Will Leaving Cert ‘calculated grades’ be accepted by universities abroad?

Ask Brian: About 2,000 students have applied for college courses in the UK or Europe

Question: I’m not sure I’ll get the CAO points needed to study physiotherapy at home with “calculated grades”, so I’ve applied for courses in the UK and the Netherlands. Will I get my results on time and will they be recognised abroad?

Answer: The good news is the Department of Education is planning to issue the new calculated grade results in mid-August, which means you should be in a position to be considered for all three options you have outlined.

As you outlined in your email to me, you have accepted a conditional offer from the University of Edinburgh based on securing certain grades in your Leaving Cert as your “firm acceptance”.

Given that the A levels in the UK this year have been postponed to be replaced by their version of calculated grades, it is inconceivable that the system which has now been put in place in the Republic will not be accepted by the Ucas universities in both Northern Ireland and Scotland.


With regard to applications to Dutch universities, eunicas.ie advises me that the Dutch research universities have extended their application deadline for most of their programmes without a selection procedure until 1st June.

The Universities of Applied Sciences (UAS) - some of which offer English language-based physiotherapy degree programmes including Fontys, Saxion, Amsterdam and Hanze in Groningen - are taking applications for most programmes until August 1st, though most will prefer to receive your application by June 1st. The Dutch academic year is still scheduled to start on September 1st. Annual fees of €2,143 to €3,143 apply.

Legal requirement

By law, Dutch universities currently have to receive your results by August 1st, extended to August 31st for Irish/UK students. The promised certificate issued by the Department of Education in Ireland for Leaving Cert students is likely to be seen as meeting legal requirements, even if it was not acquired through traditional written exams.

With regard to your CAO application, you now have until July 1st at 5.15pm to finalise your course choices at cao.ie.

There are four level eight honours physiotherapy degree programmes on offer in RCSI, Trinity, UCD, and UL, which ranged in points requirements from 542-565 last year. Physiotherapy with health science at level six (higher certificate) was offered at Letterkenny IT at 400 points in 2019.

Three other CAO level six/seven programmes allow graduates to progress onto level eight (honours degree) physiotherapy programmes in the UK, Northern Ireland and European universities are offered at Carlow and Sligo IT, (health science and physiology) and Athlone IT (sports science with exercise physiology).

Now that you have put your schoolbooks aside for the time being at least, you can now focus on your college applications. Both Qqualifax.ie and Eeunicas.ie are comprehensive sources of information on all of the options still open to you to consider.