What is the Leaving Certificate Applied?

The Leaving Certificate Applied is a distinct stand-alone, two-year programme aimed at preparing students for adult and working life. The programme puts an emphasis on forms of achievement and excellence, which the traditional Leaving Certificate has not recognised in the past. Assessment for the programme is a combination of continuous assessment and written examinations.  

Why was the Leaving Certificate Applied introduced?

The Leaving Certificate Applied was introduced to recognise the talents of all students and to provide opportunities for development in terms of responsibility, self-esteem and self-knowledge. It is an innovative programme in the way students learn, in what they learn and in the way their achievements are assessed.

Who would benefit most from the Leaving Certificate Applied?

The Leaving Certificate Applied is intended to meet the needs of those students who are not adequately catered for by other Leaving Certificate programmes or who choose not to opt for such programmes. Students with a good attendance record up to Junior Cert. who choose L.C.A. generally suit the course as there is a 90% attendance requirement.

What are the advantages of the Leaving Certificate Applied?

The advantage of Leaving Certificate Applied is that it focuses on the talents of each individual student and helps students apply what they learn in the real world.
The two-year programme consists of four half-year blocks called Sessions and achievements are credited in each of these Sessions. As the students receive provisional results at the end of each session, they know exactly how they are progressing.
There are work experience blocks in 5th and 6th year which can help focus students and encourage them to think about life after school.

What courses/modules are offered?     

Do students have a choice within the Leaving Certificate Applied?

Each course consists of a number of modules. A module generally represents a half-year’s work and there is provision for some choice of modules. Choice also may exist in relation to Vocational Specialisms.
Two courses are selected from the following list, this selection can change depending on the incoming students:

  • Agriculture/Horticulture
  • Hotel Catering and Tourism
  • Engineering
  • Technology
  • Office Administration and Customer Care
  • Childcare/Community Care
  • Graphics and Construction Studies
  • Craft and Design
  • Hair and Beauty
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Active Leisure Studies
  • Four elective modules must also be chosen

 What are elective modules?

Four elective modules (one per session) must be chosen from the specialisms listed above, excluding the 2 specialisms already being studied.  (For example, if students are taking craft and design/hotel, catering and tourism for their specialisms their elective module will be selected from the remaining subjects above.)

Do Leaving Certificate Applied students receive a Leaving Certificate?

Yes. Students who successfully complete the programme will receive a Leaving Certificate from the State Examinations Commission. All credits awarded will be recorded on the Leaving Certificate Applied parchment. This certificate will be awarded at three levels:

Certificate Levels

Award Result Credits
Pass 60-69 % (120 – 139 credits)
Merit 70-84 % (140 – 169 credits)
Distinction 85-100 % (170 – 200 credits)


Candidates who acquire less than 120 credits will receive a Record of Experience. This will also apply to those who leave before the end of the programme.

The Leaving Certificate Applied assessment takes place over the two years under three headings:

  • Satisfactory Completion of Modules
  • Performance of Student Tasks
  • Performance in the Terminal Examinations.

At the end of each Session a student is credited on satisfactory completion of the appropriate modules.

What is a task?

Student Tasks are assessed by external examiners appointed by the Department of Education and Science. These Tasks may be in a variety of formats – written, audio, video, artefact etc. Each student is also required to produce a report on the process of completing the Task. A task is worth 10 credits and there are 7 tasks to be completed during the 2 years.

Terminal Examinations are provided in the following areas:

  • English and Communication
  • Two Vocational Specialisms
  • Mathematical Applications
  • Language (Gaeilge Chumarsáideach & Modern European Languages)
  • Social Education

The written examinations will generally be held in the same period as the other Leaving Certificate examinations.
Practical performance tests are required for practical subjects like craft and design, engineering etc
Oral examinations, as well as written/aural examinations, will be held in the case of all the languages including English and Communications.

Past examination papers, practical examination assignment briefs, marking schemes and Chief Examiner Reports are available to download from the website of the State Examinations Commission at

What opportunities are available to students who have successfully completed the Leaving Certificate Applied?

The Leaving Certificate Applied has a strong vocational dimension which equips students with skills for the world of work and life-long learning.
Students wishing to further their education can do so by progressing into Post Leaving Certificate ( PLC) courses. These are one-year courses (two in some cases) in a very wide range of specialist areas. PLC courses are at level 5 on the National Framework of Qualifications
Graduates of the Leaving Certificate Applied who progress to an approved Further Education Award (e.g. PLC) can become eligible for admission to some third level courses in the Institutes of Technology and following that to some degree courses in the Institutes of Technology and in the Universities.  Check out progression route at