CAO - Further Education (including QQI FET)

QQI FET (formerly FETAC)

If you do not qualify for Higher Education based on your Leaving Cert. results, you may be able to qualify via a PLC (Post Leaving Cert) or FET (Further Education and Training) course, such as QQI Level 5 awards.

List of Courses

  • To view a full list of all full-time undergraduate degree courses (Level 8) click here.
  • To view a full list of all full-time undergraduate degree courses (Level 6 & 7) click here.

Application Process

In some cases any QQI Level 5 award is acceptable for entry to Higher Ed.  However, in many case, and especially the case of more high-demand courses, such as nursing, veterinary nursing etc., only a limited number of PLC/FET awards  are recognised for college entry.  You may also be required to include specific modules within your PLC/FET award.  Therefore, it is very important that you check college requirements before choosing any PLC/FET course.  For each Higher Ed. course that interests you,  you‘ll need  to know the Name and Code of any acceptable PLC/FET awards.  You can check this via the CAO website here. Once you have established which PLC/FET course you need to present, you’ll need to find out where that PLC/FET course is available.

To check requirement for QQI FET entrants please consult the CAO website here, 
where you will find entry requirements, information on the scoring scheme and a video guide
Note that a full QQI FET at level 5 normally consists of 120 credits. A Component Certificate or Record of Achievement is awarded to candidates who successfully complete one or more QQI/FET level 5 modules. These Component Certificates do not meet the entry requirements. Applicants must have the full level 5 award/120 credits to be eligible for consideration. 

In some instances QQI FET level 5 modules are accumulated over more than one academic year. In such cases, it is the responsibility of the applicant to apply to QQI for a full award.

Offers Based on QQI FET Level 5 Results

For several programmes in the School of Science, a very limited number of places are available for QQI FET level 5 applicants (See table)

Code Course Title  Level  QQI FET Quota
AU380 General Nursing 8 3 places
AU381 Mental Health Nursing 8 3 places
AU382 Intellectual Disability Nursing 8 3 places
AU190 Early Childhood Care, Health and Education 6 4 places
AU390 Early Childhood Care, Health and Education 8 4 places
AU391 Health & Social Care  8 4 places
AU371 Agriculture Common Entry 8 2 places
AU174 Pharmacy Technician 6 1 place
AU173 Dental Nursing 6 1 place
AU272 Agriculture 7 2 places
AU271 Veterinary Nursing 7 2 places
AU170 HS with Physiotherapy Studies 6 1 place
AU171 HS with Occupational Therapy Studies 6 1 place
AU172 HS with Dietetics Studies 6 1 place


QQI FET level 5 scores for the above programmes will be based on exams taken at a single sitting.

For all other programmes, there is a quota of up to 10 places for student seeking entry based on QQI FET level 5 results.  FE scores can be accumulated over multiple sittings where the larger quota of 10 places applies. 

QQI/FET -based offers normally issue on round zero

Separate Pathways

Please note that entry based on FE results is a separate pathway from entry based on Leaving Cert. or GCE. 

QQI FET level 5 (or BTEC level 3) results are not considered non quota places.   Only Leaving Cert. or GCE results will be considered for non quota places.

QQI FET level 5 applicants who also have a Leaving Cert or GCE results, can also compete on round 1 and subsequent rounds for non-quota places using their Leaving Cert or GCE results.  

QQI FET Level 6 

Applicants presenting QQI FET Level 6 Awards may be eligible for some exemptions or perhaps even for advanced entry into year 2 of a cognate area, provided there is sufficient overlap in the learning outcomes that they achieved via the QQI FET Level 6 and those achieved by our own first years. This is a judgement call for the relevant Head of Department and/or RPL officer at ATU Donegal.  Each such application has to be considered separately and on its merits.

In order to establish what, if any, exemptions may be available, an applicant intending to present a QQI FET level 6 should apply directly to ATU Donegal.  The application will be forwarded to the Head of Dept. for decision. Just in case they aren’t deemed eligible for any exemptions or advanced entry, applicants with QQI FET at level 6 may also want to apply, via CAO, for first year - as a fall-back or failsafe position.   Those wishing to do so must adhere to CAO deadlines.

When should I apply?

Students should apply through the CAO system. A list of CAO application deadlines are as follows:

Early Bird Applications (Discounted application fee) 20 January, 5.00 pm
Normal Closing Date 01 February, 5.00 pm
Late Deadline (More costly and some restriction apply) 01 May, 5.00 pm
Change of Mind (Some restrictions apply) 01 July, 5.00 pm
Student currently registered in Third Level  who entered their current course via CAO  22 July, 5.00 pm


Rechecks & Regrading

A candidate who was not initially considered eligible or who matriculated but below the cut-off point,  may become eligible and rise above the cut-off points following re-check/regrading of their LCE or other school-leaving exam.  Where the revised result becomes known early,  i.e. up to CAO round 3,  ATU Donegal will endeavour to accommodate the candidate in taking up the place in the  current year.  However it is possible that some high-demand courses may be  already full and it may not be possible to accommodate regraded candidates.  In such cases ATU Donegal will offer a deferral to the following year. 

Even where a course is not technically full, a late start  (more than 2 weeks into a 13 week  semester)  may not be in the best interest of the candidates . They will have missed important  induction activities and perhaps a significant portion of the course content.  Therefore, once term has started, and  regardless of whether or not the class group is full, ATU Donegal may  offer deferrals in such circumstances.  Where a  candidate wishes  to take up a late offer in the current year they will  need to make up for any deficit by their own efforts.   Please note that no accommodations will be made for late  entrants in terms of course review nor will allowance be made in terms of meeting course requirements or when it comes examinations.