NUI Galway Access Programme Offers Alternative Pathway to Third Level Education

Jul 28 2021 Posted: 09:38 IST

NUI Galway’s Access Programmes, which have been supporting students from backgrounds traditionally under-represented at third level education for over twenty years, have announced that applications for this year’s Access Programme for School Leavers opens on the 1 August 2021.

Access courses introduce students to methods of study and writing that are required for successful participation in higher education, and also prepares students to make informed choices about further study options.

Saoirse O’Connor, who completed the NUI Galway Access Programme for School Leavers this year, said: “This year the course was held online due to the pandemic, but I still had the opportunity to meet new people, make friends and overall I had an enjoyable experience throughout the programme. I also benefited from the ongoing supports of the access office, which helped me to do my best. I am hoping to begin a General Nursing Degree with NUI Galway in September.”

Oisín Halligan, who also completed the Access Course at NUI Galway in 2020-21, said: “The access course was the opportunity I thought I’d never get academically, the course gets you far more prepared than secondary school and there are so many good people involved in the course that are there to help whenever possible.”

The Access Course runs for 21 weeks, either full-time or part-time, during the academic year, and students who complete the Access Course receive a Diploma in Foundation Studies from NUI Galway. They are also eligible to apply for direct entry (via the CAO) to full-time University undergraduate degree courses.

Dr Mary Surlis, Senior Manager with NUI Galway’s Access Centre, said: “Access Centre is focused on widening participation and embracing diversity and inclusion at third level by bringing people into higher education who, for a diverse range of reasons, have not reached their potential through the traditional entry route. Our Access Programmes are designed not only to develop a student’s academic skills but to support students in building confidence in themselves and supporting them to reach their full potential.” 

Applications for this year’s School Leavers Access Programme is open from 1 August until the 17 September, and is available to those who are 22 years of age or under and have not had the opportunity to study at third level. The Access Centre runs a number of Access Programmes both on-campus and at NUI Galway outreach centres at An Cheathrú Rua, Ballinasloe and St. Angela’s Sligo.

Further information and the online application form is available at


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