Welcome to the Access Programmes Office

Welcome to the Access Programmes Office

NUI Galway

Access programmes are designed to provide a supportive educational environment which prepare students academically and personally for a full-time undergraduate degree at third level. Find out if an Access Programme is for you!

Click here for the Access Diploma Programmes Guide 2023

What is the Access Course for Higher Education for?

University of Galway Access Programmes provide an opportunity for students who are generally under-represented at third level to progress to University. The Access Course is a 1 year full-time/part-time daytime/evening course that aims to provide students with the opportunity to prepare, personally and academically, for an undergraduate course of full-time study of at least three years duration at University of Galway. The course is designed to meet the learning needs of the adult student; to provide individual attention and assistance where appropriate.

University of Galway currently deliver a number of Access programmes for School Leavers (22 or under) and Mature Access Students (23 or above) on the University Campus in Galway City, as well as in our outreach centres.

Am I eligible to apply?

This scheme facilitates prospective students who are resident for 1 year or more in the Border Midlands and Western (BMW) region and County Clare.

Applicants are assessed according to their socio-economic status. Applicants must supply evidence of a full year's household income for the previous calendar year with their application. Income limits are consistent with the Higher Education Access Route to Education (HEAR) Scheme

What are the subjects?

Course Content:

The course content consists of two supporting elements: Core Subjects and Academic Options.

Core subjects:

  • Study Skills
  • Applied Writing
  • Information Technology
  • Educational Guidance

Academic Options: provide students with introductory university courses as a prelude to continuing their studies to a higher level. Students generally study four options (two per semester) from the following subjects :

  • College of Arts, Social Sciences & Celtic Studies: Philosophy, Sociology, History, Irish, English, Mathematics, Geography
  • College of Science: Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology
  • College of Engineering & Informatics: Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology
  • College of Business, Public Policy and Law: Economics/Accountancy, Mathematics


The criteria for successful completion of the Access Course involve satisfactory attendance and performance in all elements of the programme, which include written / oral assignments and essays. Students’ academic progress is measured through a process of continuous assessment - written and oral - as well as end of term examinations.


Participants who successfully complete the Access Course will receive a Diploma in Foundation Studies from University of Galway, and will be eligible to apply for direct entry (via the CAO) to full-time University degree courses* in the following faculties:

  • College of Arts
  • Social Sciences & Celtic Studies
  • College of Science; College of Engineering & Informatics
  • College of Business, Public Policy and Law

* in certain instances, interviews with the Department / College Head may also be required.


Course costs for those selected are borne by the University, contingent upon funding.

Any queries please contact the Access Centre on the ground floor of Áras Uí Chathail, University of Galway Campus. Service provision is currently by appointment only, please submit queries by email to: access@universityofgalway.ie

Access Programme for School Leavers

For more information on the Access Programme for School Leavers

Click Here

Access Programme for Mature Student

For more information on the Mature Students on Access Programme

Click Here

Part-Time Courses - Mature Students

More information

Click Here