Created on: February 14, 2024
Modified on: February 21, 2024

When you apply via CAO, you may apply for level 6, level 7 and level 8 courses

You have up to 10 choices at both level eight honours degrees and level seven and six ordinary degrees and higher-certificate courses.

Do not disregard making applications for the level seven and six courses as many of these courses allow you to progress to the level eight honours degree with an additional year or two of study.

Always check that you meet the entry requirements before submitting a course choice on your CAO application. Applicants who complete both lists on their C.A.O. application, could have 2 offers in August, one offer from the Level 8 list and one offer from the Level 7/ 6 list if they meet the entry criteria and cut off points. You will then decide which offer you wish to accept and decline the other. One list does not impact on the other list and it is like two applications in one.

What is a Level 8 course?

A Level 8 is known as an honour’s degree course. They are generally four years in duration. A level 8 is the highest level of qualification that a school leaver can apply to. Minimum requirements for all Level 8 courses are normally two H5 grades and four O6 grades.

What is a Level 7 course?

A Level 7 is known as a degree. They are generally three years in duration. Minimum entry requirements for level 7 courses are normally five O6/H7 grades, although there are some exceptions. Many Level 7 courses contain an option of an ‘add on’ year. This makes it possible for students to complete one extra year and receive a Level 8 qualification.

What is a Level 6 courses?

A level 6 is known as a Higher Certificate and are usually two years in duration. They can be used as a platform for progressing to Level 7/8 courses and these level 6 courses have lower entry requirements and lower points. Very often, students will ‘add-on’ a year and progress onto level 7 and then ‘add-on’ another year and progress onto a level 8 course. Minimum entry requirements for Level 6 are five H7/O6 grades.


For full-time undergraduate programmes listed in the CAO handbook, the academic year begins in September. For those whose application is based on second-level school-leaving exams and who are entering Higher Education for the first time, offers of places in the first year are usually issued after the results of the Irish leaving Certificate exam become available. They do not have a date for the first round of offers for 2024 yet. If all first-round offers are not taken up, additional offers may issue on subsequent rounds.

In Ireland all programmes of education are mapped to the National Framework of Qualifications. This may be seen at this link.

There is an excellent video available on this website, which explains how this works.

You may also see the Recognition of foreign qualifications on the NARIC Links in Ukrainian, Russian and English which is very useful.

NARIC guide – Ukrainian

NARIC guide – Russian

NARIC guide – English