Prerequisites for Studying Medicine in Ireland

Prerequisites for Studying Medicine in Ireland

10 months ago by Chris

The five universities that offer medicine all have a minimum requirement of 480 points from the same sitting of the Leaving Certificate or equivalent. They also have minimum subject requirements, so it is essential to consider this when deciding which Leaving Certificate subjects to choose. 

Some medicine courses are five years long and some are six. The six-year courses have a pre-med year where a science foundation is built, thus there are higher entry requirements for the five-year courses as you’ll be proceeding directly into studying medicine. 


What are the subject requirements for each medical course?

Six-year courses

The three six-year courses, in UCD, RCSI and NUIG, have the same subject requirements. Overall, you need at least 2xH5 and 4xO6/H7 grades. An O6/H7 must be obtained in English, Irish, a Third Language and Mathematics. An O6/H7 must also be obtained in one of Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Physics/Chemistry and Agricultural Science. 

If you have already chosen your Leaving Certificate subjects and are only studying one Science subject, you should consider the six-year courses. 

Even if your preference is to gain entry to one of these six-year courses, choosing two science subjects at Leaving Certificate level is still advisable as the knowledge will be useful once you are in university. 

Five-year courses

The five-year course in NUIG has slightly higher base subject requirements when compared to the six-year course - 2xH4 and 4xO6/H7 grades including an O6/H7 in English, Irish, a Third Language and Mathematics. The main difference is in the science requirements where two H4 grades are required from Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Physics/Chemistry and Agricultural Science. 

The five-year course in RSCI has the same requirements as the medical course in UCC. The base subject requirements are 2xH4 and 4xO6/H7 grades including an O6/H7 in English, Irish, a Third Language and Mathematics. In addition, a H4 grade is required in Chemistry and a H4 is required in either Biology or Physics.

TCD only offers a five-year course and requires at least 1xH3, 1xH4, 1xH5 and 3xO6/H7. The minimum subject requirements are an O6/H7 in English, Mathematics and a Language other than English. This means if you do not choose to study a Third Language you can gain entry to TCD with English and Irish, or if you do not obtain the required grade in your Irish Leaving Certificate exam you can use another language for this minimum requirement. A H3 and a H4 are required from Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Physics/Chemistry and Agricultural Science.


So what subjects should I choose?

This can all seem very overwhelming but the key points to remember are that many medical courses require two science subjects for entry, so this is a good place to start when choosing your subjects. As Chemistry is required to study in UCC and for the five-year course in RCSI this is one that many students hoping to study medicine choose. These courses also require Biology or Physics so most medicine hopefuls will choose one or both of these. A third language is often also required for entry to university, so this is important to keep in mind.

The subjects we have discussed are English, Irish, Mathematics, a Third Language, Chemistry and Biology or Physics. This is six subjects. Most students sitting the Leaving Certificate do seven subjects, while some may take on an extra subject outside of school. For your last subject or two you should consider both your aptitude and interest. Medicine is a very competitive course to gain entry to so you should try to choose subjects that you will enjoy studying as well as have high aptitude for so you can maximise your points. You can look at your junior certificate marks or talk to your teachers to establish this.


Can you provide some sample subject lists?

The table below shows three sample subject lists. As long as the required grades are obtained in the subjects below, they will fulfil the minimum subject requirements for any of the medical courses in Ireland.

Sample List 1 Sample List 2 Sample List 3
English English English
Irish Irish Irish
Mathematics Mathematics Mathematics
German French Spanish
Chemistry Chemistry Chemistry
Biology Physics Biology
Music Art Business


What else should I do to maximise my chances of getting into medicine?

The other point to remember is, putting all medical courses on your CAO is the best way to maximise your chances of gaining entry into medicine. If you achieve enough points to gain entry to your first choice but do not succeed in obtaining the required grade in one subject, you may still gain entry to another course lower on your list.

Of course, if you are exempt from a subject such as Irish, you will not be required to study this  for entry to medicine.

And don’t forget - HPAT is a very important requirement for studying medicine, and it is best to start your preparation early!



Facebook Instagram Discord

Keep up to date with the latest information

Sign up for our Newsletter
Subscribe to our Newsletter

Keep up to date with the latest information