The Leaving Certificate (Established)

LC Banner
The Leaving Certificate (Established) is a two-year programme that aims to provide learners with a broad, balanced education while also offering some specialisation towards a particular career option. Students following the Leaving Certificate (Established) programme are required to study at least five subjects, one of which must be Irish. In general, students take seven subjects for examination. Syllabuses are available in 34 subjects.


Leaving Certificate subjects


In all, 34 Leaving Certificate subjects are available to schools. Subjects are studied at either Ordinary or Higher Level, although two subjects, Irish and mathematics, are available at Foundation Level too. The syllabus documents for all the subjects can be found here. In addition, 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.



Each subject is assessed by an external examination paper at the end of the two-year programme of study. Some subjects are also assessed by additional assessment methods including oral and aural examinations, practical examinations and assessment of practical coursework. Performance in the examination can be used for purposes of selection into employment, and into further and higher education. The Leaving Certificate is well regarded nationally and internationally. It enjoys public confidence in its standards, status and currency.



Under review

The NCCA is engaged in the ongoing review of Leaving Certificate subjects and the development of new areas of learning.

Senior Cycle Key Skills


Find out about the 5 key skills for senior cycle.

Useful links

All subject syllabus documents and teacher guidelines can be downloaded here.


The State Exams Commission (SEC) provides everything you need to know about state examinations.


The Department of Education and Skills website contains a useful overview of post-primary education and the education system in general.