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Posted: 21 August 2008

Few surprises as the points race rumbles on…

Despite commentary suggesting an economic downturn has influenced student choices in the CAO, Arts at UCD continues to attract considerable interest and the largest single entry code in the country, DN012, recorded a small increase in points from 345 to 350 in the first round offers for 2008.  Over the past four years we have seen a small but steady percentage increase in the number of students selecting the BA as their first preference.

Social Science – which recorded a phenomenal increase of 115% in first preferences this year, increased points from 370 to 390.  Psychology, with 75 places, increased to 500.

Business degrees showed good consistency with points in undenominated commerce holding steady at 455 and international commerce degrees all holding or increasing points.   Actuarial & financial studies (requiring a HB3 in maths) also held at 555 points and remains the joint second highest degree at UCD – along with veterinary medicine and just behind medicine.

Law fell slightly to 500 points but the suite of joint law degrees with subjects such as economics and politics retained or climbed in points.

Points are, to some degree, a consequence of supply and demand and the expansion of course availability can affect the entry level.  Architecture at UCD slipped 5 points to 525 this year and while this may be partially explained by future outlook on the construction section, it also has to be considered against the introduction of architecture at UCC, UL and Waterford IT in recent years.  Closer inspection shows that the established architecture schools at UCD and DIT are least affected by the 7% fall in first preferences nationally by comparison with the three new arrivals.

With almost 70 level-8 engineering entry degrees on offer throughout the country and a poorer performance at higher level maths in the Leaving Certificate, the general fall in points is hardly surprising.  The likely fall in civil engineering was flagged by a 31% fall in national first preferences for built environment courses but points also dropped in un-denominated engineering, electronic & electrical engineering and in mechanical engineering.  Only chemical/Bioprocessing engineering bucked the trend in any substantial way. 

Computer Science, which, unlike engineering, doesn’t require a higher level C in maths, saw an increase in points to 355 for the BSc and held steady at 300 for the BA.

Science, again the largest class of its kind in the country with 350 places, held steady with a small fall in points from 305 to 300, although the high-point denominated degrees in science had mixed fortunes.

Although numerically small, agriculture was expected to increase in points this year as the number of first preferences rose by over 10% and UCD is the only university to offer this suite of degrees.  With the exception of horticulture programmes, agricultural science degrees all increased in points.  The introduction of human nutrition (on 515 points) didn’t dent the performance of food science where the points leapt from 315 to 360.

With over 470 students giving their first preferences for the 70 places in veterinary medicine, points remained high and stand at 555 despite increased overseas competition.

Nationally, nursing first preferences fell by almost 7% so, although general nursing at UCD slipped to 355 points, this is still a good performance.  General & children’s nursing now stands at 460 points while midwifery climbed to 415 points. 

And finally, medicine: although first preferences fell slightly this year, points returned to 575.  Next year’s applicants will have to undergo a separate entrance examination for medicine but it remains to be seen if the results vary from the current high-point candidates.

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