Further Advice - Northern Ireland/UK Applicants

What Qualifications are acceptable?

Entry is a two-phase process:

  1. First you must matriculate, i.e. meet certain very basic requirements. As a minimum, you'll need a recognized award at UK Framework level 3 or higher to be eligible for consideration for year 1, for instance you’ll need at least 1 A-level or a BTEC level 3 to matriculate for a level 6/7 programme and at least 2  A-levels at grade C or higher to matriculate for a level 8 programme. Matriculation is just the first step.  Matriculation makes a candidate eligible for consideration but, since entry is competitive, matriculation does not guarantee selection. In order to establish matriculation, your application to CAO should include information about:
  • Relevant exams for which you already have certification and
  • Any exams you may be taking in the year of application and for which results are pending (Note: you cannot matriculate on the basis of predicted grades.  Eventually you will need to produce certified results for any exams you wish to have considered). 

The summary information provided about your exams history in the on-line application must be backed up by appropriate documentation proving your summary. CAO will accept certified* A4 photocopies of official Certificates produced by the Examining Bodies.

  • *A certified photocopy is one that has been stamped with a school stamp, at a police station or by a notary.
  • An unofficial list of grades produced by yourself or by a school will not be sufficient.
  1. Once you have matriculated you can move on to step two, where you must compete, on points, against other matriculated candidates. The more points you achieve the better your chance of getting an offer. Information about how points are calculated for standard GCE/GCSE applicants is available via the CAO website here.

Matriculation, Standard Applicants

Standard Applicants are those presenting a combination of GCE A-levels, AS-levels and GCSEs.
Applicants can present combinations of these awards to meet the minimum entry requirements for LYIT and other Institutes of Technology.   GCSEs or O levels at grade C or better can be used to meet matriculation requirements but will not be awarded any points

Applied A-Levels

Applied GCE subjects are accepted at LYIT for both matriculation and scoring purposes.  Applied subjects are scored in the same way as standard subjects.  In most cases, any Applied A-level will be accepted as contributing to the matriculation requirements. However, in the case of the following programmes from the School of Science,  the only applied A-level that will be accepted is Applied Science.

LY908 General Nursing
LY918 Psychiatric Nursing
LY928 I.D. Nursing

Results for standard exams from recognised boards are scored centrally by the CAO according to the scoring system outlined here.

Standard Applicants, Matriculation for Level 7/6 (Ordinary Bachelor Degree/ or Higher Certificate)

  • Applicants must present a minimum of 5 recognised subjects.
  • At least one of the 5 subjects must be an A Level/Applied A-level, at Grade E, or better.
  • The remaining 4 subjects must be different from that presented at A level and  may be drawn from:
    • A Level (Grades A-E)
    • AS Level (Grades A-E) or
    • GCSE (grades A, B, or C only)
  • English (or Irish) at GCSE grade C higher must be included in the subjects presented.
  • For courses when Maths is NOT a requirement click here.
  • Science is required for some programmes in the School of Science.
  • Art is required for some Design programme.
  • To matriculate for Level 7 entry applicants will also need to have a combination of grades that yield a minimum of 160 points.

The following are some sample GCE grade combinations that would meet this requirement.

GCE/A-levels Plus Points
(Min 160 required for L7)
1 grade A*   =185
1 grade A 1 AS grade E 156 + 25 = 181
1 grade B 1 AS grade D 131 + 34 = 165
1 grade C 1 AS grade A 106 + 62 = 164
1 grade D 2 AS grades A & E 84 + 62 + 25 = 171
1 grade E 2 AS grades A & C 63 + 62 + 42 = 167
2, Grades C and E   106 + 63 = 169
2, both at Grade D   84 + 84 = 168

  • (This is not necessarily an exhaustive list of possible combinations): 
    Note also that while achieving minimum matriculation makes a candidate “eligible for consideration” it  does not guarantee selection. Entry is competitive. The better your grades the more points you will earn and, thus, the better your chance of selection. Applicants for some of our more highly competitive Level 7 programmes are likely to require significantly more than 160 points to have a realistic chance of selection.   

    An archive of historic CAO points is available here.
    The scoring scheme for GCEs is available here.
    Using these two sources applicants can work out for themselves what grade combination would, in the past,have yielded the points required for the courses that interest them. 

    Results from the past may be broadly indicative of trends - but should not be relied on as a predictor of points that may be needed in the future. Due to fluctuating levels of competition, points can change (sometimes significantly) from one year to the next. It is not possible to predict points in advance and, thus, it is not possible to predict possible grade combinations in advance either.

Note: on successful completion of a Level 6 or 7 programme, it is usually possible to progress seamlessly to the next level, either at LYIT or elsewhere).

Matriculation for ab initio Level 8 (hons Degree) Standard Applicants,

  • Applicants must present a minimum of 6 recognised subjects.
  • At least two of the 6 subjects must be at A-level/Applied A-level at grade C or better.
  • The remaining 4 subjects must be different from those presented at A level and may be drawn from:
    • A Level (Grades A-E)
    • AS Level (Grades A-E) or
    • GCSE (grades A, B, or C only)
  • English (or Irish) at GCSE grade C or higher must be included in the 6 subjects presented.
  • Mathematics at GCSE grade C higher is required for most programmes.Maths is required for most programmes. A list of the courses where maths is NOT required can be found here
  • Science is required for some programmes in the School of Science.
  • Art is required for some Design programme.

See here for scoring. 

Entry is competitive.

Colleges have limited places and whenever there are more applicants for a course than there are places available, colleges will select the most able candidates first.  Thus, particularly for more popular programmes, achieving only the minimum requirement does not guarantee a place. Points are assigned to the exam grades presented and these points are used to rank applicants.  Basically, your chance of being offered a place increases as your point score increases. 

Note:  Calculation of points is phase two of the admission processes.  No points are calculated until matriculation requirements are met.

The generic Matriculation requirements for standard applicants are outlined above. In general, you will note that both Maths and either English or Irish must be among the subjects presented. The specific matriculation requirements for each programme are listed on the programme pages on this site. 

Note that some programmes specify additional particular subjects and/or grades, e.g.

  • GCSE grade C or better in Art is required for LY408 Design – Visual Communication.
  • GCSE grade C or higher in Science is required for Nursing and some programmes in the School of Science.

Non-Standard Applicants

Awards other than GCE/GCSE combination are regarded as non-standard and are not included in CAO central processing. 

It is important that any candidates including non-standard awards part of their application makes this clear in their application.

Details of the qualification should be supplied on page 4 of the CAO application form (if applying for entry to first year) or on the college application form (if applying exemptions or for advanced entry, i.e. to years 2, 3, or 4).

Colleges can intervene to score non-standard awards manually.   Each HEI is an independent admitting institution and various HEIs may take different approaches to non-standard awards.

Whether or not a non-standard award will be recognized, and to what degree, will depend on the learning outcomes achieved and on how those learning outcomes fit in with the pre-requisites of the course for which application is being made. 

To enable the admitting college to judge this, the applicant should attach both of the following:

  • the transcript of results
  • a copy of syllabus of the course on which those results are based.

LYIT will give consideration to awards at UK Framework Level 3 or higher, including  BTECs, AVCs, GNVQs etc. 

BTECs – Matriculation
Extended Diploma Diploma 90 credit Diploma Subsidiary Diploma Indicative Score
D*D*D*       390
D*D*D       371
D*DD       351
DDD       332
DDM       293
DMM D*D*     254
  D*D     234
MMM DD     215
    D*D*   185
MMP DM D*D   176
    DD   156
MPP MM DM   137
      D* 117
    MP   78
  PP   M 59

For pre 2010 BTECs a National Certificate is the lowest acceptable award.
Each module is scored, pass 1,  merit 2,  distinction 3.  The total score is then derived using the following formula
(Sum of scores/number of modules x 3) x 400

*Please note that certain high demand courses at LYIT have a very restricted quota for applicants hoping to be admitted on the basis of vocational awards such as BTEC/ QQI FET.

Code Course Title Level Vocational Quota
 LY908  General Nursing  8  2 places
 LY918  Psychiatric Nursing  8  1 place
 LY928  Intellectual Disability Nursing  8  1 place
 LY906  Early Childhood Care, Health and Education  6  2 places
 LY968  Early Childhood Care, Health and Education  8  2 places
 LY916  Health & Social Care  6  2 places
 LY917  Health & Social Care  7  1 place
 LY806  Pharmacy Technician  6  1 place
 LY816  Dental Nursing  6  1 place
 LY877  Agriculture  7  1 place
 LY847  Veterinary Nursing  7  1 place

Where restricted vocational quotas apply, results from vocational awards like BTEC/QQI FET are considered on round zero only.  Once the vocational quota is dealt with, the BTEC scores do not apply and are not considered on rounds 1 or later. 

If you are interested in a course having restricted vocational quota, your BTEC must be in an area directly and closely related to the course for which you are applying.  When there are more qualified BTEC/QQI FET applicants than there are quota places available, random selection from among the highest scoring applicants may apply.

For LYIT courses that do not have a limited vocational quota, BTEC results will be considered on rounds 1 and later. 

Academic and vocational entry routes are distinct.  It is not possible to add BTEC and A-level scores, just as it is not possible to add leaving Cert and QQI FET scores.  For these non-quota courses, where an applicant has taken both BTEC and A-level awards, the two types of award will be assessed separately.  Whichever award yields the higher results will be used for ranking and selection purposes on round 1 and later.

Supply of Results - Deadlines

All non- standard applicants are advised in the CAO handbook (page 12) to submit all supporting documentation, including certified results for any exams or qualifications they wish to have taken into account,  within 10 days of submission of the on-line application.  This facilitates colleges to begin their assessment early and to check back with applicants in the event that anything needs to be clarified.

If the exams are to be taken in the current year, obviously result may not be available within the normal 10-day window.  In any such case, this should be noted at the application stage. The applicant should submit such results to CAO as soon as they become available. Applicants who submit additional material to CAO outside the normal 10-day widow MUST also alert the HEI, indicating  that new material/evidence has been added to their application.

As we are required to have submitted round 1 assessments to CAO by August 7th, applicants wishing to be considered on round 1 should have relevant documentation submitted to us by August 5th. Applicants are warned that where information is submitted after August 5th  it may not be assessed on time for consideration on round 1. However,  in the event that there are still vacancies available, late material can be considered for subsequent rounds.  

Helping Colleges Interpret Results

By comparison with Irish school-leavers, UK & NI applicants present a wider variety of documents.  These come in differing formats from a variety of exam boards. Bearing in mind that Colleges in RoI may be unfamiliar with these documents, and that they are likely to arrive quite late in the day and at a very busy time, speedy processing of results might be facilitated if they were accompanied by an official covering letter stating the significance of the documents being presented.  Any such letter should be on School or College notepaper and from a school Guidance Counsellor or Head of Faculty, not from the applicant.  Colleges would consider such a statement though they would not, necessarily be bound by it.  Statements should be brief (4 or 5 lines), factual, and confined strictly to interpretation of the award.  The most crucial piece of information is the UK Framework level of the award being presented. They should attempt to express the significance of the award in terms of generally accepted equivalence within UCAS/UK/NI system. No assumptions /statements should be made regarding equivalence to Irish Exams, as that is a matter for the admitting HEI. In general, admission for non-mature applicants in the Republic of Ireland is on the basis of academic results only, not on the basis of references or personal statements.  Therefore, it is only interpretation of the award/grade that matters.  Reference to, or comment on, the qualities or abilities of the individual presenting the award may be omitted.  Comments on the following lines would be useful:

  • Type, duration, depth: e.g. This (Name of ) award follows on foot of a vocational programme consisting of 20 class-contact hours per week over a two-year period.
  • UK Framework Level:  (LYIT will only consider awards at UK framework level 3 or higher).
  • Assessment methods: e.g. The programme leading to this award is assessed by continuous assessment XX%, and terminal exam XX%.
  • Identification of component and final grades, e.g. the award is made up of components taken over XX sessions. The component grades are XX, Y,Y ZZ.  The final Award/Grade is XX.
  • Accepted equivalence in UK/NI. e.g. The grades presented are generally considered equivalent to grade XX at A-level. The grades presented would earn XX points on the UCAS tariff.
  • Merit relative to other candidates for the same award, e.g. the grades presented are in the XX percentile for this award. 

Mature Applicants

Mature applicants, (those over 23 by January 1st in the year of entry) can apply for any programme on the basis of relevant life or work experience, even if they do not have academic qualifications.
Click here for information for mature applicants.

Advanced Entry to LYIT

Students and who have successfully completed one, or more, years of Higher Education in N.I. or the U.K. and/or who have achieved qualification at UK level 4 or higher may be eligible to have that learning and/or qualification recognised. Depending on the learning outcomes achieved, such students may be eligible for Advanced Entry. Applications for Advanced Entry should be submitted directly to LYIT before April 1st. 

How do I get An Application Form?

Download a Direct Entry Application Form (to be used for year 2, 3, 4 entry or for ACCS entry). 

Alternatively you may e-mail Lisa Devlin, or write to the Registry at LYIT to request a copy. Along with the completed application form, please submit:

  • A course descriptor document for the programme on which your application is based, preferably one in which Learning Outcomes are listed.
  • A copy of your results to date.

Offers of places for advanced entry (i.e. into year 2, 3, or 4) issue directly from the college Registry, usually in July.

Click here for more information on Advanced Entry.

A two-year foundation degree, at level 5 on the UK framework, will permit advanced entry into related programmes at LYIT.

For instance, the following foundation degrees will permit entry into Year 3 of the BB in International Tourism & Hospitality Enterprise:

FSc Degree in Hospitality & Tourism Management (Validated by the University of Ulster).
FSc Degree in Travel and Tourism Management (Validated by the University of Ulster).

Funding your Education at LYIT

Information on fees is available here.

Students who met the criteria outlined will not have to pay any Tuition fees. All students attending college in the Republic of Ireland incur a Student Contribution Charge, which covers non-tuition student services.  This applies in every college and is set by central government, not by LYIT. Students may apply to their Education and Library board for financial assistance.  Students may also apply for a student loan from the board to cover the living and travel expenses See http://www.studentfinanceni.co.uk for advice on assistance towards this fee.

Living costs in Donegal are amongst the cheapest in Ireland. Please see information provided by the students' union here


Hosted by QQI, NARIC Ireland provides free advice on the recognition of foreign qualifications in Ireland. The NARIC qualifications database has details of almost 800 qualifications from over 60 countries. NARIC Ireland is one of a network of centres that forms part of the ENIC-NARIC (European National Information Centre / National Academic Recognition Information Centre) network. 

These centres work to enable the mobility, transparency and recognition of qualifications. It is important to note that the comparability statements make it possible to draw broad comparisons between qualifications and their levels, rather than direct equivalences, for each country.  

NARIC does not set the matriculation standard for HEIs or the entry requirements for any specific course. 

At LYIT we look for a comparability statement that indicates any foreign awards presented as a basis for entry to year 1 are equivalent to level 5 or higher on the Irish Framework of Qualifications. 

A qualification that is broadly equivalent to Irish Level 5 does not necessarily guarantee selection.  There may, in addition, be specific subject, content or grade requirements relevant to the course for which you apply. 

Entry is competitive. Candidates with higher levels of qualification and better grades will be selected ahead of those with lower qualifications/grades.