Central Applications Office (COA) Entry/Admission Requirements

Official Central Applications Office Admission, Entry & Applications Requirements | COA Categories and Qualification.Central Applications Office We are pleased to keep you informed About Central Applications Office Requirements, Categories and Qualification.

Provide details of your qualifications and assessments

Go to www.cao.ie and click on My Application. To log in, enter your CAO application number, date of birth, and the password that you created during the application process. If you correctly enter this information, you will be taken to the Qualifications and Assessments screen, where you will be requested to submit additional information regarding the Qualifications and Assessments section(s) that you selected when you enrolled on the CAO system.

CAO Requirements | CAO Categories Of Qualifications And Assessments

Some applicants may choose one or more of the categories below, and it is critical that applicants tell CAO of all qualifications so that they can be credited for them at the offer stage.
Please follow the directions for the areas that apply to you. If these instructions are not strictly followed, it may be required to halt the processing of your application and contact you to ensure compliance with the criteria. In such circumstances, an extra €10 processing fee will be levied.

Irish Leaving Certificate Exams (1985-2020) 

If you are applying on the basis of Leaving Certificate results you will be asked to enter the name and address of your second-level school(s) and the years attended. If you are a current year Leaving Certificate candidate you must tick the box provided.

Usually, you will not have your Leaving Certificate examination number when you first make your CAO application, but at a later date you will be asked to verify your Leaving Certificate examination number on your Statement of Application Record which you will receive in May.

If you have previously sat the Leaving Certificate you must provide your examination number(s) and the year(s) in which you sat your examination(s). If you do not know your Leaving Certificate examination number you may contact your school or the State Examinations Commission.

Qqi Fet/Fetac Level 5/6 Exams (2002-2020)

 If you are taking and/or have completed a QQI FET/FETAC Level 5/6 award between 2002 and 2020, please enter your PPS number in the box provided so that CAO can obtain your examination details directly from QQI. Certificates will need to be provided for QQI FET/FETAC exams taken in conjunction with other bodies e.g. FÁS/Teagasc/Craft Certificates.

Please Note: Specific QQI FET/FETAC Level 5/6 awards may be required for entry to particular courses. You should check the appropriate HEI literature to ensure that your QQI FET/FETAC Level 5/6 course is acceptable, and visit the QQI FET page in the Student Resources section of www.cao.ie.

A full QQI FET/FETAC Level 5/6 Award is required; a QQI FET/FETAC Level 5/6 Record of Achievement/Component Certificate is not sufficient.

Fetac Level 5/6 (Ncva Level 2/3) Exams (2001 Or Earlier)

 Mention any pre-2002 examinations which have been fully completed, including the year taken and a brief description. Submit certified A4 photocopies of certificates for any pre-2002 NCVA Level 2/3 examinations.

If you require previous FETAC Level 5/6 examinations to be combined with your current year QQI FET/FETAC Level 5/6 examinations, you should contact QQI FET/FETAC to ensure that CAO receives the combined results in the current year examination results file.

Please Note: Specific QQI FET/FETAC Level 5/6 awards may be required for entry to particular courses. You should check the appropriate HEI literature to ensure that your FETAC Level 5/6 course is acceptable and visit the QQI FET page in the Student Resources section of www.cao.ie. A full QQI FET/FETAC Level 5/6 Award is required; a QQI FET/FETAC Level 5/6 Record of Achievement/Component is not sufficient.

Gce/Gcse (England, Wales, And Northern Ireland Exams From 1996 Till Date)

 If you are applying on the basis of GCE/GCSE exams to be taken this year, you must provide the Exam Board, Centre Number, Candidate Number, Subject(s) and Level in the spaces provided. For any GCE/GCSE examinations which you have already completed, and for which a certificate has been issued, you must post certified A4 photocopies (certified by a school stamp) of the appropriate certificates to CAO – these will form part of your eligibility for consideration for entry to courses.

Please include your CAO application number on the front of these certificates. If you are presenting previous years’ GCE/GCSE examinations, you must tick the box provided on the application form.

Please Note: Certificates or statements of results must be issued by the exam boards (containing the exam board logo). Documents produced by schools will not be sufficient.

Boards other than CIE, CCEA, UCLES, WJEC, OCR, EDEXCEL, AQA, and AEB must be entered under “Other School Leaving Exams”.

For more information on qualifications and assessments for GCE applicants visit the Applicant Scoring page in the Student Resources section of www.cao.ie.

Other School Leaving Exams 

(e.g. Baccalaureate, Scottish Exams, pre-1985 Irish & pre-1996 UK Exams, Leaving Exams outside of UK & Ireland, Leaving Cert Applied, Level 3 BTEC, GNVQs, VCEs, Irish Matric Exams, Pre-U, EPQ, etc.) Please provide details of other school-leaving exams and the years they were completed.

Describe the examinations briefly, including details of the National or European framework level where relevant. Submit certified A4 photocopies of any certificates, with translations if the certificate is not in English or Irish. If you are sitting for your examinations please submit certified photocopies of your results to CAO as soon as they become available.

Further Education (Other Than Qqi Fet/Fetac Level 5/6 And Ncva Level 2/3)

Please provide information about any other Further Education courses that you have undertaken that do not fall into one of the other sections on this application form, for example, City & Guild awards, SOLAS, FÁS awards, BTEC level 4 or higher etc. 

Mention any Post-Leaving Certificate courses (Republic of Ireland) and describe briefly on additional pages any special experience and/or qualification stipulated in HEI literature as being relevant for the admission process. You can send certified A4 photocopies of certificates to support your application.

If relevant, state on additional pages the dates, locations, subjects and (if known) results. Mention any other relevant Further Education/Training qualifications.

Third-Level Higher Education 

This information is required regardless of whether you passed or failed or did not take examinations. Failure to disclose the appropriate information may result in the cancellation of your application. Checks are made to ensure that this information has not been omitted.

  1. If you have completed a course you should include an academic transcript or a certified photocopy of an academic transcript with your postal documents.

  2. If you have withdrawn from a course before completing it you should enclose a certificate of attendance (with your postal documents) showing the relevant dates of entry and withdrawal.

  3. If you are still attending an institution of higher education give full details stating institution(s) attended, course(s) taken, dates of attendance, current status, and results obtained. Attach these details to your postal documents. You do not need to supply the documentation mentioned in points 1 and 2 above.

However, if you have any Corrections or Questions regarding the Central Applications Office Requirements, Please kindly DROP A COMMENT below and we will respond to it as soon as possible.

Check CAO Programme List

The program list is available from two sources: the CAO manual and the website. The CAO program schedule has been successfully uploaded to the internet. The program list is available from two sources: the CAO manual and the website. The CAO program schedule has been successfully uploaded to the internet.

See also: CAO Handbook 2023 

SOURCE 1: CAO Programme List On CAO Website

  1. Click on the “Programme list” option on the left navigation bar
  2. Use the filters to search for programmes by institution, exam type, working personality or career direction OR
  3. Enter the specific programme name or code if you know it

SOURCE 2: CAO Handbook

  1. The programme choice list is divided according to career directions.
  2. Career Options are divided into two sections.
    1. The first with the BLUE heading contains programmes at universities and universities of technology and
    2. The second with the ORANGE heading contains programmes at private colleges
    3. To find a programme, look up the field of study, for example, Sport, in the Index (pages 210 to 214) and then go directly to the page/s specified. Programmes are grouped according to the level of study within each career direction.

Programmes Offered At CAO

  1. Shorter course study
  2. NC(V) study
  3. Nated Certificate & Diploma study (Report 191 Programmes)
  4. Certificate study
  5. Diploma study
  6. Degree study
  7. B Tech/M Tech study (programmes for people with a diploma or a degree)

CAO Postgraduate Programe 

If you’re interested in postgraduate study, check with the institution regarding courses that aren’t included on this website or in this Handbook. There are also some shorter courses and programs available for people who are currently employed as educators or nurses.

CAO Programme List Contents

Programme Name:

The full name of the programme, for example, B Com Accounting (4 yr).

Colour codes in programme name

Pink: Part-time study

Brown: A new programme awaiting approval from DHET/Senate at the time of this Handbook being published. Contact the institution to confirm if the programme will be offered.

CAO Programme Code

There are six characters in the alpha-numeric code. It is connected to a particular program at a certain academic campus. The institution’s name is denoted by the first two letters, and the campus is denoted by the third letter. The program can be determined by the final three letters or numerals.

 CAO Application 2023/2024 Procesing

The 2023 CAO application form is currently available to applicants who wish to enroll in the institution.

If you have already submitted an application form, please do not submit a duplicate application via the Internet.

The CAO will only accept one application form from you for a specific entry year and term.

Have your school and tertiary study details handy before you start.

How to Apply With CAO

CAO application can be done in three ways. The application can be done online through the website, through the hard copy application form, and through the mobile application.

CAO Steps to Apply Online

  1. Go to our website: www.cao.ie and click on the ‘Apply’ button
  2. Read the information and click on ‘Continue with Application
  3. Enter your ID number or passport number and click on ‘Submit’
  4. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on ‘Continue with Application
  5. Start to enter ALL the details requested. Once you have entered all the requested information, click on ‘Next’
  6. Click on ‘Continue with Online Application
  7. A pop-up window will appear with your CAO number, password, and EasyPay number. Read the instructions.
  8. Click on ‘Continue with Online Application’.
  9. Follow the instructions and complete ALL the information requested, then click ‘Next’.
  10. Complete the ‘Next of Kin’ details and click ‘Next’.
  11. Insert the school name and click on ‘Search’. The school name will appear in a box and you must enter the year you attended that school and the year you finished attending that school.
  12. Click ‘Next’.
  13. When you reach ‘Process My Application’, click on the button.
  14. The message on your screen will display that your submission has been successful.
  15. You can now pay online and/or upload your supporting documents.
  16. Pay via EasyPay. See page 24 on ‘Ways to Pay the Administration Fee’.

Completing CAO Application Via Mobile App

  1. You first have to download the mobile app.
  2. The app can be downloaded through the Central Applications Office website or App Stores, which is available for Android or Apple devices.
  3. Even when applying via the app you will have to upload your supporting documents online at www.cao.ac.za

Processing CAO Application Via Hard Copy Form

  1. This option is least efficient compared to other options
  2. Handbooks and Application Forms are sent to your school.
  3. Find out from your principal and LO teacher. This application material should have reached your school by the end of April.
  4. They are also available from the four universities in KZN and from the DBE District Offices.
  5. You can also find them in some Libraries that also have the Handbooks and Application Forms.

Applicants may also request a CAO hard copy application form by:

  1. Contacting the CAO Call Centre at 031 268 4444 or 086 086 0226
  2. Sending an email to formrequestcao@cao.ac.za OR
  3. Visiting the CAO office at Gate 11, Mary Thiphe Street, Cato Manor

CAO Application Closing Date 2023

Be aware that most CAO programs have early closing dates to allow for assessments and interviews.

Applications that are received after the deadlines are handled as “late” applications.

Each university has its own policy regarding late applications

Please note that UKZN’s Health Science programs do not evaluate applications submitted beyond the deadline.

CAO Entry Term

There are two entry terms:

1 – Entry in the first semester, which starts between January and February

2 – Entry in the second semester, which starts between July and August

Duration Of Study

Please be aware that studying part-time takes longer than studying full-time.

Minimum Points – CAO Application

The points required may vary depending on the school leaving test you take. Your most recent exam results will assist you in calculating your overall point total.

CAO Login for 2023

One can readily verify His/Her CAO Progress with the CAO User Login. To access the User Login Page for Applicants, click on this link.

CAO Application Status Check

If you want to apply to CAO but have not yet received a CAO application number, select the “Apply” button from the menu to begin your application.

You can track the progress of your application.

If candidates, parents, or guidance counselors have any questions about completing the HEAR or SIF/DARE form, they should consult the relevant resources. If they have any further queries, they should contact CAO.

How To Reapply To CAO

You must obtain confirmation from your institution to determine whether you are eligible to reapply.

To stay current, log in to the CAO student site.

CAO Contact Office

Contact the Central Applications Office for further information on this.

Gate 11, Central Services Complex – UKZN
Mary Thiphe Street (Cato Manor Road)
Cato Manor

Postal Address
Private Bag X06
email: enqgeneralcao@cao.ac.za


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