Leaving Cert Options

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Choosing which subjects to study for the leaving cert can be difficult but your choices can have a huge impact on the rest of your life so it is important not to make the decision lightly! Choosing the right subjects can set you on the path to your dream career or ensure you get the points you need to study the subject you want at 3rd level.  It is also important to bear in mind that some Leaving Certificate subjects may be a requirement for entering onto third level courses. For example, if you want to study engineering, technology, IT or another related discipline at university, a Leaving Certificate in higher level Maths is often an essential prerequisite. Similarly, most science subject courses at third level require applicants to have studied at least one honours science subject at Leaving Certificate level. More specialised disciplines such as medicine, dentistry and veterinary science require candidates to take at least two honours science subjects at Leaving Certificate level.

You should also be aware that some Leaving Cert subjects are compulsory. Irish, Maths and English are compulsory in all schools. Irish is your national language and forms a huge part of your culture and heritage. It is part of your national identity, as it has been spoken in Ireland for over 2000 years. Leaving Cert Irish is still compulsory for getting into many jobs in Ireland – such as primary school teaching, the Garda and many government jobs. It can also be a bonus for getting into a whole range of other career areas.

Maths is essential for everyday life. You need to know when you are being ripped off, when interest rates are too high, and how much change you are owed. This course deals with practical and theoretical aspects of maths and promotes logical thinking as a way to problem-solve. Leaving Cert maths opens doors into a wide range of disciplines and career areas!

English at Leaving Cert covers both English language and literature. The language aspect focuses on developing your skills in writing to express yourself effectively in different contexts, and use the power of words to convey your creativity and imagination. The literature aspect to this course is designed to develop the your critical appreciation and analysis of texts by studying a range of texts from different genres including poetry, prose and plays.

Here we take a look at the leaving cert course options in more detail and look at reasons why you might wish to study the subject, what you will learn on the syllabus, and how the subject relates to your everyday life and intended career area.

Biology is the science of life. Biologists contine to make breakthroughs in genetics, cell biology, the human body and so forth. As a career sector, biology continues to boom as all the new discoveries and developments create new jobs! Leaving Cert biology gives you a great foundation of knowledge and understanding in the science of life. Biology is currently the 5th most popular choice of leaving cert option.

Chemistry  is all around us – from the chemicals in your moisturiser to washing powder you use and the petrol you put in your car! Chemistry at Leaving Cert incorporates the social, economic, environmental and technological aspects of Chemistry. It also includes an element of essential practical work that is undertaken.

Physics helps us understand how things work! Leaving Cert looks at physics in everyday life – how it is needed and used. You will learn physical principles, terminology, methods and facts as well as the role of physics in technological developments. Above all this course enables you to find out how physics contributes to the social, historical, economic, environmental and technological life of society. Physics and Chemistry at Leaving Cert provides students with a good foundation in both physics and chemistry and deals with both subjects in equal measure. Students gain knowledge in the laws, principles, definitions, terminology, formulae and methods used in physics and chemistry. It also gives students a good understanding of the uses and place of chemistry and physics in everyday life.

Business is a career industry that continues to evolve with new things constantly being invented and new career opportunities emerging! The Leaving Cert in Business is designed to prepare you for the rapidly changing environment of business sector focusing on key principles such as marketing, management and the importance of having innovative ideas. Economics at Leaving Cert is designed to develop your ability to understand and apply economic thought, principles and critical knowledge covering such concepts as wealth, income, welfare, consumption and so forth. It provides a good foundation in economic growth and policies and prepares you well for both further education and jobs within this field.

Accounting at Leaving Cert covers aspects of business and social life and combines practical and theoretical learning. Students gain a good basis in accounting by preparing, recording, presenting and analysing financial data with a view to making economic decisions.

Applied Maths at Leaving Cert level focuses on the knowledge and application of many complex mathematical theories, laws and proofs.

Geography at Leaving Cert covers topics such as third world development to globalisation to recycling. It is a diverse and interesting subject that deals with both physical and human aspects of geography. The current syllabus promotes a “hands-on” approach to learning by incorporating compulsory field work studies into your course. The course provides you with an insight into the world in which we live. Geography is currently the 6th most popular choice of leaving cert option.

History at Leaving Cert broadens your knowledge of the past and how it has influenced the present. You will study Irish, European and world history and gain an awareness of different interpretations of particular historical issues. You will be introduced to the cultural, social, political, economical, religious and scientific aspects of studying history.

Technology at Leaving Cert ensures you are prepared for further education and the world of work in an economy that will be increasingly driven by technological change in an economy influenced by technological change. The Leaving Cert in this subject places emphasis on design, project and quality management, knowledge of materials and structures, manufacturing skills, communications and graphic media, ICT and electronics. The course is a good basis for those wishing to pursue technology at 3rd level or as a career.

Technical Drawing at Leaving Cert develops the intellectual qualities of comprehension, analysis and problem-solving in addition to the physical skills of manipulation and design. It enables to visualise and comprehend information presented verbally or graphically and explores technical drawing as a form of graphical communication.

There are several Modern Languages offered to students at Leaving Cert level. These are French, Spanish, German, Italian, Russian and Japanese. Each course has a similar framework in that the overall learning aims, syllabus and format is the same. The aim of each is to provide the student with communicative proficiency as well as language and cultural awareness of the language studied. French is among the most popular of modern languages undertaken at leaving cert level and is the 4th most popular learning cert option!Arabic at Leaving Cert level is designed to give students a good basis in Arabic so that they can communicate effectively in the language; understand and employ a wide range of vocabulary; gain control of the grammar; and understand both written and spoken Arabic.

Ancient Greek and Latin Leaving Certificates both cover the same objectives, aims, syllabus structure and format. Both subjects develop the reading skills, vocabulary and translation skills of the student from both English to Latin or Ancient Greek and from either Latin or Ancient Greek into English. The student also learns about ancient Greek or Roman literature, history and culture. Ancient Greek students study the life and works of the great Greek authors – from Homer to Aristotle, while students on the Latin course study works by a range of great Roman authors –from Virgil to Catullus and Ovid. Both the leaving cert in Latin and the leaving cert in Ancient Greek provide a great academic grounding and the many skills and principles you learn can be applied to a wide range of other disciplines and jobs. Learning Latin or Ancient Greek will give you a thorough knowledge of language and will help you understand things about your own language as well as help make learning modern languages easier.

Classical Studies at Leaving Cert covers a wide range of topics. You will learn about ancient civilisation in classical Greece and Italy and explore the culture, history and literature in depth. You will gain an appreciation of the classics learning about everything from Greek tragedy to Augustan writers and the study of Greek philosophy – from Socrates to Plato. The broad spectrum of topics covered will give you a good foundation in a number of different subjects and disciplines which can then be explored further at 3rd level if desired.

Hebrew Studies at Leaving Cert develops your understanding of history, religion and civilisation of Hebrews. You will study in depth many topics relating to Hebrew studies including the family, government, monarchy, prophets, festivals and symbols, and Messianism.

Art at Leaving Cert is a broadly based course designed to develop and nurture the students’ talents, creativity and appreciation of art. The following 4 papers are undertaken by each student: imaginative composition or still life, design or craftwork, life sketching, and history and appreciation of art. The course enhances students’ creative abilities and helps them develop a wide range of skills.

Music at Leaving Cert encourages students to express themselves through music and develop their critical and imaginative faculties. You will learn how music contributes to social, historical, technological, economic and cultural aspects of life while fostering an appreciation of the cultural and expressive qualities of music. The course itself is examined by strong emphasis on performing, composing, and listening to music.

Religious Education at Leaving Cert introduces students to the idea that the human search for meaning is common to all people. The course explores how this meaning can be found and how it is expressed in various different religions. The course promotes an appreciation of religious traditions and also acknowledges the non-religious interpretation of life. This course is designed to contribute to the spiritual and moral development of the student as well as give them an insight into – and awareness of – different religions.

Engineering at Leaving Cert introduces you to a wide range of mechanical engineering materials, processes and technological applications. You will acquire a range of manipulative skills and techniques needed in engineering and will carry out practical processes in the form of workshops and benchwork. The course will give you a great foundation in engineering.

Home Economics at Leaving Cert provides you with a range of skills that can be used in the home, workplace, further education, and many other contexts. You will learn to appreciate the diversity of socio-economic and cultural influences on family life; the processes relating to the individual, family and community; the importance of health and safety; and a number of other skills, principles and concepts relating to socio-economics.

Agricultural Economics at Leaving Cert level focuses on farming in Ireland and its development since the famine. The course looks at the farm as a business unit; costs; land, labour and capital; produce; farm recording and accounting; and the contribution of farming to economic growth.

Construction Studies at Leaving Cert provides an introduction to skills and knowledge in construction technology as well as construction materials and practices. Students on this course learn to communicate ideas and information by appropriate methods and apply accurate observation and scientific investigations. It provides a good basis for those wishing to pursue a 3rd level course or career in construction technology.


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