Irish Leaving Certificate (ILC)

The Irish Leaving Certificate (ILC) is the final examination in the Irish secondary school system and is an accepted qualification for all degree programmes at Irish, UK, US and European universities. It is very similar in structure to the Scottish Highers examination and the Australian matriculation examination.


In general, students take five or more subjects (usually seven) for examination. Each subject is assessed through a written examination at the end of the programme of study. Some subjects are also assessed by additional assessment methods including oral and aural examinations, practical examinations and assessment of practical coursework.

The written examination is held in June each year and examination results are available in the middle of August.

Pathway to Third-Level:

The Irish Leaving Certificate is a pathway for students into many degree programmes including:

  • Medicine
  • Dentistry
  • Engineering
  • Law
  • Accounting
  • Pharmacy
  • Physiotherapy

Applications to Irish universities are normally made directly each February, while for UK universities, applications are made in October (for medicine and related courses) and January for other courses.

Successful students may begin at an Irish, UK, US and European universities in September/October each year.

Programme Duration:

The Institute of Education offers a 24 month and 18 month ILC programme to international students. A January intake is also available.

For further information about this programme please contact the International Office.


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