However, from September 2018, four places on the Business and Law degree and six on the ten other law degrees offered by UCD will be opened to students with Level Five or Level Six QQI-FET (Quality and Qualifications Ireland – Further Education and Training) qualifications.
Prospective applicants must have distinctions (80% or better) in five modules to be admitted, on a competitive basis, to the courses. Applications to UCD law under the QQI-FET pathway are made through the Central Applications Office (CAO).
For the Business and Law degree, a Level Five or Level Six distinction is required in mathematics, or a H5 at higher-level Leaving Cert, or O1 at ordinary level, changing to H6/O2 in 2019. The Law with French Law course requires a H3 in Leaving Cert French at a minimum.
The five QQI-FET module distinctions can be in a variety of different Level Five courses, including applied social studies, business administration, business studies, community care, community development, community health services, cultural and heritage studies, e-business, liberal arts, international trade, journalism, language and European studies, legal studies, marketing, trade union studies, and youth work.
Level Six options
The Level Six options include administration and business; early childhood care and education; inclusive education and training; information; advice and advocacy; management; and social and vocational integration.
The UCD law places are allocated based on the applicant’s score only. The best eight modules in a single award will be used for the calculation of points.
Where more than one student has the same score, students will be ranked by the CAO on a random basis.
The ‘law with’ offering at UCD includes Law with Chinese, Law with Economics, Law with French Law, Law with History, Law with Irish, Law with Politics, Law with Philosophy, and Law with Social Justice.
UCD describes its law degrees as having a “proud history and an established reputation at home and abroad”. The law school has a purpose-built facility that opened in 2013, and has top-of- the-range facilities, including mock moot courts.
A UCD spokesperson says that the BCL degree “allows you to immerse yourself in the study of law, to engage with a range of interesting legal perspectives, and to acquire a profound understanding of how law works in theory and in practice”.
Prof Imelda Maher (dean of the Sutherland School of Law at UCD) says that the school is keen to encourage those with excellent FET awards to apply.
“The school is rightly reaching out to a wider pool of students who we believe should be part of the number one law school in Ireland” [in the QS world rankings].
Dr Liam Thornton, who led the move, says: “This new FET route recognises the diversity of learning journeys our students will take before coming to study with us. The introduction of a FET route to our law degrees emphasises the commitment of UCD School of Law to attracting a diverse cohort of students, which greatly enriches our learning community in UCD.”
Research shows that the great majority of the Irish judiciary has passed through UCD law.
The Higher Education Authority requirement that 10% of university entrants should come from further education and training sectors was a driving factor in UCD opening up entry to its law school.
“The School of Law wanted to ensure that we were contributing to UCD meeting that target,” says Dr Thornton.
“This is simply acknowledging that the Leaving Cert and the CAO, for all their positives – and there are many – do not fully reflect students who would absolutely thrive doing a law degree.
“It’s simply broadening the range of option for candidates who we think would be really good law students and, in the future, really good lawyers, solicitors, barristers and judges.”