Senior Cycle Core Subjects

Leaving Certificate English invites students into rich experiences with language so that they become fluent and thoughtful users of it and more aware of its significance in their lives. Leaving Certificate English also develops a range of literacy and oral skills in a variety of areas including; personal, social, and cultural. Leaving Certificate English students develop a wide range of skills and concepts. These skills will allow the students to interpret and enjoy a range of material so that they become independent learners who can operate independently in the world beyond the school.

Leaving Certificate English is assessed at two levels, Ordinary and Higher level. 


Leaving Certificate Irish builds upon the language developed during Junior Cycle. All four language skills are further developed in order to enable the learner take an active part in the bilingual society in which we live in today in Ireland. Students are  encouraged to develop and share their views on a range of topics. The learner is also prepared during Senior Cycle for further study in or through Irish.

Irish is assessed at three levels i.e. Foundation Level, Ordinary Level or Higher Level. The learner’s oral competency is assessed around Easter of the final year, in an oral examination worth 40%, at each level, of the overall mark, and the other three skills are assessed in June. 

Mathematics at Senior Cycle builds on the learning at Junior Cycle and develops mathematical knowledge, skills and understanding needed for continuing education, life and work. Through their study of mathematics, students develop a flexible, disciplined way of thinking which enables them to solve problems in mathematical and real world contexts.

The syllabus is provided at three levels – Higher, Ordinary and Foundation level and is also assessed at these levels. There are two examination papers at each level.

Senior Cycle Optional Subjects

Leaving Certificate Accounting provides students with the knowledge, understanding and skills in accounting and financial management necessary for managing personal and basic company accounts. The learning experiences in accounting develop students’ organisational, logical thinking, planning and problem-solving skills for their future life, work and study. Accounting also develops students’ numeracy skills within the context of business and enterprise. The syllabus is assessed at Higher and Ordinary levels.

Leaving Certificate Agricultural Science involves the study of the science and technology underlying the principles and practices of agriculture. The course aims to develop knowledge, skills and attitudes that promote the sustainability of agricultural resources, and places emphasis on the managed use of these resources. Plants and animal types associated with agriculture are studied, and investigations are undertaken into such aspects as soil, ecology, plant and animal physiology, farm crops, farming practices, genetics and microbiology. The syllabus is assessed at Higher and Ordinary levels. The Agricultural Science course also has an individual coursework element worth 25% of the overall grade.

Leaving Certificate Applied Mathematics aims to develop the learner’s capacity to use mathematics to model real-world problems. By focusing on all aspects of the problem-solving cycle it is envisaged that learners will move beyond calculating procedures and gain experience in asking appropriate questions, formulating mathematical representations of problems, and interpreting and verifying results. Through Applied Mathematics, students will learn to appreciate the extent to which mathematics is relevant in everyday life, generating engagement and interest in the process. 

Applied Mathematics is assessed at two levels, Ordinary level and Higher level, by means of two assessment components: a modelling project worth 20%, and an examination paper worth 80%.

Both components of assessment reflect the relationship between the application of skills and the theoretical content of the specification. The modelling project will be based on a brief issued annually by the State Examinations Commission (SEC). 

Leaving Certificate Art is based on three strands: Research, Create and Respond. These three interlinked and interdependent strands also serve to signify the importance of the symbiotic relationship between the learner, the practical work with which they are involved and their understanding of the place of, and emphasis on, Visual Studies within their work.

In all three strands, learners should experience examples of Visual Studies alongside the practical work they are engaged with. The learner’s engagement and learning are optimised by a fully integrated experience of all three strands. Students will be expected to engage with a wide range of activities supporting an enquiry approach throughout their experience in Art, most of which will be captured within their Art sketchpad. As the students progress through senior cycle, they will build on their knowledge, skills and values incrementally.

Art is assessed at two levels, Ordinary level and Higher level by means of three assessment components: Practical Coursework worth 50%, Practical Examination worth 20% and a written examination worth 30%.

Biology is the study of life. Through the study of biology students explore the diversity of life and the inter-relationships between organisms and their environment. They become aware of the use of living organisms and their products to enhance human health and the environment.

The Leaving Certificate Biology syllabus is assessed at Ordinary and Higher levels. The biology syllabus is currently under review.

Leaving Certificate Business creates an awareness of the importance of business activity and develops a positive and ethical attitude towards enterprise. The learning experiences in business develop students’ critical thinking, creative and organisational skills while enhancing literacy and numeracy skills using real-life examples. Business provides students with a learning foundation for a wide range of careers in business, marketing, law, enterprise and management.

This syllabus is assessed at Ordinary and Higher levels.

Leaving Certificate Chemistry aims to provide a relevant course for students who will complete their study of chemistry at this level while, at the same time, providing a foundation course for those who will continue to study chemistry or a related subjects following completion of their Leaving Certificate. This syllabus is  assessed at Ordinary and Higher levels.

Leaving Certificate Construction Studies provides students with an introduction to the knowledge and skills involved in construction technology and construction materials and processes. Students develop their ability to communicate ideas and information and to apply accurate observation and scientific investigation through exploring materials and processes.

Construction studies is assessed at two levels, Ordinary level and Higher level, by means of a written examination worth 50%, a practical test worth 25%, and an assessment of student project work .worth 25%

Leaving Certificate Design and Communication Graphics involves comprehending, analysing and communicating information presented verbally or graphically. Problem solving and creative thinking skills are developed through the analysis and solution of problems in both two and three dimensions graphics. Graphics and design are communicated using a variety of media, including Computer-Aided Design (CAD).  The main areas of study are: Plane and Descriptive Geometry, Communication of Design and Computer Graphics, and Applied Graphics.

Design and Communication Graphics is assessed at two levels, Ordinary level and Higher level, by means of two assessment components: a student assignment, of which CAD forms a significant element worth 40%, and a written examination worth 60%.

Leaving Certificate Engineering is the study of mechanical engineering. Students develop the skills and initiative in the planning, development and realisation of technological projects in a safe manner. Practical resourcefulness, creativity and design in the planning and development of technological projects are emphasised. There are two main areas of study: workshop processes, and materials and technology.

Engineering is assessed at two levels, Ordinary level and Higher level, by means of a written examination worth 50%, a project worth 25% and a practical examination worth 25%.

Leaving Certificate French follows a common syllabus framework for the teaching and examining of modern languages in the Leaving Certificate. The syllabus aims to develop learners’ communicative skills in the French, to develop their strategies for effective language learning and raise their awareness of cultural, social and political diversity.

French is assessed at two levels, Ordinary level and Higher level. Assessment is by means of a written examination worth 55%, an aural worth 20% and an oral examination worth 25%.

Leaving Certificate Geography will help students develop an understanding of the changing relationships between the physical and human worlds. Through their study of geography, students will develop geographical skills that will help them to make informed judgements about issues at local, national and international levels.

The Leaving Certificate Geography  course is divided into core, elective and optional units of study.

Geography is assessed at Ordinary and Higher level. Students are expected to complete a report on a geographical investigation worth 20% and to sit a written examination worth 80%.

Leaving Certificate History deals with the experience of human life in the past. The study of history involves an investigation of the surviving evidence relating to such experience. It brings students into contact with human experiences that are often very different from their own and fosters their developing understanding of the human condition and human motivation. Through its focus on the evaluation of evidence, it contributes significantly to the development of students’ skills of critical thinking. Through its focus on research, it allows students the opportunity to develop their skills of independent learning.

Leaving Certificate History is assessed at two levels, Ordinary level and Higher level. There are two assessment components: a research study report (submitted prior to the examination) worth 20% and a written examination worth 80%.

Leaving Certificate Home Economics provides students with knowledge, understanding, skills and attitudes necessary for managing their own lives, for further and higher education and work. The learning experiences in home economics develop flexibility and adaptability in students, prepare them for a consumer-oriented society and provide a learning foundation for a wide range of careers in food, textiles, science, design, social studies and tourism. This syllabus is  assessed at Higher and Ordinary levels. There are two assessment components; a written examination worth 80% and an individual project worth 20%.

Leaving Certificate Music involves a series of interrelated musical activities within each of the three core areas of musical experience – performing, composing and listening. In performing, students choose from a variety of individual and/or group performing activities. In composing, students develop an understanding of musical structure and form, while the listening component provides for rich aural experiences through exposure to music of different periods, styles and genres.

This syllabus is assessed at Higher and Ordinary levels.

Leaving Certificate Physics aims to give students an understanding of the fundamental principles of physics and their application to everyday life. It offers a general education in physics to all students, enabling them to develop an understanding of the scientific method and their ability to observe, to think logically and to communicate effectively. Science technology and society (STS) is an integral part of the syllabus so that students can be aware of the principles of the applications of physics in the everyday world

This syllabus is assessed at at Ordinary and Higher levels.