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Posted: 18 December 2007I

UCD Academic Council Executive approves new admission route for undergraduate medicine in 2009

The UCD Academic council has joined the three universities with undergraduate medical schools, (TCD, UCC, NUI Galway) along with RCSI, in giving approval for a new admission route for undergraduate students which adds a new additional test dimension to the traditional Leaving Certificate entry route.

Under this national agreement, which was initially proposed by the Minister for Education and Science, Ms Mary Hanafin, TD, there will be a formula for combining the results of the admission test and the Leaving Certificate to create a new admission route to undergraduate medicine.

A threshold of 480 points will be required for qualification and Leaving Certificate points up to 550 will count as normal. Above this level, each band of 5 points will be given 1 each point so, for example, a student with 555 points will be credited with 551, a student with 560 points will be credited with 552. The maximum Leaving Certificate point score will translate to 560.

The admission test will have a maximum score of 280 and the students’ marks will be combined out of a total achievable mark of 840 – giving a Leaving Cert to Admission Test ratio of 2:1.

Commenting on the new admission route Professor Bill Powderly, Dean of Medicine stressed the importance of the design of the new test. “It is crucial that the test measures the student’s ability rather than prepared learning. We wish to avoid a situation whereby scores could be improved through repeated testing and grind courses.” The admission test has yet to be selected and will be chosen through an international tender process. It will examine mental ability, reasoning, personal skills and professional attributes.

It is likely that the first admission test will take place during the early part of 2009 for entry in September 2009. However, the timing of the test may have to converge with an annual international timetable.

In recent years, the cap on undergraduate medical places for Irish/EU students was raised from 305 to 485, spread across the four university medical schools and Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

Under this new provision the number of places available at UCD for Irish/EU students has risen from the original 108 to 122 .

On the graduate entry programme, the Irish Universities Medical Consortium (comprising UCD, UCC and NUI Galway) recently received funding and approval from the Higher Education Authority (HEA) for a further 115 graduate places for Irish/EU students.

Most of these students will come from the Irish university sector and in addition to a strong undergraduate degree, (2.1 honours) in any discipline, applicants will sit the Graduate Medical Schools Admission Test.

Starting in 2008 the IUMC will offer 40 places to graduate entrants: 20 at UCD and 20 at UCC. By 2009 the number will rise to 57 at UCD and 29 at UCC with a further 29 places coming on stream at NUI Galway in 2010.

The annual fee set for graduate entrants is €25,000 but the Irish Government, through the HEA, is to fund €13,000 per annum.

When both the undergraduate and graduate entry routes come fully on stream the annual intake to medicine for Irish/EU students will be 725. UCD will be responsible for the medical education of 179 (just under 25%) of these students.

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UCD Academic Council Executive approves new admission route for undergraduate medicine in 2009