Careers- Senior Subject Choice
Irish, English, French/ Third Language
Irish is one of the core subjects you must study unless you have an exemption. As the subject is offered at three levels: foundation, Ordinary and higher there is no reason not to pass it. Irish is a requirement for entry into the NUI (National Colleges of Ireland: UCD, UCG, UCC and Maynooth). You need a C or better in higher level Irish to qualify for the four Primary School Colleges in the country. Irish may be used to satisfy the requirement of a modern language for entry into Trinity College, and as a language other than English for entry to DCU and UL. Irish is no longer a requirement for the Guards or for Post Primary teaching, unless you want to teach in an all-Irish school, or if you want to teach it as one of your subjects
In general, universities require English at pass level: other colleges will take Irish or English. It is recommended that the student takes the advice of their teacher as to whether they do Higher or Ordinary level. Higher English is required for a handful of courses in areas such as Journalism, Communications and Speech and Language Therapy. It is also a useful subject for politics and law.
French/ German / Spanish
A good grasp of a language is important for life after school. There have been increases in courses such as business that have a modern language as part of the course. It is also important for courses such as European Studies, Languages and Marketing. It is a requirement for the NUI Colleges and for the Cadets. However in DCU, UL and the Institutes of Technology you do not need a language if it is not an essential part of the course.
Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Agricultural Science, Applied Mathematics
Mathematics tends to be a requirement for a great number of jobs and courses. In terms of jobs, employers look for numeracy skills in all areas, including apprenticeships, nursing and the Guards.
All colleges including the Institute of Technologies insist on ordinary level maths as a basic entry requirement. They may allow foundation level Maths in certain cases, where there is no maths content on the course e.g. Art and Design, but they will not award points for it.
A grade C or better in Ordinary level Maths is required in many Science, Computing and Commerce courses in the Universities. Higher-level maths is required for certain engineering courses.
The list of courses that require a Science subject include Engineering, Medical courses and courses that specify a laboratory science subject. All paramedical courses such as Medical Laboratory Science, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy, Radiography, Human Nutrition and Dietetics require at least one science subject.
If a career in Medicine or Nursing is high on your list you should think in terms of Biology and Chemistry . Two science subjects are required for Dentistry and Medicine in most colleges. If you are interested in Engineering Physics or Chemistry should be considered.
In some cases course requirements are very specific for example a C in Higher level Chemistry is required for the Dietetics course in D.I.T., Veterinary Medicine in U.C.D. and Medicine and Dentistry in UCC.
Note: Entry requirements can differ slightly in the different institutions so check qualifax website for specific entry requirements into each course and college.
Applied Science Group
Construction Studies: This course involves the study of domestic buildings and broader aspects also covered which introduce students to the knowledge and skills in construction technology, materials and practices. There are other interesting and practical topics covered such as how to buy a house, how to pay for it and how to manage a mortgage. A project is required to be submitted as part of the assessment for the Leaving Certificate.
Design and Communications: This new programme is designed in keeping with important developments in the modes of communicating design information. It is intended to develop the creative thinking and problem solving abilities of students. It aims to develop skills in graphic communication, creative problem solving, spatial abilities, design capabilities, computer graphics and CAD modelling. The syllabus comprises three fundamental areas of study: Plane and Descriptive Geometry, Communication of Design and computer Graphics and Applied Graphics. 40% of the examination marks, of which CAD will form a significant and compulsory component, go towards the student assignment and 60% towards the terminal exam paper.
Engineering involves the theory behind the sourcing and refining of materials and an in-depth look at design, manufacturing, measurement and materials testing.
This is backed up by a practical element of manufacturing with metals, plastics, electronics and mechanisms through giving drawings and design.
The exam is assessed in two parts; practical and theory, both 50% each. The practical is broken into 25% in the terminal exam and 25% towards their project.
Business Studies Group
Accounting: Extending beyond the actual making of records, ie. Bookkeeping, Accounting is concerned with the use these records are put to, their analysis and interpretation.
It is an excellent preparation for any business related occupation. However it is not essential to do accounting for entry into any business College or course. Taking it as a leaving certificate subject would obviously be a great help to students wishing to pursue a career in this area after school.
Business is concerned with how organisations are formed, financed and run looking at the services involved such as banking, transport, taxation, and semi-state organisations. However like accounting it is not an essential subject for entry into any business college or course but it will provide an excellent foundation for any one contemplating a career in this area.
Social Studies Group
History: To understand events that influence our lives today, to learn from mistakes of the past, to embrace the world of politics, economic, religion and philosophy, history can be a most enjoyable challenge developing analytical skills and the ability to select relevant information, it is a useful subject to have studied if you decide to take Arts or a Law degree.
Geography: Students learn by studying Geography to appreciate landscapes and to understand social issues and environmental factors. Geography can be useful in a variety of courses for example, travel and tourism, environmental engineering, geology. For some courses it is accepted as a science subject requirement.
Art is a requirement for almost all art based courses. A portfolio is usually also a requirement for art courses. It is an excellent subject for students intending to pursue careers in architecture, graphic design, fashion design, interior/industrial design, art teaching and fine art.
N.C.A.D. (National College of Art and Design) require a pass in art or a language for entry.
Religion is a relatively new exam subject. It covers topics such as Worlds Religions, Philosophy and Morality. The subject caters for the holistic education of students. Coursework element of exam completed before written paper and is worth 20% of overall marks. This type of subject is similar to History and English
Music is a good subject to do if you really love music and are strong at it as 50% of the Leaving Cert goes towards the practical. The other 50% is divided into two parts: Listening and Composition. You would be advised not to do music if you do not play any instrument or cannot sing. There is a new added Music Technology element to the course.
Home Economics scientific and social is an applied subject combining theory with practice in order to develop understanding and solve problems. It is concerned with the way individuals and families manage their resources to eet physical, emotional, intellectual, social and economic needs.
20% of the exam goes to completing a journal of their practical work.
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