Applying to Medicine as a Mature Entry Student
The mature entry pathway aims to widen access to medicine by allowing people who may not otherwise be eligible for a place to gain access to a medical programme. To apply via the mature route you have to be 23+ years of age and an EU applicant. Mature students apply through the CAO in the same way that school leavers do. Generally speaking, mature candidates are not under as much pressure to achieve a high HPAT score as Leaving Cert students are, as there other criteria to be met including work experience and interviews. There are far fewer mature entry places available compared to school leaver places.
All candidates applying to undergraduate medicine via the mature pathway must sit the HPAT. HPAT scores are released in April rather than June. It is still a competitive process though as there are always far more applicants than there are places available. Below is a breakdown of the requirements of different universities. Successful mature candidates would usually get their offer from the college in either May or June and get their official CAO offer in Round A in July.
Offer 2 mature entry places per year and they only take people who have done their Access to Science, Engineering, Agriculture and Medicine (SEAM) course. The Access course is only valid in UCD for 2 years so really the competition is between people currently on the course and those who have completed the course the year previously. Entry is purely based on combined GPA from the course, the final learning journal mark and HPAT. They look for a HPAT score of 150 but it depends on how other applicants have scored, and would not usually accept below 140.
Present an approved Access course. RCSI accepts both the UCD Access to SEAM course and the Trinity UCD Access course and, unlike UCD, there is no expiry date on the access course-they will accept a course from 3/4/5 years ago. Or meet the minimum Leaving Cert requirement. Minimum LC requirement is here-Undergraduate Medicine Course at RCSI Dublin – Entry requirements – Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. Then you need to score above the HPAT cut off for RCSI – there is no set number as it is determined by the mature entry applicants every year and how they score. Basically, they have a number of people in mind that they will invite to submit documents so when the HPAT scores are released they invite the top however many people to send their documents which are uploaded on to the RCSI website through a link they send you. Although the required HPAT score is changeable, for the last 5 years the required score has been 140. If you get enough on the HPAT then you have about 2 weeks to submit all your documents which include a CV, personal statement, academic transcripts, a photo and a scanned copy of your passport. As well as your academic history, they also look at your work experience, volunteer work and your general life experience. Then people are shortlisted for an interview – it takes about a week or two after the deadline to submit documents has passed to find out if you have been successful or not. RCSI has the largest mature student intake out of all the universities. They usually have 10 or 12 places to offer. Out of those 12 places, 2 of them will go to mature candidates with no degree who are presenting either an Access course or the minimum leaving cert requirement. The rest will go to candidates with a previous 2:2 degree or those with a higher classification of degree who wish to do the 5-year course rather than the 4-year graduate entry medicine course. RCSI has both a 5 and 6-year undergraduate course and it depends on your previous study as to which you’ll get.
Trinity has up to 7 mature places a year. Applicants must present a H3 and H4 (Grade B and C at higher level in the old Leaving Cert) in two of biology and chemistry or physics or equivalent exams. Trinity have their own Access/Foundation course for mature students, and they only accept their own Access course so you can’t use a UCD Access course for entry to Trinity. They require a minimum HPAT of 150 and relevant work experience and voluntary work are very important. As well as sitting the HPAT, they also look for a personal statement and CV. The difference with Trinity and RCSI is you send your documents through the CAO rather than uploading them to the website. They also short list candidates and hold panel interviews after which they make their offers. Trinity only have a 5 year medicine programme.
Meet the minimum Leaving Cert requirement which is a H4 grade in a higher level Leaving Cert laboratory subject and you have to have achieved this grade in the year prior to applying. Then you provide a detailed account of your life/work experience through your CV and personal statement submitted to the CAO. HPAT score is slightly more important for Galway than it is for the other universities as they rank candidates for interview based on their HPAT score. Their interview structure is MMI (Multiple Mini Interviews). Unlike RCSI, candidates who are eligible to apply to graduate entry medicine cannot apply through the mature entry pathway as well. They have a maximum of 5 mature entry places a year.
Present a H4 in Leaving Cert chemistry and either physics or biology or equivalent which has to be stated on the CAO application, submit a personal statement to CAO then after HPAT results are out they shortlist for interview and it’s a panel interview with 4 or 5 people. The HPAT cut off may depend on the scores of the applicants for that year. They have 4 mature places per year.
Mature students are also free to compete with school leavers for CAO places based on a combination of leaving cert points and HPAT score.