Progression to Higher Education


National Framework of Qualifications

The National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) is a system of 10 levels to represent all levels of formal learning from the very initial stages to the most advanced stages as set national standard.


Cork College of FET, Mallow Campus offers courses at QQI level 5 and QQI level 6. A major award is made up of 120 credits, usually 8 components. Most components have a credit value of 15 credits each. 
The Higher Education Links Scheme allows Mallow Campus graduates who achieve full QQI level 5 or level 6 awards to apply through the CAO for courses at NFQ level 6 Higher Certificate, level 7 Ordinary degree, or level 8 Honours degrees in Universities across Ireland. Applicants submit a CAO application on before 1st February while they study with us. In July, QQI issues the FET results directly to CAO and applicants may then receive offers from the universities they have applied to. 
Almost 20% of all university applications to CAO now name a QQI level 5 or level award. Places are offered by the CAO on the basis of a scoring system based on the student’s achievement. 
Some universities reserve a quota of places for QQI applicants whereas in other universities QQI applicants compete with Leaving Certificate applicants for places. Some university programmes have specific component requirements and grade requirements. Furthermore, while a major QQI level 5 or 6 award can be achieved over more than one year, some universities require the award to be achieved over a ‘single sitting’. It is essential to check any requirements with your College Guidance Counsellor and on the relevant university websites. 
CAO provides a good resource to check QQI entry requirements to universities here. 
While the maximum number of CAO points awarded for a full QQI level 5 or 6 award is 390 points, many of the university courses open to QQI applicants have points that exceed that. In many of these instances, places are reserved exclusively for QQI applicants who then compete with each other for the reserved quota of places. Careers Portal provides a very helpful QQI points calculator here. 

Special Progression Agreements

Cork College of FET, Mallow Campus are participants in the Cork Colleges Progression Scheme with MTU Cork. This is an additional admissions scheme that gives additional reassurance to our students who apply to MTU Cork. It also allows for advanced progression from QQI level 6 to year 2 of some degree programmes. 
Mallow Campus is also part of the Further Education Progression Scheme with South East Technological University which allows our students to progress to linked courses for far less than the usual entry requirement. 
Mallow Campus has also developed course specific links with Technological University of the Shannon and MTU Kerry. 

The University of Sunderland in England will accept stage 2 Early Learning & Care students onto year 3 of their Childhood Studies degree and also offers our Pre-Paramedic students fantastic opportunities for training.

Advanced Progression Agreements

Mallow Campus students who successfully complete QQI level 5 and QQI level 6 awards in the same discipline area may apply to universities for advanced entry progression to year 2 of certain degree programmes. This is especially relevant for our students in Early Learning & Care and Business Management courses.

Progression to Universities Outside of Ireland

There are many opportunities for Mallow Campus students to progress to universities in the UK by applying to UCAS and across Europe on Eunicas

Maths for Progression

Some universities like MTU Cork still require a pass grade in Leaving Certificate Maths for entry to their courses. In some cases, Maths is a specific component requirement for entry. If you do not meet this requirement, Mallow Campus students are given the opportunity to take on an additional Maths component with

School Liaison

Arrange a personal or virtual visit to your school or educational setting for information about our College and courses, support services, funding options, and QQI progression to third level.

We’re here to answer all your questions – from educators and learners.

Course-taster events and open days give second-level learners the opportunity to visit the College and their options in Further Education.

For more information contact our school liaison officer at 

Mature Students

Mature Students, if you have any questions about your course options and progression opportunities next year in Further Education College then you can always talk to us for expert advice at: