Higher Certificate in Business in Business Studies

  • NFQ Level 6
  • Points Required 181*
  • Course Code AU700 (was SG101)
  • Award Higher Certificate
  • Duration 2

Course Summary

This two year programme will provide students with the general business skills needed to get a job out there in the marketplace. During the programme, our lecturers give students a thorough understanding of the public sector and private business. Students who complete their studies will be superbly equipped to apply for a job or further study.


During the Higher Certificate programme, we introduce students to the core functions of business management, including accounting, management, marketing, entrepreneurship, human resource management, information technology and SME (small and medium enterprise) development.

We use a wide range of in-class practical-based exercises. You will learn theoretical and practical skills through individual and group projects. The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, tutorials, problem-based learning and computer laboratory sessions.


Students will be equipped with knowledge on core business areas such as Accounting Principles, Business Management, Marketing Principles, Business Mathematics, Information Technology Skills and Understanding the Dynamics of an Organisation.


In second year, students study core business areas at a more advanced level, with modules and practicals in Accounting, Business Management and Information Technology. Student knowledge and understanding of key business disciplines is broadened with the introduction of Business Law, Economics, Management Accounting and Enterprise Development.


Students can use this programme as part of the ladder system to progress to a Level 7 ordinary degree or a Level 8 honours degree. Those students who come through the ladder system end up with the exact same degree as those who start on the Level 8 programme and the duration is the same, but with more flexibility to change their path along the way.

Entry Requirements

Entry requirements for CAO courses at ATU Sligo are available for download below:

Career Opportunities

Graduates take up employment opportunities across the public, private and non-profit sectors in a variety of different roles. Career options include sales, management, human resources, marketing, finance and accounting, and office and project management.

Further Study

Successful students from the Higher Certificate in Business can use the ladder system to progress in their studies if they chose to do so. Higher Certificate (Level 6) students can progress to the Bachelor of Business (Level 7) or the Bachelor of Business in Business Administration (Level 7).

Level 7 students may add one more year if successful to complete the Bachelor of Business (Hons) Level 8 Add-on programme at Atlantic Technological University or in other Higher Education Institutions. This means students could gain an honours degree qualification in four years, the same length as if they entered directly onto a Level 8 programme.

Graduates can continue their studies to postgraduate masters or PhD levels within Atlantic Technological University or further afield.


"I chose a business course because I believe I have strong management and leadership skills and I want to be my own boss in the future. I chose to study the Higher Certificate course because I wasn’t 100% sure if college was for me. However, I have decided to keep going for another two years and get my Level 8 Honours Degree! Choosing this programme gave me lots of options. I loved the fact I could keep going with my studies if I wanted or leave after two years with a qualification.

I know that a lot of people don't accept their higher certificate offers because they think its not the same as a Level 7 or Level 8. Well you can end up in the same place if you want. You are just progressing through your studies with a bit more flexibility. I will end up with an Honours Degree when I am finished!

I have learnt new skills like teamwork, presentation skills and report writing. love the elective module options on this course too."

Karolina Freda, Higher Certificate in Business student at ATU Sligo

Did you know?

A mixture of theoretical principles and practical exercises are incorporated into this programme.

Guest speakers are a regular feature on our business programmes who help provide our students with an understanding of business practice in a variety of organisational settings and tackle the most up-to-date trends and challenges facing businesses today.

Students can choose from a number of different electives depending on where their interests lie. Visit the course format tab to view the subjects on offer. Subjects marked with an [E] are elective options.

We also offer this programme at Level 8 Bachelor of Business (Hons) and Level 7 Bachelor of Business. Applicants are encouraged to put down all three levels on the CAO to be sure of a place on these highly sought-after programmes.

Students can use these programmes as part of the ladder system to progress to an honours degree. Those students who come through the ladder system end up with the exact same degree as those who start on the Level 8 programme and the duration is the same.



Programme Fees

Course Format

Semester 1

Business Mathematics 105
Financial Accounting 105
Introduction to Business Technology05
Personal Learning and Development05
Introduction to Management05
Organisational Behaviour 1 (Understanding Individual Behaviour in Organisations) [E]05
Politics for Business Students - Change and Transformation in Modern Ireland [E]05
German Language, Culture and Contemporary Media 1.1 [E]05
French Language, Culture and Contemporary Media 1.1  [E]05
Spanish Language, Culture and Contemporary Media 1.1  [E]05

Semester 2

Business Mathematics 205
Financial Accounting 205
Intermediate Business Technology05
Teambuilding and Communication Skills05
Introduction to Marketing05
Organisational Behaviour 2 (The Dynamics of Teams and Organisations) [E]05
German Language, Culture and Contemporary Media 1.2 [E]05
French Language, Culture and Contemporary Media 1.2  [E]05
Spanish Language, Culture and Contemporary Media 1.2 [E]05
Irish Business Environment [E]05

Semester 3

Digital Marketing05
Management Accounting 105
Introductory Microeconomics05
Business Law 105
Business Management 105
Marketing Research and Customer Care [E]05
German Language, Culture and Contemporary Media 2.1 [E]05
French Language, Culture and Contemporary Media 2.1  [E]05
Spanish Language, Culture and Contemporary Media 2.1 [E]05
European Business Environment [E]05

Semester 4

Management Accounting 205
Advanced Business Technology 05
Introductory Macroeconomics for Business 05
Business Law 205
Enterprise Development 05
European Union Policies and Institutions [E]05
Business Management 2 [E]05
German Language, Culture and Contemporary Media 2.2 [E]05
French Language, Culture & Contemporary Media 2.2  [E]05
Spanish Language, Culture and Contemporary Media 2.2 [E]05

[E] = Elective Module. Modules subject to availability.