University of Galway, Ireland's leading university for the creative arts, is now offering special performance points for students who show exceptional artistic promise and achievement under five areas of excellence:

  • Creative Writing
  • Film and Digital Media
  • Drama and Theatre
  • Non-fiction writing, including Journalism
  • Music

Successful applicants will gain a bonus of 40 points when applying for entry to all University of Galway undergraduate courses (with the exception of GY501, Medicine).

Applications are now closed for 2024.

Creative Arts Performance Points

Creative Arts Performance Points

Applications are now closed for 2024



How do I apply for the Creative Arts Performance Points Scheme

You must apply online using the online application form. The online application form for this year will be available on this webpage. 

When do applications open?

Applications open 31st January 2024. You can check if applications are open by visiting the dedicated webpage. 

What is the deadline for applications?

The deadline for applications will be 5pm, Wednesday 15th May 2024.

What Creative Arts areas can I make an application under?

There are currently 5 areas a student can make application for Creative Arts Points under.  Those 5 areas are as follows:

  • Creative Writing
  • Drama and Theatre
  • Film and Digital Media
  • Non-fiction writing, including Journalism
  • Music

Please note that Dance is not currently offered as an academic subject at University of Galway so it is not offered as a subject for award in this scheme. 

What standard would I need to achieve in order to be eligible to make an application for Creative Arts Performance Points

Applicants are expected to demonstrate national or international levels of achievement within their field of practice. Indications of what constitutes national or international levels of achievement within each category are outlined below.

Drama and Theatre

  1. Exceptional and/or sustained exceptional experience in drama and theatre studies (including writing, performance, design, dramatic criticism)
  2. Evidence of recognition of exceptional achievement and/or professional involvement in drama and theatre

This might include: participation in a professional theatre production in performance, design, and/or other areas ; awards for writing, performance, design or dramatic criticism by a professional and/or non-school body; national or international news coverage of performance, writing, production involvement highlighting the individual’s role within it; sustained involvement with a professional theatre company in a professional and/or significant semi-professional or volunteer capacity.

NOTE: Criteria 1 and 2 should be supported where possible by documentation, photographs, video materials submitted via YouTube or Vimeo link or uploaded via application form.


For consideration for an award, applicants should have exceptional potential—something equivalent in music to being an Olympian or senior county-level GAA player in sport. This means:

  • (Classical music) Post-Grade 8, with experience of having a principal position in a national-level youth orchestra or choir, or a prize-winner in an advanced class in the Feis Ceoil, or the equivalent of this.
  • (Composition) Experience of having a work performed or workshopped by a professional performer or ensemble.
  • (Musical theatre) Experience of singing a principal role in a professional musical theatre company.
  • (Popular music) Experience of professional work, ideally at a festival, and/or appearances on national radio or other media.
  • (Traditional music) First prizes at national level in such competitions as the All-Ireland Fleadh (15–18 age-group), Bonn Óir Seán Ó Riada, Siansa Gael, or similar.


  • A recording, or recordings, of a complete song or movement of an instrumental piece. Excerpts are not acceptable.
  • If more than one song or piece is submitted, there should be a contrast between them (in genre, style, tempo, etc.).
  • The total time for the recording(s) should not be longer than 10 minutes.
  • Solo performances are preferred, but in some cases a performance within an ensemble may work better. However, in an ensemble performance, the applicant’s contribution must be clearly audible.
  • Composers submitting original compositions should submit a written score and, if possible, a sound file

Supporting documentation

This should emphasise why the applicant is exceptional, and draw attention to the professional or professional-level quality of their work (see above). Where possible by documentation, photographs, video materials submitted via YouTube or Vimeo link or uploaded via application form.

Creative Writing

For consideration for an award, applicants should have exceptional potential and significant experience in Creative Writing or any directly related area (for example: publications, prize-shortlisted or winning work, poetry slamming, editorship, publishing, text-related art or design).

Your application must be supported by:

  1. Evidence (documentation or other materials) of this significant experience.
  2. A personal statement (max 500 words) outlining your creative practice as it stands and how you envisage your future development in the Writing profession(s).

Non-fiction writing, including Journalism

For consideration for an award, applicants should have exceptional potential to become outstanding journalists, and be able to supply evidence of such under one or more of the following criteria:

  1. Evidence of participation in school-based media work, including contribution to a school or local publication, online site, or social media outlet. This might include a portfolio of your best work.
  2. Evidence of published or broadcast journalism at local or national level, in either print/digital, radio or television.
  3. Evidence of interest in how society works, in the democratic process, or in the media generally.

Film and Digital Media

Applicants  are expected to demonstrate national or international levels of achievement within their field of practice. Indications of what constitutes national or international levels of achievement within each category are outlined below:

  1. Acceptance of film or digital media work to a national or international festival or exhibition.

    2.  The receipt of local, national or international funding or awards for film or digital media work.age. 

Do I need to attend for interview?

No, we do not conduct interviews for this scheme.  It is assessed by submission only.

Does University of Galway have to be my first CAO choice to be considered for the scheme?

University of Galway courses must be on your CAO selection of courses but it/they do not necessarily have to be your first choice course.

Apart from the additional points, how will my creative ability be supported at University of Galway?

Most successful applicants are likely to study the area of Creative Arts that they are seeking an award in; other students can practice their chosen art form by engaging with many of the university’s extra-curricular societies and clubs.

How many awardees receive performance points under each creative category?

In 2023, there were a total of 19 awardees from 51 applications. The breakdown of offers by category in 2023 is outlined below. This will differ year to year, depending on the quality of applications in each category.

Creative Writing- 6

Film and Digital Media- 0

Drama- 4

Music- 6

Non-Fiction Writing- 3

When will an applicant know if they have been successful in their application?

We always commit to letting people know before the CAO change of mind deadline on 1st July.

If I am awarded the performance points and I defer my place in University of Galway for a year, will the performance points carry over?

If an applicant who receives the 40 additional performance points requests a deferral and is successful in having that request granted, the additional points will be carried over and included in the record for the following year. 

Am I eligible for the scheme as an A Level applicant from Northern Ireland?

Yes, students from Northern Ireland can apply for the Creative Arts Performance Points.

Am I eligible for the scheme as an A Level applicant from UK?

Yes students from UK applying though the CAO can apply for the Creative Arts Performance Points.

Am I eligible for the scheme as an A Level of IB applicant from Europe?

Yes students from Europe taking A Levels, International Baccalaureate or equivalent examinations and applying through the CAO can also apply for the Creative Arts Performance Points Scheme.

Can I apply under more than one creative arts category?

We would encourage students to apply in the category that you are strongest in.  A student can make an application under more than one category. However, a separate complete application would be required for each category that the student is applying under.

How and when are the 40 points added to my Leaving Certificate or Equivalent Examination points?

University of Galway notify the CAO of the students who have been successful in receiving the 40 bonus points.  The CAO then apply those additional points only to applicants who have applied to a course at University of Galway.

Can the Creative Arts Performance points be applied to all courses at University of Galway?

The 40 bonus points can be applied to any undergraduate course at University of Galway with the exception of Medicine GY510.  However, a successful student must achieve a minimum of 350 points in the Leaving Certificate or equivalent examinations before they are eligible for the scheme.

For any further queries not covered by the FAQ, please email and ensure to put ‘Performance Points Query’ in the subject line.


Meet previous Awardees 


Julia Twamley |   BA (Film and Digital Media)

I was awarded bonus points under the Creative Arts Performance Points Scheme under the category of 'Film. I wouldn't have gotten into my course without the Creative Arts Performance Points Scheme. I did my Leaving Cert a couple of years ago and even though I had high points, the minimum for my course jumped up dramatically after Covid meant that schools had to give predicted grades. So it meant a great deal to me to be awarded the bonus points because this course is perfect for me. It also just gave me a confidence boost by reminding me maybe I do have something to offer. After being awarded the performance points I feel more driven than ever to prove I deserve them and I'm excited about all the projects this course will prepare me for. During the academic year, my classmates and I will be working on short films and I hope to continue that independently into the summer months every year.

Hugh Gately |   BA (English and Creative Writing

I was awarded extra points in the Creative Writing category and I am studying Bachelor of Arts (English and Creative Writing). The scheme helped me in a practical way through the extra points I was awarded, which ensured that I was able to enter the Creative Writing course and continue to hone my writing ability. It also provided me with a confidence boost that has enabled me to be much more open with my writing around my peers, thus helping me to improve my craft even further. It meant so much to me to be awarded, as the achievement made me surer of my ability and strengthened my determination to pursue writing as a career. I plan to continue practicing my writing ability both in my course-related work and as a hobby for myself, and I hope that, as I improve my ability through practice and through participation in my course, I will become ever closer to achieving my dream of one day making a living from my writing.

Alice Fere |   BA (Drama, Theatre and Performance)

I was awarded the additional creative arts bonus points in the drama, theatre and performance category. I’m currently studying for the BA (Drama, Theatre and Performance) at NUI Galway. Being an Italian resident and having sat the Italian equivalent of the Leaving Certificate my grades had to be converted into Irish CAO points which resulted in a disadvantage for me. I placed my hopes in the creative arts performance points, a scheme I was delighted to take part in and worked hard for, even applying in two different categories (the other being creative writing). Above the points earned through sitting my exam, I was lucky enough to be awarded the bonus 40 points and that ensured I got offered my first option. The course is ensuring I’m practicing and expanding my knowledge in the field of drama and performance, something I’m highly interested in pursuing in the future. I’ve been excited to learn new aspects of theatre-making I had, before, placed little thought in. Also, I have signed up for DramSoc and look forward to future meetings and shows. I hope to continue engaging in similar creative and stimulating activities.

Hollie Hannon |   BSC (Speech and Language Therapy)

I was awarded the Creative Arts Performance Points in the Creative Writing Category. I was actually delighted with my Leaving Cert results when I received them, but the Performance Points provided a safety net for me in the lead up to the exams and I was delighted to be offered them. When I found out I was accepted for the scheme I felt a little bit more assured even before I sat my first exam. I was so honoured to be accepted for the scheme. I adore creative writing so it meant a lot to me that my application was read and considered. Creative writing has always been a huge love of mine and something that features heavily in my life. Since starting college, I have joined the Writers’ Society and it provides a great, creative outlet for those that share similar interests. Recently two articles that I’ve written were published in the Sunday Independent and I got a great reaction to them, something I was so pleased and proud of. I write all the time, whenever I can and don’t plan to give it up anytime soon!

Jack Power |   BCL (Law, Criminology & Criminal Justice)

I was awarded the Creative Arts Performance Points in the Creative Writing Category. The 40 additional points that I earned through this scheme helped to ease my nerves before the CAO points were released. I was honoured to be chosen for this scheme, as it encouraged and continues to encourage me to pursue my love for creative writing. I am currently drafting my first attempt at a novel, while simultaneously expanding on a collection of poems I started during my final year at secondary school.