Tertiary Programmes Launch 7th July 2023

By Amber Flynn

Posted: 7 July, 2023

The National Tertiary Office is delighted to announce the launch of 23 new tertiary degree programmes for the academic year 2023/2024. Established by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science in a joint initiative between the Higher Education Authority and SOLAS, the National Tertiary Office (NTO) was tasked with the development of new progressive pathways through further education to higher education which is central to the government’s ambition of a unified tertiary education system. A tertiary course is one that commences in an Education and Training Board (ETB) and continues in a Higher Education Institution (HEI), culminating in the award of a degree. In this proof-of-concept phase, there are 23 tertiary degree courses commencing in September across 11 locations and 5 fields of provision including Business, ICT, Arts, Engineering, Manufacturing & Construction and Health & Welfare.

Speaking at the launch today, Minister Harris said:“This is the single biggest transformation to education access in decades. Today, we launch 23 degree courses outside the points system. We know the points system has not worked for many of our young people. Today, we can tell the next generation of students they can access degrees in nursing, business, engineering, and media without ever engaging with the CAO system. This is the start. We have much more to do but today, we change the system and ensure the learner is at the heart of all we do. I want to thank the National Tertiary Office, the Higher Education Authority and Solas for their leadership in driving this forward.”

Welcoming the news today, Dr Alan Wall, CEO of the Higher Education Authority said:
“The launch of the first tertiary degree programmes is a pivotal day for students who for the first time have an alternative route to a degree programme outside of the CAO points system. It is a proud day for the HEA and SOLAS because from the outset we believed, through the combined efforts of our sectors that these pathways could and should exist for students.”

Nessa White, Executive Director of Transformation in SOLAS added:
“Today we celebrate a great start to the Tertiary journey, which simply wouldn’t have happened without all the partners involved. This is about a new and different FET offering which expands the options available to FET students and shows strong collaboration between FET and HE providers”.

The HEI and ETB partners collaborated closely on the development and shared delivery of tertiary programmes to provide students with a seamless transition from FET into higher education and a clearly defined learner pathway right through to professional practice. From day one of their tertiary degree course, the learner is recognised as a registered student of both the ETB where they are commencing their course and the partnered university which provides the student with access to dual supports and services including libraries, sports, and other campus facilities as well as academic, health and wellbeing supports.

Commenting on the launch, Director of the National Tertiary Office, Dr Fiona Maloney said:
“These new and supported pathways through further and higher education help students achieve their career goals and offer several advantages: including local availability of courses with guaranteed progression and the removal of geographical and financial barriers”.

Students interested in pursuing a degree through the new tertiary route should visit the National Tertiary Office website (www.nto.ie) where students may apply for any of the 23 programmes on offer this September. For the eligibility criteria and course specific entry requirements, please refer to the course information section on the NTO website.

General enquiries may be addressed to the NTO and course specific queries should be directed to the relevant Tertiary Coordinator as listed on the website.

Contact information:
Website www.nto.ie
Email info@nto.ie
LinkedIn linkedin.com/in/ntoireland
Twitter @NTOIreland


Notes to editor:
Tertiary Student Fees: No tuition fee or student contribution fee will be applied for the duration of the
tuition delivered by the ETB on the Tertiary Programme. The Free Fees Initiative and student
contribution arrangements will apply to the agreed duration of the tuition delivered by the HEI on the Tertiary Programme.

Tertiary students are eligible to apply for maintenance and fee grants, subject to eligibility criteria.
A full list of Tertiary Degree programmes for September 2023 is attached.
Details of the government’s Unified Tertiary System Policy is available here: gov.ie – Unified tertiary system (www.gov.ie)

List of Tertiary programmes

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