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BCFE Progression Pathways

Within BCFE students can progress from level 4 to a level 8 Honours Degree. Clear progression pathways are illustrated in the graph below.

BCFE NFQ Level 4 Awards, for example RTL, lead onto BCFE NFQ Level 5 Awards. In BCFE, these are generally awarded by QQI. The next level is NFQ Level 6 Awards. In BCFE, these are generally awarded by BTEC and are known as Higher National Certificates. ITs also offer this level of course. Mature applicants can enter at Levels 4, 5 or 6. Students with Leaving Cert Applied can enter at Level 5. Students with Leaving Cert or LCVP can enter at Levels 5 or 6. On completion of a Level 6 second year course, students can progress to Level 7 & 8 courses. These are the highest level course offered in BCFE. These are degree level courses, and are awarded by the relevant associated universities. Graduates of Level 6 courses can also progress to ITs and Universities elsewhere.

Progression to  Further or Higher Education

BCFE courses offer progression options either within BCFE or an alternative pathway to degree, through the Higher Education Links Scheme.

The Higher Education Links Scheme (HELS) reserves a number of places on specified courses for those who hold a full QQI certificate in a related area. For more details visit or check with the relevant 3rd Level Institution.

Applicants are advised at all times to confirm linked awards, additional component requirements, application process and scoring system with the admissions offices of the relevant Higher Education Institutions.

Students can always refer to the Guidance Counsellor for advice and guidance.


QQI Progression

Important information for students who have already completed some QQI Level 5 modules

The following Universities and IOTs require a QQI Level 5 Major Award in one sitting, i.e., you have one academic year to complete all 8 modules in order to meet the minimum entry requirements for courses in these colleges.

For more details, please visit or check with the relevant 3rd Level Institution.

Students can always refer to the Guidance Counsellor for advice and guidance.

The Higher Education Institutes that score by single sitting are

  • Athlone Institute of Technology
  • DIT will accept a combined Level 5 Certificate, but it must be on One Certifi cate not two separate Certs.
  • Dublin Business School and DBS School of Arts
  • Dublin City University
  • Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art Design and Technology
  • Letterkenny Institute of Technology- Nursing, Social Care, Child Care & related courses, also Pharmacy Technician
  • Mary Immaculate College of Education
  • Maynooth University (MU)
  • National Counselling Institute of Ireland
  • National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG)
  • Shannon College of Hotel Management
  • Angela’s College, Sligo-Nursing and related courses University College Cork (UCC)
  • Patrick’s College Drumcondra – now incorporated into DCU St. Patrick’s College Pontifi cal University
  • Trinity College, Dublin (TCD)
  • University College Dublin (UCD) – Nursing and related courses University of Limerick(UL)
  • Waterford Institute of Technology – Nursing and related courses

Students can present a Level 5 Award with combined subjects over several years for colleges not listed above. It is the student’s responsibility to contact QQI & request a single certificate combining their results- PPS number required.

HEAR & DARE – Assistance with Progression

Both of these schemes pertain to CAO applications.

DARE - Disability Access Route to Education


Disability Access Route to Education (DARE) is a third level alternative admissions scheme for school-leavers whose disabilities have had a negative impact on their second level education/Leaving Cert. DARE offers reduced points places to school leavers who as a result of having a disability have experienced additional educational challenges in second level education. (It does not apply reduced points to PLC or Further Ed. Qualifications).

For more information on DARE see student handbook.

HEAR - Higher Education Access Route


The Higher Education Access Route (HEAR) is a college and university scheme which offers places on reduced Leaving Cert. points and extra college support to school leavers from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds who are resident in the Republic of Ireland. HEAR is an admissions scheme to help students who may not traditionally go on to third level.

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