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Access Foundation Programme / Clár Fondúireacht Rochtana


**Application Closing Date 7th August 2018** 

We are currently open for our second round of applications, with interviews taking place in late August. See details under 'Application Process' below.

What is the Access Foundation Programme? 

The Access Foundation Programme is a one year full-time preparation for higher education programmes at DIT. The programme prepares students personally and academically to pursue undergraduate programmes at DIT.  It is a multi-disciplinary programme preparing students for entry into programmes in Science, Engineering, Business and Applied Arts.  Students who have successfully completed the programme are guaranteed an offer of one of their DIT CAO undergraduate course choices.

Who should apply?

This programme is for groups who are under-represented in DIT and higher education, specifically: (i) Mature students and (ii) young adults who have experienced socio-economic disadvantage.

Learning Outcome/What Will I Study?

Students take 6 compulsory modules (subjects) and four option modules (2 each semester) from a menu of modules in areas such as science, engineering, business, social science, art and computing. Through participation students will develop the skills necessary to undertake an undergraduate qualification at DIT. They will become familiar with subject areas across the various Colleges within DIT and learn how to research and write academic work, improve their communication and information technology skills.

Module Listing

Semester One & Semester Two

Core Modules (compulsory)

  • Introduction to Higher Education
  • Applied Writing
  • Communications
  • Study Skills (Semester 1)/ Research Skills (Semester 2)
  • Information Technology
  • Mathematics (Advanced / Intermediate  / Fundamental)

Optional Modules (choose 2)

  • Introduction to Humanities
  • Introduction to Social Science
  • Introduction to Marketing
  • Introduction to Financial Accounting
  • Computer Science Fundamentals (Networking Technologies)
  • Engineering (Electronic and Electrical)
  • Introduction to Chemistry
  • Fundamental Physics
  • Human Biology
  • Art Portfolio Preparation (year long)

Semester Two

Optional Modules (choose 2)

  • Introduction to Economics
  • Introduction to Management
  • Applied Social Science
  • Approaches to Humanities 
  • Cultural Tourism
  • Applied Chemistry
  • Applied Physics
  • Cell Biology and Genetics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science (Programming)

How much does the programme cost?

The programme is free.

How do students progress into undergraduate programmes?

Students who have successfully completed the programme ae guaranteed an offer of one of their DIT CAO undergraduate course choices. Students are admitted to undergraduate programmes through a facilitated entry process.

How to apply for a place?

Applications are made directly to DIT by way of a paper application form. 

Application Forms:- 

DT6522 AFP Mature Student App Form 2018

DT6522 AFP Young Adult App Form 2018

Entry Requirements

There are no standard educational requirements, such as the Leaving Certificate or an aptitude test, but all applicants must meet the following criteria: 

  • Be able to demonstrate a desire to pursue third level programmes and a level of learning ability suitable to do so.
  • Demonstrate an ability to communicate effectively in English at level suitable to commencing the programme.

In addition, Young Adult applicants are required to satisfy a socio-economic disadvantage assessment as set out by the Entry Routes policy of the Access and Civic Engagement Office. This requires applicants to satisfy three of the following SED indicators:- 

  • Parents have not gone to college (higher education).
  • Applicant has attended a DEIS school for at least 2 years. 
  • Family income thresholds as set out by the DIT Access and Civic Engagement Office in line with young adult access entry routes thresholds. 
  • Be from a socio economic group underrepresented in higher education. 
  • Live in an area of urban or rural disadvantage. 
  • Family received a means tested payment from the Department of Social Protection for at least 26 weeks in the tax year two years prior to the year of application. For example, applicants for 2018 must submit financial documentation for 2016.

Special consideration is given to applicants from the Traveller Community and applicants who are/were in the care of the state.  

Am I suitable/ready for the programme? (Academic suitability)

Candidates are assessed for their academic suitability for the programme. The following are considered:

  • Educational experience and qualifications. Particular emphasis is paid to educational experiences over the last 5 years.  Applicants should detail all relevant educational experiences including secondary school qualifications, experience of further adult education and training, as well informal education or non-certified courses.  A copy of qualifications and certificates must be included.
  • Work experience. Candidates should detail their work experience.
  • Volunteering experience. Candidates should detail their volunteering experience.
  • Essay. Candidates are required to submit a handwritten essay.
  • Personal Statement outlining candidate’s motivation for going to college.

Other Entry Requirements

  • Candidates who already hold a higher education qualification, with no evidence of deterioration in academic ability, are deemed ineligible.
  • Non-EU nationals are required to hold a visa/GNIB stamp permitting full-time study in Ireland. Proof of this must be included in the application.

Fees and Grants

The Access Foundation Programme is free for participants. Students on the programme are not eligible for the SUSI grant. Students in receipt of a qualifying social welfare payment may be eligible for the Back to Education Allowance.

Application Process

Applicants apply directly to the DIT by way of a paper application form. Applicants are shortlisted for eligibility and suitability. Applicants successful at this stage are called for interview.   Interviews will happen in June 2018  for Mature students and young adults who are not sitting the Leaving Cert. Applicants sitting the Leaving Cert this year and second-round applicants will be interviewed after CAO offers have been made in August. 

Offers are made to candidates based on the application form and interview. 

Applicants are advised to read through the Candidate Brief before attempting the application form. This will give you advice and guidance on how to apply for the programme. Download the Candidate Brief by clicking the blue link below. 

Candidate Brief

Please contact David Rickard, Access Foundation Programme Co-ordinator.


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