Senior Cycle programme
After completing the Junior Cycle students begin the Senior Cycle programme. The Senior Cycle generally caters for students from 15 to 18 although the Leaving Certificate is not limited to second-level students. The main programmes that students can follow at Senior Cycle are:
- The Transition Year
- The Established Leaving Certificate
- The Leaving Certificate Applied
- The Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme.
Not all of these programmes are followed in every school. You must find out what is available in your school or the school you are thinking of attending.
Senior Cycle and Leaving Certificate reform
The Department of Education announced plans to reform the Senior Cycle and Leaving Certificate from 2024 onwards. It has set up the Senior Cycle Redevelopment Programme Delivery Board to oversee this work.
A selection of schools will be invited to become pilot schools. You can read more about the planned changes to the Senior Cycle.
Within these programmes, there are a number of compulsory subjects. The subjects that are compulsory vary for different programmes and different types of school. All third-level courses have minimum subject requirements for entry. These often include Maths, English and Irish. You should check these minimum requirements before deciding which subjects to take for the Leaving Certificate.
Irish is compulsory in most programmes. In some very limited circumstances, a student may not have to study Irish.