How to Apply
Undergraduate Studies
Graduate Studies

Undergraduate Application

How to make an application to study at NCAD.
For more information please see Undergraduate FAQ or go to our website Study-at-NCAD or just drop us a line, at and we will be happy to help.

There are two parts to the undergraduate application process for NCAD, the Application and the Portfolio Submission:

1. Application
All EU applications for full-time first year undergraduate study must be made through the CAO (Central Applications Office). The deadline for CAO Applications is 1 February 2023 – 5.15pm. More on

International Applicants
International/Non EU Applicants for UG or PG programmes should apply directly to NCAD through the NCAD online application system. International applications are considered on a rolling basis with a priority deadline of 31st March. We strongly recommend that you submit your application by this date. Information on making an application, entry requirements and tuition fees are available at

2. Portfolio Submission
A portfolio submission is required for Art & Design studio programmes at NCAD: For portfolio guidelines and FAQs LEARN MORE.
Portfolio Submission Deadline: Friday 10 February 2023

Choosing Your Fine Art or Design Discipline

NCAD offers a wide range of undergraduate degree pathways. If you know which area of Fine Art or Design you wish to study, you can select your preferred option from the list of entry pathways. If you prefer to remain open and explore the range of possibilities available to you, choose AD101 First Year Art and Design (Common Entry).

There will be places reserved on all studio programmes for students who come in through the common entry route.

AD101 — First Year Art & Design (Common Entry)
A common entry pathway leading to degree options in all areas:

Design: Graphic Design/Moving Image Design/Illustration/Interaction Design/Product Design/Jewellery & Objects/Textile & Surface Design/Fashion Design

Fine Art: Print/Media/Painting/Sculpture/ Applied Material Culture (Textile Art & Artefact, Ceramics & Glass)

AD102 — Graphic Design/Moving Image Design
Degree options in: Graphic Design, Moving Image Design

AD217 — Illustration

AD211 — Fashion Design

AD212 — Product Design

AD222 — Interaction Design

AD103 — Textiles, Jewellery & Objects
Degree options in: Textile & Surface Design, Jewellery & Objects

AD202 — Education & Design or Fine Art – Second Level Teaching
Degree options in: Joint Honours in Design & Education, Joint Honours in Fine Art & Education

AD204 — Fine Art
Degree options in: Media/Painting/ Print/Sculpture/Textiles Art & Artefact/Ceramics & Glass

AD215 — Visual Culture
History & Theory of Contemporary Art & Design. Portfolio not required.


Undergraduate – Year 1

All UG Studio Programmes

Applications through the CAO by the 1 February each year. These are restricted programmes. Late applications will not be accepted and a portfolio submission is required.

Applicants for September 2023 must submit a portfolio by Friday 10 February 2023 in accordance with the NCAD Portfolio Submission Guidelines. Further information on the portfolio guidelines and on submitting and collecting your portfolio can be found at

Portfolio results and conditional offer letters are sent to applicants at the end of March/early April. Offers are made based on portfolio results to applicants who meet minimum academic entry requirements. Offers are made through the CAO in August each year.

AD215 Visual Culture

Applications through the CAO, the normal application deadline is 1 February. The BA in Visual Culture is not a restricted programme.

Visual Culture does not require a portfolio submission; places are allocated on a competitive basis to applicants who meet the minimum academic entry requirements. Late applications will be accepted through the CAO up to 1 May, and change of mind for existing CAO applicants up to 1 July. Offers are made through the CAO in August.

Mature Students

NCAD welcomes applications from mature students to all our programmes. A mature student is any EU/EEA student who will be 23 years of age on the 1st of January of the proposed year of entry to NCAD.

Mature Applications: Studio Programmes
As a mature student you should apply in the same way and at the same time as any other applicant. You will be informed of the outcome of your portfolio submission at the same time as other applicants. Mature students who do not meet the minimum academic entry requirements should include with their CAO application information on previous learning and/or any relevant work or other experience that might support your application. Please send any supporting documentation such as transcripts or CVs to the CAO marked clearly with your CAO number. Mature students who achieve a sufficient portfolio score to warrant an offer but who do not otherwise meet minimum academic entry requirements will have an opportunity to matriculate on the basis of mature years. These applications will be reviewed based on information and documentation submitted to the CAO and you may be invited to attend for interview. You will be informed of the outcome of your application in April/May.

Mature Applications: AD215 Visual Culture
Mature applicants to AD215 Visual Culture should apply through the CAO by 1st February and should include on the CAO form information on previous education as well as any relevant work or other experience that might support your application. Please send any supporting documentation such as transcripts or CVs to the CAO marked clearly with your CAO number. Mature applications will be reviewed and you may be invited to attend for interview. You will be informed of the outcome of your applications in April/May.

Deferred Entry

The College, at its discretion, can agree to defer the offer of a place on a programme for one year. If you wish to defer your offer of a place in First Year the procedure is as follows: Do not accept your offer of a place through the CAO. Contact NCAD Admissions office in writing (email is the quickest way to do this giving your CAO number, the programme you have been offered, and the reason you are seeking a deferral. The Admissions office should receive this request before the CAO closing date for accepting the offer. The Admissions office will contact you by email informing you if your deferral has been granted and outlining the procedures for taking up your place offer the following year.

NCAD Access Scheme

NCAD operates a supplementary admissions route for all applicants with a disability or from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Details of the NCAD Access Scheme are sent to all applicants who successfully pass the portfolio stage, or in the case of AD215 Visual Culture, information is sent to all applicants. Applicants who feel they meet the qualifying criteria for the Access Scheme are invited to make an application. NCAD reserves 15 places in Year 1 for Access students. To receive an Access offer you must meet the minimum entry requirements and have passed the portfolio or interview stage. For further information visit

Advanced Entry Year 2+

NCAD considers applications from students who wish to gain Advanced Entry to the second or subsequent year of an undergraduate degree. Applications are not normally considered for the final year of a programme.

NCAD accepts applications for Advanced Entry to Year 2+ to a number of our undergraduate degree programmes.

Advanced Entry applications are made through the Central Applications Office

The normal closing date for Advanced Entry applications is 31 March every year. The first round of offers will be made to applicants who have applied by this date. After that date, applications will continue to be accepted for programmes where places are still available.

“Advanced Entry Applicants for Studio Programmes will be required to submit a Portfolio of 10 images/videos of their work as well as 500 words accompanying their Portfolio Material; submitted in PDF.” Portfolio submissions are made through the Portfolio Submission Platform.

Shortlisted applicants may be invited to attend for interview and to bring a portfolio of work with them. Offers of places will be issued during May and June.

Student Vetting

All successful applicants for programmes with a teaching qualification are required to undergo Student Vetting at the time of registration. These programmes include BA Education & Design or Fine Art , Professional Masters in Education (Art & Design) or other postgraduate programmes with an associated qualification to teach in the Further or Communication Education sectors.