The Higher Education Links Scheme (HELS)

QQI Level 5 & Level 6 graduates are eligible to apply to progress to Higher Education Courses through the Higher Education Links Scheme (HELS).

Progression Routes into Higher Education

The Higher Education Links Scheme (HELS) gives learners the opportunity to use their QQI Level 5 or 6 major award obtained in Stillorgan College of Further Education to apply, through the CAO, for a place in the first year of a higher education programme.

Linked awards, special requirements and available higher education programmes are published by the admissions office of the individual higher education institution and on

Further information can also be found on QQI's website - Progression Opportunities into Higher Education

Rules for Eligibility to the Scheme

Level 5 and Level 6 Major Awards are made up of a number of Minor Awards known as components. Different combinations of components lead to different Major Awards.

Each component has a credit value, typically between 15 and 30. A Major Award needs 120 credits, made up by combining components. For example: 8 components of 15 credits each = 120 credits.

• Progression requires a full Level 5 or Level 6 Major Award, with at least 120 credits. In some instances, progression is on the
basis of specific Level 5 or 6 Major Awards.
• Components (Minor Awards), or achievement of less than 120 credits, will not suffice for progression under the HELS
• The applicant is responsible for ensuring that their college/provider applies to QQI for Major Award status on their behalf,
prior to application to the CAO

Applicants MUST check both the individual Higher Education institution and the CAO websites to ensure they meet any special or essential requirements specified such as:
• A specific Major Award.
• A specific grade in specific components.
• Additional Award requirements such as mathematics.
• That all credits used for scoring purposes are achieved in one ‘single sitting’

What does ‘single sitting’ mean?

Whilst Major Award may be achieved over more than one year, it is important to note that some higher education institutions require that your 120 credits are achieved within a ‘single sitting’ between 1 August and 31 July of any certification year. Check the CAO and individual college websites for specific requirements.

What degree courses are the courses in Stillorgan CFE linked to?

Below are a list of the Level 5 courses offered in Stillorgan CFE. Click on your chosen course to see some of the Degree courses that they are linked to. Please note that these are only some of the courses that you can progress to and mainly list courses in the Dublin region. There are many other courses available around the country. Each University and Institute of Technology determines their own criteria for progression and these are subject to change. It is recommended that you contact the college for the latest list of linked courses.

14 2023
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30 2023
October Mid-Term Break
18 2023
Christmas Exams
25 2023
Christmas Break
Interested in one of our courses this year? Then why not come along to our Open Day – Thursday 31 August 2023 (10.30 am – 2.30 pm).
In response to the cost-of-living crisis, we've significantly reduced course charges for the 2023/2024 academic year.
There was some stunning work on show at the college's end-of-year show last week.
Interested in one of our courses next year? Then why not come along to our Information Evening – Wednesday 22 March 2023 (4.30pm – 6.30pm).
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