Skip navigation

University College Dublin Logo

Advanced Search

UCD News

Nuacht UCD

Posted 10 March 2009

UCD increases first preferences by 6% and holds first place in university sector - UCD medicine tops the league in first preference popularity

CAO figures just released show that UCD continues to be the destination of first choice among college applicants as UCD’s first preferences rose by 431 from 7,073 in 2008 to 7,504 this year. The number of applicants for level 8 degrees nationally increased by 4.4% while the UCD first preference rate of increase was 6.1%.

Overall, there were 3,766 extra applicants in the CAO system.  1,549 of these were mature students.  Most of the increase in UCD mature student first preferences was in degrees such as midwifery, children’s and general nursing and veterinary nursing.

The BA showed great resilience against the expected impact of the economic downturn, which was predicted to adversely affect general courses in favour of more vocational degrees in areas such as education and health.  Although the number of applicants for omnibus Arts was down 1.3% (47), the overall increase in BA degrees was 4%, up from 1,479 to 1,538.  The denominated flagship degree in English performed well, increasing by 65% and was further boosted by the introduction of a new degree in Drama & English.  Over 80 students gave their first preferences to these two denominated degrees.

In 2008 the restructured degree in Social Science increased by 150%.  This year the degree attracted 216 first preferences by comparison with 112 in 2007.

The big (and expected) “winner” this year is Medicine.  The undergraduate entry first preference application rose 46% from 504 in 2008 to 736 in 2009.  This can be directly related to the introduction of the Health Professions Admission Test (HPAT).  The graduate entry path to medicine also rose by 27% from 117 to 149.  In total, the number of students giving UCD their first preference grew by 42.5% while the national increase grew by 22%. 

Also within the human health sciences, radiography continued its upward trend and increased first preferences by 16.7%.  Physiotherapy, which suffered badly in 2007 and 2008, showed healthy recovery with a 16.1% increase in first preferences (up from 148 to 175) even though the national rate fell by 3.9%.

Nationally there was increased interest in science and at UCD the strong trend continued.  This year, first preferences in omnibus science increased by 21.5%, building on a 30% increase last year.  One science to watch is computer science which has stabilised.  Similarly, electronic engineering, another degree encouraged by industry but suffering for a number of years, has increased by 8% in first preferences.

The big losses at sectoral level were in the built environment area, engineering and architecture.  UCD application patterns reflect the sector as architecture dropped 17% and civil engineering dropped 27.7%. 

However, the omnibus entry to engineering increased first preferences by 9.4% continuing the steady trend over the past five years and reflecting a return in student choice for a broad introduction to engineering with options to specialise at a later stage in the degree.

Across the nursing degrees, UCD showed an increase in first preferences of 19.2% against a national trend of 12%.  General nursing and midwifery proved particularly popular among applicants.

Veterinary medicine increased first preferences by 10.6%.  UCD offers the only veterinary medicine degree in Ireland and now has US accreditation – an undoubted benefit.  This year UCD introduced a veterinary nursing degree replacing the direct entry diploma.  There was strong interest in this degree with 227 students giving it their first preferences.

Despite growing competition in the marketplace, omnibus agricultural science performed well with an increase of 28% in first preferences. 

First preferences in business degrees at UCD fell, although the numbers of students applying still far exceeds the number of class places.   First preferences in law plus a second subject increased but did not manage to offset the decrease in first preferences for the BCL.

>> More News and Events
<< Back to Home

UCD increases first preferences by 6% and holds first place in university sector - UCD medicine tops the league in first preference popularity