Frequently Asked Questions on Science, Computer Science and BAFS


Who can I contact if I have any questions?

Students with questions on DN200 Science, DN201 Computer Science or DN230 Actuarial and Financial Studies can contact Dr Orla Donoghue at or by telephone at 01 7162311, or Mr Gary Dunne at or by telephone at 017162637.

DN200 Science

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Students begin module registration in early September depending on their alloted registration start time. For details of the key dates as well as an explanation of Start Times, please visit the UCD Registry website. Students choose their modules during UCD Registration in order to fulfil the first year requirements for the subjects that interest them most. Students will receive important academic advice from Assoc Prof Evelyn Doylr during orientation, as well as the opportunity to speak to academics from all areas in Science.

Students should read the information in UCD Science Stage 1 Guide 2017/2018 (PDF) for further details. 

Yes. The first year would be the same as for all mathematical subjects in DN200 (Mathematics, Applied and Computational Mathematics, Statistics and Financial Mathematics.)

The Financial Mathematics degree is primarily a degree in mathematics and statistics, with some economics and finance included. This degree will give you an understanding of the mathematical and statistical theories that underpin financial models, as well as computational mathematical expertise in the algorithms that price financial products.

The Financial Mathematics degree leaves open many career options, including the financial sector (e.g. as a quant) and also all other careers open to mathematics and statistics graduates. The BAFS degree is a degree targeted towards qualification as a actuary, and includes the underlying mathematics and statistics needed for the study and calculation of actuarial risk in various contexts. This degree also has courses in finance and prepares students for jobs in the financial services. The difference is that Financial Mathematics is mostly mathematics and statistics, and BAFS is mostly actuarial science. There is some overlap.

You can compare both pathways as follows:

Download the Financial Mathematics Degree and Career Pathway (pdf)

Download the Actuarial & Financial Studies Degree and Career Pathway (pdf)

UCD Science is taught in our new world-class O'Brien Centre for Science. This world class facility is the largest capital investment in science in the history of the Irish State and has state-of-the-art laboratories, active learning environments and classrooms as well as upgraded lecture theatres. If you would like a tour of the new Centre with a current student, please contact Gary Dunne at

No. The DN200 Science course is a Level 8 BSc Honours degree of four years. Students enter by a single route and graduate with a BSc Honours degree in one of 26 different subjects, for example, BSc (Honours) Theoretical Physics, BSc (Honours) Mathematics, BSc (Honours) Chemistry.

Students who do not meet the required academic standard after three years can graduate with a Level 8 BSc (General Science) degree with a specialism in a specific subject area or areas.

No. The common entry does not mean that all students take a common first year. The following streams are available within DN200 Science:

  • Biological, Biomedical and Biomolecular Sciences (BBB)
  • Chemistry and Chemical Sciences (CCS)
  • Mathematical, Physical and Geological Sciences (MPG)
  • No Preference (NPF)

The advantage of a common entry course is that you can choose to specialise from first year or you can leave your options open. Each stream has a set number of compulsory modules you must take in first year in order to pursue a subject or group of subjects in second year and to degree level. The number of compulsory modules has been kept low to allow you the option to try out other subjects that you may not be familiar with or to deepen your interest in the areas that you wish to pursue to degree level.

When you select DN200, you are prompted to click the 'Select DN200 Subject Choice' button. When you click this button, you can make one of the following selections from the drop-down list:

  • DN200 – No Preference (NPF) 
  • DN200 – Biological, Biomedical and Biomolecular Sciences (BBB)
  • DN200 – Chemistry and Chemical Sciences (CCS)
  • DN200 – Mathematical, Physical and Geological Sciences (MPG)

You can change your mind when you arrive at UCD.

If you are interested in more than one stream or are unsure of which area to specialise in, the DN200 – No Preference option allows you to sample a range of subjects in the first semester and explore your options before deciding on an area of study.

DN200 is one course which means you can only put it down on your CAO form once.

No. Our Mathematics modules follow on from the new Leaving Certificate syllabus and are pitched appropriately. We recommend that students interested in studying any of our Mathematics or Physics degrees take Higher Level Leaving Certificate Mathematics.

For students who decide not to take Higher Level Leaving Certificate Mathematics and are interested in a degree in any of our Biology, Chemistry or Geology subjects, we have tailored first year Mathematics modules for those subjects.

In addition, students who did not achieve a minimum grade O2 or H5 in Leaving Certificate Mathematics (GCSE; Grade A, A Level; Grade D) must take an introductory Mathematics module. We have pitched our Mathematics modules at the appropriate level for each degree, with just the right amount of challenge.

Yes. You can focus your studies on all the Mathematics and Physics modules in first year that are required for you to pursue Theoretical Physics in second year and beyond. 

Yes. You can study a range of Mathematics, Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics modules in first year. All students must also study a module called Principles of Scientific Enquiry, which you can take in a Mathematical discipline.

There is no way of knowing what the minimum CAO points of entry will be for DN200 Science at UCD for entry 2018. There is no back door way into any of our degree courses. All alternative entry routes are competitive and there is no guarantee of a place. Information on transfer mechanisms, alternative entry and progression routes can be found at the following links:

Progression route via Level 6/7 HETAC course

QQI-FET Level 5 routes

Transfer Applicant from a course in UCD or from Another Institution

Yes. You can select another option within DN200 on arrival at UCD. We guarantee all students they can choose one of the following areas of study, regardless of the area selected on the CAO:

  • Biological, Biomedical and Biomolecular Sciences (BBB)
  • Chemistry and Chemical Sciences (CCS)
  • Mathematical, Physical and Geological Sciences (MPG) 

First Year is also referred to as Stage 1. For detailed information on the modules available and the subject choices within DN200 Science in first year, download UCD Science Stage 1 Guide 2017/2018 (PDF)

The Associate Dean of Science Dr Tasman Crowe will explain to all first years how they select their subject choices in second year. You can only pursue a subject in second year if you have taken the modules required for that subject in first year. To read more about the information given to our current first years, download Slides presented at Slides from Assoc Prof Tasman Crowe's Pre-Stage 2 Advisory Talk 15 February 2017 (pdf). This is a guide only and is subject to change.

Yes. If you select DN200 Science – Biological, Biomedical and Biomolecular Sciences on your CAO form, you can also select subjects outside this group. When you register in September at UCD, you can also select Chemistry from the subject list.

There is some overlap between the core Chemistry and Maths modules required for both the Biological, Biomedical and Biomolecular Sciences stream and the Chemistry and Chemical Sciences stream.

You just need to ensure that you cover the core modules required for the Biological, Biomedical and Biomolecular Sciences stream and for the subject of Chemistry.

Yes. You are at no disadvantage choosing DN200 Science - No Preference (NPF) and you are guaranteed your chosen subject stream from one of the following for your second semester:

  1. Biological, Biomedical and Biomolecular Sciences (BBB)
  2. Chemistry and Chemical Sciences (CCS)
  3. Mathematical, Physical and Geological Sciences (MPG) 

There are no capacity issues in first year for core modules associated with all subject streams. 

Most first year Science students will take the module SCI10010 - Principles of Scientific Enquiry. Students are assigned to an academic mentor as part of this module. Working in small groups, students in conjunction with their academic mentor will identify a scientific problem, research the literature and produce a review. The work will develop students independent study skills. Using a project-based approach; students will learn communication and presentation skills, methods of sourcing scientific information, scientific writing and analysis.

Formal direction on teamwork, communication, presenting, sourcing and appraising information, scientific reading and writing, and critical thinking will be central to this module. 

No. DN200 Science is a common entry programme. The minimum CAO points will be the same whether you choose the Biological, Biomedical and Biomolecular Sciences (BBB), Chemistry and Chemical Sciences (CCS), Mathematical, Physical and Geological Sciences (MPG) or No Preference (NPF). The minimum CAO for entry 2016 were 510.

No. None of the subjects offered through DN200 are available in a denominated programme for entry 2017. The denominated programmes within Science at UCD are DN201 - Computer Science and DN230 - Actuarial and Financial Studies. 

Regardless of what area you select on your CAO form, you will be able to study subjects from other areas by selecting the relevant modules at registration. So you could choose DN200 - No Preference (NPF) but you could also choose DN200 – Biological, Biomedical, Biomolecular Sciences (BBB) and then select your Geology modules. You can study the subjects required to pursue a degree in both a biological subject and geology in first year. This will give you the opportunity to sample both before deciding which subject area you would like to pursue to degree level. Depending on your first year module choices, you should be able to study both a biological subject and geology in Semester 1 of second year but by the end of second year, you will be in your major subject. 

Students in Science DN200 study two elective modules each year for the first three years. You may take elective modules outside of your main field of study. All degree programmes in UCD offer places in modules for students from other areas of study. Sometimes these are specifically designed modules. More commonly, places in subject-specific modules are reserved for students interested in taking these modules as electives.

We cannot guarantee places in any elective module. This can be due to a timetable clash or the fact that the module is full.

We offer a lot of choice within Science and as such each student’s timetable is different so their main area of study will always take precedence over any elective choices.

Over the course of your degree you can take 6 elective modules but they do not add up to a minor in the subject. A BSc student graduates with a major in a specific area of science and it is not an option to graduate with a minor in another area of study.

All modules taken while in the university, including elective modules, will appear on your university transcript. 

The Entry Requirements page on the MyUCD web page details the specific subject requirements for each undergraduate degree at UCD.

The DN200 - No Preference (NPF) option allows you to explore a number of different area before deciding on a specific area of study for your degree. In your first semester, you can try out a range of subjects before deciding on the broad area you would like to pursue in second year. For example, you could try Physics, Biology, Maths and Chemistry and then decide to study within the biological disciplines. We also run a number of advisory sessions to help you choose the area that’s best for you. 

Yes. If you are unsure which area you want to study, you can select DN200 - No Preference (NPF) and decide on an area once you arrive in UCD. If you select one area on your CAO (for example, DN200 Biological, Biomedical and Biomolecular Sciences (BBB) or DN200 Chemistry and Chemical Sciences (CCS) or DN200 Mathematical, Physical and Geological Sciences (MPG)) and then change your mind, you will be able to change your area of study once you arrive in UCD.

We guarantee that in first year you can study the modules you need to pursue Neuroscience in second year. You are guaranteed the subjects you want to study in Second Year, assuming you have fulfilled the requirements for that subject in First Year. So, you are guaranteed that you can study Neuroscience in Second Year. Students must select a minimum of three subjects in Second Year if they want to stay within the Biological, Biomedical and Biomolecular Science (BBB) stream.  Allocation of some subjects to degree level, such as Neuroscience, for Third Year is competitive and is based on academic performance. 

This will vary depending on your chosen subject or subject stream. You will need to specify at least one subject stream at the end of first year and will have to make you final choice of major within your second year.

We run an introductory module in Chemistry for all students who have not achieved a minimum of a C3 in Leaving Certificate Honours Chemistry. 

We recognise that many of our students have taken Ordinary Level Mathematics. For DN200, you require a minimum of a 03 in Ordinary Level Mathematics (Please note that from 2019 the Mathematics requirement will be O2/H6).

We run an introductory module in Mathematics for all students who do not achieve a minimum grade of 02 or H5 in Leaving Certificate Mathematics. 

In addition we provide a free Mathematics Support Centre, which is run by experienced tutors to help students who are having any difficulties with Mathematics.

DN201 Computer Science 

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No. The DN201 Computer Science course is mainly a software engineering degree and is suitable for students with or without previous programming experience. There is no assumption that students have prior programming experience and all students will take introductory programming modules in first year. 

DN230 Actuarial and Financial Studies

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Should you achieve a sufficiently high standard in the degree, you’ll gain some (or all) exemptions from the Core Technical series examinations (CT1:8) as well as the Core Applications CA1 examination of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. The degree offers the maximum exemptions from the Core Technical and Core Application exams and is designed for students interested in becoming actuaries. 

Yes. DN230 Actuarial and Financial Studies offer a professional work placement in third year that is integrated as part of the course in a financial institution or insurance company and equates to half the year’s work.