he National Tertiary Office is delighted to announce the launch of 23 new tertiary degree programmes for the academic year 2023/2024.
Established by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science in a joint initiative between the Higher Education Authority and SOLAS, the National Tertiary Office (NTO) was tasked with the development of new progressive pathways through further education to higher education which is central to the government’s ambition of a unified tertiary education system.
A tertiary course is one that commences in an Education and Training Board (ETB) and continues in a Higher Education Institution (HEI), culminating in the award of a degree. In this proof-of-concept phase, there are 23 tertiary degree courses commencing in September across 11 locations and 5 fields of provision including Business, ICT, Arts, Engineering, Manufacturing & Construction and Health & Welfare.
Speaking at the launch today, Minister Harris said:
“This is the single biggest transformation to education access in decades. Today, we launch 23 degree courses outside the points system. We know the points system has not worked for many of our young people. Today, we can tell the next generation of students they can access degrees in nursing, business, engineering, and media without ever engaging with the CAO system. This is the start. We have much more to do but today, we change the system and ensure the learner is at the heart of all we do. I want to thank the National Tertiary Office, the Higher Education Authority and Solas for their leadership in driving this forward.”
Commenting on the launch, President of Munster Technological University, Professor Maggie Cusack said:
“At MTU, everything we do as a university is underpinned by a commitment to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. These tertiary degree programmes will provide more options for students, and open doors to individuals and groups that may previously have been underrepresented in further and higher education. I’d like to extend my thanks to UCC, Kerry ETB and Cork ETB for their engagement with us in establishing these new degrees in the southwest and I look forward to seeing the great benefits for students across the Cork and Kerry region.”
Professor John O’Halloran, President of UCC, welcomed the launch of the tertiary degrees programme “which will provide pathways for students through further to higher education: opportunities that provide pathways that are student-focussed, rather than institutionally focussed, are warmly welcomed’.
The HEI and ETB partners collaborated closely on the development and shared delivery of tertiary programmes to provide students with a seamless transition from FET into higher education and a clearly defined learner pathway right through to professional practice. From day one of their tertiary degree course, the learner is recognised as a registered student of both the ETB where they are commencing their course and the partnered university which provides the student with access to dual supports and services including libraries, sports, and other campus facilities as well as academic, health and wellbeing supports.
Welcoming the news today, Mr. Denis Leamy, Chief Executive, Cork Education and Training Board said:
“The new Tertiary Degree Pathway Initiative provides students with the opportunity for a seamless progression from Further Education and Training (FET) to Higher Education. It builds on the relationships that exist between UCC, MTU and Cork ETB, and underlines the shared and collective commitment of the partners to providing learners with a range of opportunities outside of the CAO process. Over the coming years, Cork ETB will work with our partners to develop additional courses through this initiative”.
Students interested in pursuing a degree through the new tertiary route should visit the National Tertiary Office website (www.nto.ie) where students may apply for any of the 23 programmes on offer this September. For the eligibility criteria and course specific entry requirements, please refer to the course information section on the NTO website. General enquiries may be addressed to the NTO and course specific queries should be directed to the relevant Tertiary Coordinator as listed on the website.