Undergraduate Application

NCAD offers a wide range of undergraduate degrees in Design, Fine Art, Education and Visual Culture (History or Art & Design). On this page you will find information on what you can study at NCAD, the application process, portfolio submission requirements, eligibility and how course places are offered.

Brexit Update - Important information on NCAD Tuition Fees for UK and Northern Ireland students

The Irish and UK Government have signed a memo of understanding on the Common Travel area between Ireland and the UK (May 2019). The MoU acknowledges the importance of education noting that “the CTA affords Irish and British citizens the right of access to all levels of education and training, and associated student support in each other’s State on terms no less favourable than those for citizens of that State.”  This means that notwithstanding Brexit, UK students will continue to be eligible for the same fee structures and grants as EU students in Ireland.  For further information go to  NCAD FEES

APPLICATIONS to First Year can be made through the following Progamme Codes: 

A common Entry Pathway leading to degree options in all areas of Art and Design 
Degree options in Moving Image Design or in Graphic Design 
Degree Options in Joint Honours Education & Design or Joint Honours in Education & Fine Art
Degree Options in Painting / Print / Media / Sculpture / Ceramics / Glass / Textiles Art & Artefact
Studying the design process as it applies to the Fashion industry.
Desiging and making new physical objects and experiences
History & Theory of contemporary Art & Design (portfolio not required) 
Studying the fundamentals of illustration, drawing, printing, composition, narrative and sequence 
Designing digital interactions for apps, web sites, products, services and user experience

Download NCAD Prospectus

NCAD Portfolio Submission Guidelines

All First Year applications must be made through the Central Applications Office (CAO) www.cao.ie. The normal closing date is February 1st each year. 

Course Code      
All First Year Art & Design
Education & Design or Fine Art

Applications through the CAO by the 1st of February each year. No late applications. Portfolio submission required. Applicants for September 2020 must submit a portfolio by Friday 7th February 2020. See NCAD Portfolio Submission Applicant Guidelines 

Portfolio results and conditional offer letters are sent out to applicants end March.
Offers are made based on portfolio results to applicants who meet academic Minimum Entry Requirements.  Offers are made through the CAO in August.

Visual Culture

Applications through the CAO by the 1st of February.  Late applications will be accepted through the CAO up to 1 May and change of mind for existing CAO applicants  up to 1 July.  No portfolio submission required.

Places are allocated  based on the Leaving cert points to applicants who meet the Minimum Entry Requirements

FETAC LINK - Places offered based on FETAC score to eligible applicants in relevant FETAC Awards for details see QQI/FETAC Entry Requirements.

Offers are made through the CAO in August.

For Information on Advanced Entry applications to the second or subsequent year go to Undergraduate Year 2+
Deferred Entry
  • The College, at its discretion, can agree to defer the offer of a place on a programme for one year.  If you wish to defer your offer of a place the procedure is as follows:

  • Do not accept your offer of a place through the CAO.

  • Contact the NCAD Admissions Office in writing (email is the quickest way to do this admissions@ncad.ie) giving your CAO Number, the programme you have been offered, and the reason you are seeking a deferral. The Admissions Office should receive this request before the CAO closing date for accepting the offer.  

  • The Admissions Office will contact you in writing informing you if your deferral has been granted and outlining the procedures for taking up your place offer the following year.

Portfolio Score Carry Forward

We recognise that our applicants put a lot of work into the preparation of their admissions portfolios.  If you have passed the porftolio review stage but not received an official offer from the CAO, NCAD will allow you to carry forward your portfolio socre  to the application process the following year.

Once you have told us you wish to carry forward your portfolio score and you have given us your new CAO number you will be eligible for an offer based on your original portfolio score and subject to the normal entry requirements and any portfolio cut off points in the year that you are now applying into.   

An example of where a Portfolio Carry Forward might apply is when an applicant fails to meet  the minimum academic entry requirements in the first year of application.  

If you have any questions on carrying forward your portfolio score please contact  the Admissions Office admissions@ncad.ie

Access Scheme

NCAD operates a supplementary admissions route for school-leavers with a disability or from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds, for further information visit NCAD Access Scheme.

NCAD Minimum Entry Requirements

NCAD QQI/FETAC Entry Requirements

NCAD is a Recognised College of UCD, a Constituent University of the National University of Ireland. Matriculation requirements and information on obtaining an Irish language exemption are set out on the NUI web site. www.nui.ie

For students presenting Leaving Certificate or QQI FETAC awards please see Minimum Entry Requirements / QQI/FETAC Entry Requirements

For students presenting GCE/GCSE Examinations minimum entry requirements are as follows:
A pass in at least six subjects including any specific subject requirements.  Candidates must obtain:
GCE Advanced Level (A Level)   - At least Grade C in two NUI recognised Subjects (Grade A with Grade D or Grade E, or Grade B with Grade D are considered the equivalent of two Grade Cs).
GCE AS Level /GCSE Level – At least Grade C in four other recognised subjects (GCE Advanced Level Grades A to D, E or O are accepted as GCSE O Level pass Grades).
Applied A levels are not recognised by the NUI for matriculation.  www.nui.ie

Other School Leaving Examinations – information on entry requirements based on school leaving examinations from other countries can be found at www.nui.ie

EU Applications

Applications from residents of other member states of the European Union (EU) are considered on the same basis as those from Irish residents. Information on entry requirements based on school leaving examinations from other countries can be found at www.nui.ie

English Language Requirement

Programmes are taught through English in the National College of Art and Design, therefore all applicants are required to demonstrate a high level of competence in English language. Applicants who have not passed English as a subject in the Irish Leaving Certificate Examination must provide evidence of equivalent competence in English language through their school leaving examination or matriculation examination or by achieving the minimum standard in a recognised English language test. Full details of acceptable tests and the standard required can be found at the following link English Language Requirement.

Age at entry to NCAD

The minimum age for admission to NCAD is 17 years by 15 January the year following entry.

Garda Vetting

All successful applicants to Education programmes are required to undergo Garda vetting at the time of registration.

If you have any questions e-mail is the quickest way to contact us, email:  admissions@ncad.ie