Senior cycle education in Ireland may be of two or of three year's duration. Students may follow a two-year Leaving Certificate programme or they may take an additional optional year at the start of their senior cycle. This year is called Transition Year.
Most students take the Leaving Certificate examination at the end of their senior cycle. Students normally choose 6 to 8 subjects from the list of approved subjects.
Students following the Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme (LCVP) take 6 or 7 Leaving Certificate subjects and two additional Link Modules: Preparation for the World of Work and Enterprise Education.
Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA) students follow a pre-vocational programme made up of a range of courses that are structured round three elements: Vocational Preparation, Vocational Education and General Education.
Senior Cycle Curriculum Review
A number of Leaving Certificate subjects are currently under various stages of review.
Leaving Certificate Established
The Leaving Certificate (Established) is a two-year programme that aims to provide learners with a broad, balanced education while also offering them a chance to specialise towards particular higher education and career options.
In general, students take five or more subjects (usually seven) for examination, one of which must be Irish. Subjects are normally studied at either Ordinary or Higher Level. Two subjects, Irish and Mathematics, can be studied at Foundation Level.
Syllabuses are available in 36 subjects. Each of these belongs to a subject group as shown in the table below. Two subjects, Home Economics and Physics and Chemistry, belong to two groups.
Irish, English, French, German, Italian, Latin, Greek, Spanish, Arabic, Japanese, Russian, Classical Studies, Hebrew Studies, Lithuanian, Mandarin Chinese, Polish, Portuguese
Applied Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics, Physics and Chemistry
Business studies group
Accounting, Business, Economics
Applied science group
Agricultural Science, Construction Studies, Engineering, Home Economics, Physics and Chemistry, Design and Communication Graphics, Technology, Computer Science, Physical Education
Social studies group
Art, Geography, History, Home Economics, Music, Politics and Society, Religious Education
In addition to these subjects, the State Examinations Commission will provide examinations in any of the recognised languages of the European Union, where the status of the applicant/candidate is seen as appropriate.