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Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme


Ireland's Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme is a Leaving Certificate with a strong vocational aspect.

The programme consists of Leaving Certificate subjects, together with three compulsory link modules on enterprise education, preparation for work and work experience. Students must take at least 5 Leaving Certificate subjects, one of which must be Irish and a continental language or vocational language module.

The link modules

The link modules are activity-based. They usually take a total of 2 to 3 class periods per week, compared with a Leaving Certificate subject, which generally takes 4 to 5 class periods in a week.

The subject groupings

The subject groupings put regular Leaving Certificate subjects that complement each other into groupings. There are 2 groupings:

  • Specialist groupings, in which the subject content of each subject is helpful to the other,
  • Services groupings, where the subjects might work well together from a business or commercial point of view.

Students must take 2 subjects from these groupings.

Assessment and examinations

The Leaving Certificate subjects are examined through the standard Leaving Certificate examination.

The link modules are assessed in a written examination representing 40% of total marks and a portfolio of coursework representing 60% of total marks.


Students receive the same certificate as other Leaving Certificate students, but their Leaving Certificate includes an additional statement of the results of the link modules (pass, merit or distinction).

Access to further study with the Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme

The programme gives students the same opportunity to proceed to universities and colleges as the students taking the Established Leaving Certificate.

There is a new grading scheme for the Leaving Certificate in 2017. The new scheme means that the Common Points Scale used by the CAO to determine entry into higher education institutions, has also been revised.

From 2017, Institutes of Technology and the universities recognise the link modules as follows:

Distinction: 66 points

Merit: 46 points

Pass: 28 points

You can


The fee for entry for school-based students of the Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme for 2017 is €116. You can get further information on state examination fees.

Candidates who hold a current medical card or who are dependent on a parent or guardian who holds a current medical card are exempt from paying examination fees. Applicants who are claiming exemption from fees on this basis must provide medical card details to the Commission. Applications from external candidates received after 8 February 2017 are subject to late fees even if the initial fee has been waived.

How to apply

If you are a post-primary school student, your details will be sent to the State Examinations Commission by your school. If you are an external (non-school) candidate for the Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme, you can apply online or on the application form available from the State Examinations Commission. You can find the timetable for the practical portion of the Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme here (pdf).

Where to apply

State Examinations Commission


Tel:(090) 644 2700
Fax:(090) 644 2744

Page edited: 8 February 2017



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