Duration: 1 Year Full-Time
Award: University Certificate
Course Type: Access Foundation

Applications for 2023/2024 are currently closed. Information for 2024/5 will be available in early 2024. Please sign up to our mailing list for updates.

Name: Mature Student Office
Team: Shirley Ryan (Mature Student Officer), Eve Digpal (Mature Student Office Administrator)
Address: Main Building, University of Limerick. 
Email: MSO@ul.ie   

Brief Description 

The Mature Student Access Certificate (MSAC) is a one-year full-time programme that offers applicants an alternative pathway to study at Undergraduate level at the University of Limerick.


The Mature Student Access Certificate provides students with the opportunity to prepare for study at university and becoming part of the university community. Students will have the opportunity to learn skills that will help them prepare for their studies in Humanities, Business, Science, etc. The course covers:

  • IT Skills
  • Study Skills
  • Career and Educational Guidance
  • Maths Skills
  • Subjects relating to your area desired area of study.

Click here  to join our Mailing List for 2024/5 to receive updates regarding the Mature Student Access Certificate.

Check out our Maths for STEM Certificate here.

  • Applicants must be at least 22 years of age by 1st January 2022  
  • Applicants cannot already hold a third-level qualification  
  • Applicants must qualify for EU Fees Status i.e. have been resident in an EU/EEA/UK/Swiss State for at least two of the previous four years and must meet the nationality criteria for EU Fees Status.  
  • See information on Student Fees for further information on fee status.  

We welcome applications from all eligible adult students for this programme, in particular from anyone who does not have the conventional educational requirements to progress to third level and/or who comes from socio-economic backgrounds that are currently underrepresented at third level, including (but not limited to) Irish Travellers, lone parents, members of ethnic minority groups.*  

There are no standard educational entry requirements but evidence of motivation to progress to third-level education is desirable. Evidence of English Language proficiency may be required where English is not the first language of the applicant. Non-EU citizens currently residing outside Ireland are not eligible to apply for this programme. Non-EU citizens who currently reside in Ireland must demonstrate that they qualify for EU Fee Status.  

* Under UL’s University of Sanctuary initiative five places are reserved on the MSAC for applicants who are asylum seekers. Applications for University of Sanctuary support must be made in addition to applications for the MSAC. Please go to UL’s University of Sanctuary page for further information.   

The Mature Student Access Certificate consists of a set of core general modules and a set of specialist elective modules. All students on the programme complete four core and one elective module per semester. It is a full-time programme which means that classes are held during the day, from Monday to Friday, over one academic year. The first semester runs from September to December while the second semester runs from January to May.    

The modules offered on the programme for the Academic Year 2022-23 include the following:   

Core Modules - completed by all participants

Mathematics, Computer Skills, Study Skills & Educational Guidance  

Elective Modules – choose one of the streams below   

Elective Stream Semester 1 Modules Semester 2 Modules
Humanities Politics & Sociology English Literature & History
Science Chemistry & Biology Physics & Biology
Engineering Manufacturing Technology and CAD Introduction to Engineering


**Please note that Elective Streams run subject to minimum student numbers

The course fee for the  academic year 2022-23 is €500. Applicants who are in receipt of social welfare payments and applicants on low income may be eligible for a reduced course fee of €100. If you wish to be assessed for the reduced course fee, please provide relevant information as supporting documentation with your application. Further detail on the documents required is available from the  MSAC Application Guide 2023-24.pdf

Applicants who are in receipt of a qualifying social welfare payment for 3 months (78 days) prior to commencing the course may be eligible to apply for the Back to Education Allowance (BTEA), Second-Level Option. Please contact your local Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection Office or check www.studentfinance.ie for further information on the BTEA. The MSAC is NOT an eligible programme under the higher education grant scheme (SUSI).  

Applications for the Mature Student Access Certificate are now made online. Application for academic Year 2023/24 opens on Friday 20th January 2023.

We advise that you consult the MSAC Applicant Guide 2023/24  and the MSAC Programme Information Guide 2023/24 prior to making your application.

Download the MSAC Programme Information Guide 2023-24.pdf

Download the MSAC Application Guide 2023-24.pdf

Click Here for the Referee Questionnaire Link

*Applicants are required to send the link above to your nominated referee.  

This link will direct your referee to an online Referee Questionnaire which they complete on your behalf. This reference will be sent directly to the Mature Student Office. 

Please contact the Mature Student Office if you have any questions in relation to this part of the application process. Email: mso@ul.ie

Former Student Testimonials

“The importance of the MSAC cannot be ignored or underappreciated in its role in getting MS back into education before going on to a full time degree. After going through the process myself, I have no doubt whatsoever in the impact it had on preparing me to start a full time degree and hit the ground running. I felt comfortable in my surroundings from the first day and it took a relative amount of the  unknown out of it for me. I will be forever grateful and an advocate for the MSAC and MSO for as long as I can be. It has really opened my eyes to another place in education that has caught my interest and working with adult learners within a PLC program or similar is something in thoughts now too.” 

"I believe I have access in this institution to the best educators and facilities that are available. Also it is great to achieve a Certificate from a University. All of the tutors and admin staff really have the best interests of the students at heart. All of them have been there to assist at all times."

"UL has a world class reputation and pursuing a degree here is a great step to a successful career. Doing the Access course at the university better prepared me for a degree here than say one elsewhere. It exposes you to the UL environment gradually...Without question the best decision I have taken."

"The location gives you a great idea of what studying in UL would be like, and you can hit the ground running next year as you know the lay of the land. The direct access from this course is good motivation to do well also."

"All lectures are excellent, the course management is very good, the course is an introduction to college life and I find it fitting that I am not over-loaded with study. There I feel that the amount of material fed to me is bang-on."