What are the entry requirements for medicine?

For school leavers to be eligible to compete for entry into undergraduate medicine they need to meet the minimum subject entry requirements. Students must achieve the 480 points criterion in the same sitting of the Leaving Certificate exam.  

Allocation of places for Medicine will be determined based on a combination of that Leaving Certificate Examination (LCE) score and the HPAT-Ireland score. 

This is to strike an appropriate balance between the perceived pressures on students to achieve maximum grades in the Leaving Certificate Examination while at the same time recognising excellence when it has been achieved.  

Before the scores are combined, Leaving Certificate Examination scores above 550 points will be adjusted to a maximum score of 565 points (see table below)

medicine entry requirements


Maximum points available for entry into Medicine is

565    +   300     =    865 

(LCE)  +   (HPAT)


Minimum entry points

University 2019 2020 2021
National University of Ireland Galway 726 728 737
Royal College of Surgeons   729 733 741
Trinity College Dublin  730 735 743
University College Cork    729 731 738
University College Dublin  736 737 743


The above table outlines the CAO points requirements for medicine courses in Ireland over the last three years. The entry points  have increased substantially from 2019 to 2021. This is a direct result of LCE grade inflation caused by the calculated grade system that was introduced during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Minister for Education, Norma Foley, has announced that the Department of Education plans to hold the Leaving Certificate Exam under normal circumstances in 2022, and that the calculated grade system will not be required.  Therefore, it is anticipated that students’ grades, and CAO entry points, will approximately return to pre-pandemic level. So, in terms of setting targets, it would be reasonable for students to be focusing more on the  2019 CAO entry points, as opposed to 2021 entry points.  

Let us take a look at the CAO points that were required to gain entry into Medicine in 2019.




Entry points (2019)
NUI Galway  726
Royal College of Surgeons  729
Trinity College Dublin  730 
University College Cork  729
University College Dublin   736


Whilst 480 is the minimum entry criterion outlined, students will realistically need to achieve much higher in their Leaving Cert to have a chance at securing a medicine course offer.

And this is why: 

If you were to achieve a Leaving Certificate score of 480 + 25 Maths bonus points, it would give you a total of 505 points for your Leaving Certificate.  This would mean having to score 221 (726 minus 505) in the HPAT-Ireland to gain entry in to medicine in NUIG (lowest entry points) in 2019. While a HPAT-Ireland score of 221 is possible, it is unlikely.  

The HPAT-Ireland is a very low scoring exam, where a score of 170+ would be regarded as a very strong HPAT-Ireland result. Just 20% of students that sat the HPAT-Ireland in 2019 scored 170 or higher. So, your aim should be to get into this top 20%. 

Find out more about the HPAT exam and how to prepare here: