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Posted 08 March 2010

UCD increases CAO first preferences by 5%

Physiotherapy and Science the strong performers

The 2010 CAO figures show that UCD continues to perform well, increasing first preferences by 5% to 7,878 in 2010 and demonstrating that Ireland’s largest university retains a stable 12.7% (12.8% in 2009) of the entire Level 8 undergraduate honours degree market and remains the most popular destination for new students.

This year, the big “winner” was physiotherapy, which experienced a national collapse in 2007, when the public health sector announced major cuts in employment. At UCD, physiotherapy increased its first preferences by 44% to 322 applicants, a significantly higher recovery than the national increase of 28%.

All of the healthcare degrees at UCD continued the healthy incline in first preferences. Medicine (including graduate entry) increased by 7.5% to 951 first preferences while nursing rose by 18.8% - well above the national increase of 6%.

Science at UCD continues to perform well above the national trend, which was up by 8.6%. The omnibus entry (DN008) rose by 28.2% to 355. This year UCD discontinued the BA entry into computing (DN050) and the largest denominated degree in science, Computer Science (DN030) increased first preferences by almost a third, demonstrating that overall interest in this discipline remains steady. So the number of graduates in the pipeline in this crucial area for the Smart Economy is, once again, looking strong.

Actuarial and Financial Studies (DN020), which is categorised as a science degree and is one of the highest points programmes, rose by almost 16% to 131 having experienced a fall in popularity over the past three years.

Within the suite of business degrees, those with languages – particularly Chinese – retained their popularity. Overall, Commerce first preferences fell by 4.5%.

With an increase of 4.3% to 120 first preferences, the BCL Law degree at UCD (DN009) bucked the national trend (which showed a fall of 7.1% in first preferences). The specialist Law-with history and with economics also performed well.

Social Science continues to be popular among CAO applicants, increasing first preferences by 8.3% to 234 this year.

Omnibus Arts (DN012) the largest course in the country, which takes in 1,200 students, fell by 40 applicants. This year, UCD introduced an option whereby applicants could pre-select 2 subjects under the omnibus code. Taking a look at the 2-subject preferences selected by students at this point in time, the top 10 combinations are: English and History, History and Politics & International Relations, Geography and History, English and Geography, English and Sociology, English and Philosophy, Geography and Sociology, Economics and Politics & International Relations, History and Sociology, Geography and Irish. If these applicants achieve the required points in their Leaving Cert they are now guaranteed places in each of these class combinations.

In the languages area, Spanish and French are the most popular, both within the omnibus Arts entry and under the denominated Modern Languages and Arts International entry routes.

The trend in Engineering at UCD is harder to interpret as this year the university reverted to a single entry rather than separate CAO codes for a suite of specialisations including civil, mechanical, electrical and electronic. The new, undenominated engineering (DN077) fell by 10% compared to the six CAO entry codes offered in 2009. 359 students gave engineering their first preference. The overall decline in engineering performance may be influenced by the slump in interest in construction and consequently, civil engineering. Unsurprisingly, architecture also experienced a fall in first preferences of 12.3%, reflecting the current – rather than the future – status of employment in this sector.

Nationally agriculture degrees fell by 4.7%. At UCD, where the suite of degrees has consistently proven popular, first preferences held with a small increase of 1.8%. Denominated entry routes performed well, particularly the Human Nutrition, which increased its first preferences by 17.3% to 95, and Engineering Technology, which attracts students interested in green technologies.

Veterinary Medicine, which is unique to UCD, continues to be very popular and first preferences are up 5.7%, although there was a small fall in graduate entry numbers for this degree. Veterinary nursing, introduced in 2009, showed very strong growth of over 36% to 309 first preferences.


(Produced by UCD University Relations)


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