Can I take a year out and hold my place?

If you have been offered a place via CAO and want to take a year out, you should follow the procedure below. View full Deferral Protocol

Please note that it is not always possible to defer entry. For example in order to ensure adequate places for next year’s applicants, there is a limit on the number of deferrals which can be granted in any course. For many courses, all of the places available for deferral will be filled during round 1. Deferrals are not permitted in Veterinary Medicine Graduate entry (DN301).

What do I need to do?

When you receive your CAO offer:

  1. Do NOT accept the offer in the manner shown on the Offer
  2. Apply for a deferral using this formsetting out the reason(s) for the request.
  3. The request must be received by UCD Registry Admissions no later than 5 pm on the day before the reply date shown on the offer notice. NB: for your security, requests will only be accepted from the applicant, with the correct CAO number and  if they are from the email address on file from CAO.
  4. The request must include your name, CAO application number and course code.
  5. We will let you know the decision in time to allow you to accept should the decision be negative (expect a decision at least 1 hour before the time acceptances close).
  6. In order to take up the deferred place, you must re-apply through the CAO by 1 February of the following year, placing the deferred programme as the first and only preference. (It is possible to delay application until 1 May on payment of the late application fee).
    You must notify us of your new number.
  7. Please note course content can change from year to year so you should check that the propsectus for the the following year to ensure the options you are interested in will still be available.


If you are given permission to defer entry in the intervening year your offer for this year is no longer valid and you must not:

  1. Attend a third-level institution (a one-year course such as QQI-FET course may be allowed), or
  2. Repeat the Leaving Certificate examination with the intention of applying for a different third-level programme.

If you do so, the deferral will lapse and you will then compete for a place in the normal way.

Please note if you accept/defer a later offer through CAO your deferral is automatically cancelled.

I have already accepted - can I still defer? 

If you have already accepted, it may still be possible to defer up to the second week of trimester. You must contact us immediately explaining why you wish to defer now. It is very urgent that you do so because if you’re deferring, the place needs to be made available to somebody else.

After the second week of trimester, deferral requests will only be considered in very exceptional circumstances, e.g. serious medical grounds (as it is then too late to offer the place to anyone else). NB your student status will be updated to withdrawn if the deferral is granted.

How do graduate students defer?

Deferral information for graduate students is available here.

I am an undergraduate but not via CAO. How do I defer?

  • Undergraduate applicants who have applied direct (Non-EU applicants) and who wish to defer – please contact UCD Global.
  • As transfers are subject to availability of places in a given stage/semester, deferrals are not available to transfer applicants

last update November 2021