Leaving Certificate Applied
The Leaving Certificate Applied is a distinct, self-contained two-year Leaving Certificate programme aimed at preparing students for adult and working life.
The programme sets out to recognise the talents of all students and to provide opportunities for developing personal responsibility, self-esteem and self-knowledge. The programme focuses on the talents of each student and helps students apply what they learn to the real world.
The two-year programme consists of four half-year blocks called sessions. Achievements are credited in each session.
There is more information in this overview of the Leaving Certificate Applied (pdf).
COVID-19 and the Leaving Certificate
All schools closed on 12 March 2020 due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. The Government Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business (pdf) includes the phased opening of schools and colleges in the new academic year 2020-2021.
The Leaving Certificate has been postponed. Students have been given the option of accepting calculated grades for outstanding assessments, including leaving certificate subjects, vocational specialisms and tasks due to be completed in the current Leaving Certificate Applied session.
Read more about calculated grades and the leaving certificate.
There will be no exam fee for 2020. All exams fees that have already been paid will be refunded.
Applied Leaving Certificate courses
Courses are offered in three main areas:
- Vocational preparation, involving work experience, enterprise and communication
- General education, offering lifeskills, the arts, social education, leisure and language
- Vocational education.
Each course consists of a number of modules. Each module takes place over half a year. There is also a wide range of practical courses, called vocational specialisms, from which the student can choose.
Assessment and examinations
Assessment is continuous throughout the course and there is a final examination.
Assessment takes place on the completion of modules and practical activities that allow the student to integrate the learning from different courses.
The final examination must be taken in the following areas:
- English and communication
- Two vocational specialisms
- Mathematical applications
- Social education.
There are written and oral examinations in all languages. There are practical examinations in the vocational specialisms. The written examinations usually take place in June, at the same time as the examinations for the established Leaving Certificate. In 2020, the written examinations will be postponed until July or August.
The certificate awarded
Students who successfully complete the programme are awarded a Leaving Certificate from the Department of Education and Skills. The certificate is awarded at three levels:
|Level||Marks and Credits Required|
|Pass||60-69% (120-139 credits)|
|Merit||70-84% (140-169 credits)|
|Distinction||85-100% (170-200 credits)|
Candidates who get less than 60% (120 credits) or who do not complete the course, are awarded a record of experience.
Eligibility for further education and third-level courses
A student who has been awarded the Leaving Certificate Applied can go on to a very wide range of Post-Leaving Certificate courses (PLCs). These are available in local post-primary schools and colleges.
There are many areas of study - Art/Design, Business, Science, Services/Leisure and Communications/Media studies.
PLC courses can lead on to an award recognised by the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ). You can find out if your course is recognised by NFQ.
Students with the Leaving Certificate Applied cannot gain direct entry through the Central Applications Office (CAO) system to the universities or institutes of technology. Many PLC courses lead to either a level 5 or level 6 award. In some cases, you can progress with this award to a third level course in a higher education institution such as, institutes of technology and universities. You should discuss your options for progression with your course provider.
Students cannot go directly to nursing but may be eligible to apply as a mature student with certain qualifications or relevant experience.
Students with the Leaving Certificate Applied can also go on to apprenticeship programmes. Many students go directly to employment.
The fee for entry for school-based students sitting the Leaving Certificate Applied in 2020 is €116. Further information on State examination fees is here.
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 28 January 2020 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 Applied you can apply online or on the application form from the SEC.
You can find the following documents on the State Examinations Commission website: