacy along with access to a computer/laptop and wifi.  As a minimum requirement for success, can you send and receive email; create, save, and retrieve documents; do online searches? This can be discussed further at interview.

Link to course application