CAO Application

All applicants for entry to first year of Carlow College, St Patrick’s full-time undergraduate courses are made through the Central Applications Office (CAO). Applications open in early November for courses starting in September of the following year. Detailed information on how to apply is available at 

Carlow College welcomes applications from people from all educational and personal backgrounds. To find out how to apply, select which application route applies to you from the below. 

All applications must be made through the CAO. 

All the information you need to know on how to apply is available on the CAO website

For information on points requirements, visit our Leaving Cert Applicants page

Make sure you take note of the particular closing dates for applications and change of mind. Key CAO dates are available here

Carlow College welcomes applications from mature students. It is important to note that Carlow College does NOT have a limit on the number of Mature Students that can be accepted onto our programmes. 

You are considered a mature applicant once you are 23 years old on or before the 1st January in the year of application. 

Your Leaving Certificate or previous academic qualifications are not a requirement for admission to our programmes. Instead, each application is assessed by our Admissions Team who take into account your previous studies, work experience and personal interests. 

Applications are made through the CAO in the usual way. Once applications are assessed, you will be invited to interview (normally held in March/April and May each year). If successful, you will receive your offer in Round A (early July). 

For information on the application process, see the Mature Applicants section on the CAO website.

Additional information for Mature Students at Carlow College is available on our Mature Applicants page

Carlow College welcomes applications from FETAC and QQI students. Applications are open for all First Year undergraduate programmes. In some cases, students who hold a QQI-FET Level 6 may be eligible to apply for advanced entry to Year 2. Check out Advanced Entry Guidelines for details 

You will find all the information you need on how to apply on the FETAC Applications page on the CAO website 

Make sure you take note of the particular closing dates for applications and change of mind. Key CAO dates are available here. 

Additional information for QQI-FET/FETAC applicants is available on our QQI-FET Students page

Carlow College accepts applications from Non-Standard or Special Category applicants for entry to any of our undergraduate programmes.  

If you are not a mature year applicants, but wish to have taken into account qualifications and/or achievements additional to, or alternative to, the Leaving Certificate may apply as a Non-Standard or Special Category applicant through the CAO. Your qualifications may have been gained from full or part-time study. 

There are six categories, which are detailed on Page 3 of the CAO Application Form. Applicants who wish to be considered as a Non-Standard Applicant should tick the relevant box on Page 3 of the CAO form. 

Non-Standard CAO applicants include: 

Note: Carlow College is not part of the DARE/HEAR scheme, however we do offer a full range of academic supports to students with disabilities and learning differences.

All the information you need to know on how to apply is available on the CAO website. Note that if you wish to be considered as a Non-Standard Applicant, you need to tick the relevant box on Page 3 of the CAO application form. 

Make sure you take note of the particular closing dates for applications and change of mind. Key CAO dates are available here.

Additional information for Non-Standard Applicants is available on our Non-Standard Applicant page.

Direct entry is a pathway onto a college programme which is processed directly by the College.

Undergraduate Programmes Not Listed on the CAO
Carlow College has entry pathways which are not processed by the CAO for some courses. This pathway are available for the BA (Hons) in Applied Social Studies (Professional Social Care).

For further information on Direct Entry application dates and procedures, click here

Our part-time degree study option is available for those who wish to study on a part-time basis towards gaining a level 7 or level 8 degree.

Applications for part-time study are made directly to the College.

For details on how to apply, click here

Carlow College accepts applications from non-EU applicants for all undergraduate programmes. Information on the application and admissions process can be found on our International Applications section.

Garda Vetting 

Carlow College offers a number of programmes that require students to undertake placements with external agencies, which may bring them into contact with children and/or vulnerable adults. Therefore, it is a requirement to undergo Garda Vetting prior to commencing placement. Students must only register for courses on the understanding that, if, as a result of the outcome of the Garda vetting procedures, a student is deemed unsuitable to attend a professional placement, they will be required to withdrawn from their course. 

As per QQI Award Standards the following courses that require placement and Garda vetting at Carlow College include: 

  • B.A. in Applied Social Studies (Professional Social Care): vetting in Stage One for Placement in Stage 2,3  
  • B.A. (Honours) in Social, Political & Community Studies: vetting in Stage 2 for Internship in Stage 3  
  • B.A. & B.A. (Honours) in Arts & Humanities*: vetting in Stage 2 for Learners who take Catechetics stream in stage 3, 4
  • B.A. (Honours) in English & History: no vetting required
  • B.A. (Honours) in Psychology: no vetting required

*Students that choose to take the
Catechetic & Teaching Placement module on the B.A. & B.A. (Honours) in Arts & Humanities programme and will be required to undergo vetting. 

Garda vetting forms will be distributed to students from the Admissions Office 

English Language Requirements 

Applicants whose first language is not English and have not completed the Irish Leaving Certificate must be able to provide evidence that their spoken and written level of English is adequate for the programme for which they have applied.  

The relevant certified documentation to support this must be provided as part of the application process:  

  1. An approved English language qualification or test result (see below for list of approved qualifications). The qualification must have been awarded no more than two years prior to the proposed date of enrolment; 


2.Satisfactory completion of an interview process for entry onto the programme. 

English Proficiency Qualification 

Minimum Level Required 

Irish Leaving Certificate 

Grade O6 or better in Ordinary Level English 

High School Diploma (United States) 

Grace C or better in English (senior year results) 


Grade 4 (C) or better in English  

TOEFL Paper Based Test 


TOEFL Computer Based Test 


TOEFL Internet Based Test (iBT) 


IELTS (Academic) 


Pearson Test of English (PTE Academic) 


Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English 

Grade C (CEFR Level C1 or C2) 

Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English 

Grade C (CEFR Level C1 or C2) 

English Test for Academic and Professional Purposes (ETAPP) 

Grade C1 or better (CEFR Level C1 or C2) 


Note 1: In certain circumstances results in examinations other than those outlined above may be accepted as proof of competence in the English language. However, the results obtained in such other examinations must indicate competency to one of the standards outlined above. Applicants should check with the International Office for more details. 

 Note 2: Please also note that IN ALL CASES the English language certification must have been obtained within TWO YEARS prior to the application to Carlow College, St. Patrick’s. 

 Note 3: Visa-required nationals should note that to comply with current immigration procedures, results of recent IELTS or TOEFL exams must accompany visa applications; please see