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Posted 09 March 2012

CAO first preference figures rise 10.8% at UCD

UCD remains most popular university in Ireland

With a 10.8% climb in first preferences over 2011, UCD has reached a milestone of 8,385 first preferences, an increase of a record 818 extra students putting the university first on their CAO forms by the 31 January deadline.

The increase in first preferences is across all subject areas with very strong demand in medicine, veterinary medicine, economics & finance, commerce international, science and computer science.

“These figures demonstrate a very positive trend towards UCD among CAO applicants.” Deputy -president and registrar, Professor Mark Rogers commented.  “Many commentators have pointed to the opportunities in the economy for graduates from high tech degrees but students entering UCD next September won’t be graduating for three or more years and the broad range of courses with increased first preferences reflects a more general sense of optimism for the future by these students.”

2012 is another bumper year for Computer science (DN201) and Engineering (DN150) at UCD as first preferences increase by 44% and 10% respectively, even though the national demand for level 8 engineering and technology courses is fairly static. 

Computer science first preferences rose to 215, a three-fold increase on the 77 first preferences in 2010. Engineering at UCD is common entry with students choosing to specialise later in their degrees. 

After a number of difficult years, Architecture (DN100), Landscape architecture (DN120) and Structural engineering & architecture (DN140), have stabilised, perhaps reflecting a fresh sense of optimism in the economic future.

Last year, demand for Agricultural science (DN250) and related degrees increased by 13.4%, reflecting the strong performance of this economic sector.  This year, demand at UCD is again strong, with an increase of almost 14%.  The only exception in this trend is Horticulture (DN272), which now has competition from two other colleges.

Nationally, demand for Science degrees has grown by over 16%.  This trend began at UCD a number of years ago and with first preferences increasing to 513 for DN200 the number of first preferences is up 15% in 2012.

Not surprisingly, health professions continue to be in high demand.  Both school-leaver entry (DN400) and graduate entry (DN401) medicine are up in first preferences. 

Despite the high Leaving Cert points last year, nursing (non-mature applicants) continues to be popular with an increase of 6% in first preferences to 435.

Diagnostic imaging is a growth area in Ireland and internationally so it is no surprise that first preferences in radiography (DN410) continue on their upward trend. 

Physiotherapy (DN420) also showed strong interest with first preferences up 5%, against a national trend of a 5% fall.

Other health-related degrees continue to be popular. 

Biomedical, health & life sciences (DN440) was up 98% to 81 first preferences and health & performance science (DN425) was up 24%.

Veterinary medicine (DN300) has seen another rise in first preferences (17%).   Similarly, Veterinary nursing (DN310) has climbed to over 400 first preferences, an increase of 14% on 2011.

Arts at UCD (DN500), the largest single entry code in the country with a choice of 27 subjects, has stabilised after a fall in first preferences last year.  Some 785 students applied for this entry as a first preference.   Individual denominated subjects in Arts vary year on year, but interest in the suite of English degrees incorporating drama and film remains high.

Psychology (DN519) is also up 8% in first preferences, while Social science (DN550) is up over 13%.

Economics & finance (DN671), which is offered through the UCD Quinn Business School, had an increase of almost 85% in first preferences.  Commerce international (DN660) also showed an increase to 240 first preferences and may account for the fall in Commerce first preferences, which are still well over 400.

First preferences for Law (DN600) increased by 5% and first preferences for Business & law (DN610), while down 6%, are still well over 200. Actuarial & financial studies (DN230) which is offered through the UCD College of Science as it is primarily mathematically based, is showing signs of recovery from last year with a 20% increase in first preferences.

(Produced by UCD University Relations)


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