Skip navigation

University College Dublin Logo

Advanced Search

UCD News

Nuacht UCD

Posted 18 August 2014

Widespread Increase in UCD First Round Points

First round points on two-thirds of the degree courses at University College Dublin have increased over the final round points in 2013, reflecting the continuing rise in first preferences for places at UCD.

UCD first preferences broke through the 9,000 mark for the first time in January and increased by 8.4% over 2013.  At the change of mind deadline of 1 July, UCD recorded a further increase of 1.17% to a record level of 9,327.  The increase year-on-year is 4.6%, and is well above the 2.2% increase in the number of applicants for level 8 degrees nationally.

The impact of this increase in first preferences is a major factor in the rising points for 29 out of 45 UCD courses.  When the 25 bonus points for honours maths were introduced two years ago, there was a corresponding increase across 17 UCD courses.  This year the points increases are more modest with most rising by 20 or less. 


The big climbers are Architecture (DN100) up 40 from 450 to 490, Structural Engineering & Architecture (DN140) up 55 from 400 to 455 reflecting the national bounce back in construction and related industries.  UCD accounts for 33% of all architecture applications in Ireland.

Horticulture & Agri-environment

Horticulture & Agri Environment (DN272) is the highest climbing course with points up 70 from 325 to 395. 

Science, Engineering & Computing

UCD has commanded the highest points in open entry engineering and computer science across the higher education sector for a number of years and this year the points for engineering (DN150) rose by 20 to 495 while the points for computer science (DN201) remain static at 470 as the number of places has been increased by 35 to 105. 

The continued popularity of science (DN200) sees its points rise to 515 - the highest common entry science entry degree in Ireland.  UCD will admit 400 students to this degree in September and students will choose their specialist subjects in subsequent years. 

The capability of these three degrees to now attract very high calibre students will be a welcome trend to Government whose national strategy is to encourage these highly productive sectors of the economy.

Business, Finance & Law

Demand for business and law degrees is particularly strong this year.  First preferences for Commerce (DN650) rose by over 18% and first round points are up 15 to 490.  International Commerce (DN660) first preferences rose by 14% and points are up to 510.  Business & Law (DN610), which admits 120 students, grew by 21% and points are up to 520.  First preferences for Economics & Finance (DN671) rose by 39% pushing points up to 580, ahead of Actuarial & Financial Studies (DN230) which remains at 560 points.

Arts & Social Science

The BA open entry degree, DN500, is the largest single degree programme in Ireland (with an intake of over 1,200) and this year has increased first preferences by over 10% after several years of flat or declining numbers.  Final round points last year were 335 and have gone up by 5 in this year’s round 1.  Points movements for the small, denominated Arts courses are mixed.  Psychology (DN519) is up 10 from 505 to 515.  First preference applications for Social Science (DN550) fell by 17% this year and the points for round 1 are down 4 to 405.

Health Sciences

As predicted, points for undergraduate entry to medicine (DN400) are down from 747 to 733 and take into account the impact of the HPAT changes.  Graduate entry to medicine (DN401) remains static.  Other health professions have increased with radiography (DN410) rising 20 points to 550 and physiotherapy (DN420) climbing to 555 points.  Other non-professional health sciences are static or up in points.  Points for nursing vary according to specialism.  Veterinary Medicine (DN300) is back up to 580 points and alongside Economics & Finance is the highest point course at UCD.

Agriculture & Food

Degrees in this category have increased in popularity exponentially over the past 10 years (by 267%). Food Science (DN261) and Human Nutrition (DN262) continue to command the highest points at 490 and 530. Agricultural Science (DN250) has risen 10 points to 465.


Commenting on the trends, the Deputy President of UCD, Professor Mark Rogers said

“I am delighted with the trends in this year’s offers to students.  The continuing growth in demand for our courses and the increases in the CAO points required for many of them once again demonstrate that UCD is the university of first choice for Irish students.  We are delighted that so many high achieving students will come to UCD in the coming weeks.

However, we are also concerned that the continuing and growing pressure to attain ever high CAO points further drives students make strategic choices in their subjects in school rather than focusing on subjects that interest and inspire them to study and learn”.

Professor Rogers also commented on the wider debate surrounding the points race and the need to address fundamentally the relationship between the senior cycle, leaving certificate, and selection and transition to university.

“The purpose of the leaving certificate is to provide an opportunity for school leavers to demonstrate the knowledge and learning that they have achieved during their time in school and these achievements should be deservedly praised.  It is not about providing a mechanism for universities and colleges to select students for their courses.

However, the relationship between leaving cert achievement and the use of those grades as a mechanism for entry to university does not have to be a simple translation into an aggregate score of performance.  Other factors could to be considered. For example, looking at how we can encourage students to take higher level syllabi as we consider students who have taken on this challenge may be better prepared for university learning.

The IUA process, headed up by the president of NUI Maynooth, Professor Philip Nolan, is attempting to come up with fair and equitable options for reform of the entry process that will try and reduce the negative consequences of our current selection system on the second level. 

In order to “chase college points” some students select their leaving cert subjects on the basis of what points they believe they can attain rather than on where their interests lie or on what they might learn.  The points rather than the learning become the “end”.  Simplifying the subject requirements for students entering university would provide greater opportunities for our 15, 16 and 17 year olds to take on the subjects in schools that truly interest them, without feeling that they have closed off their options for university.

Personally, I am on record as questioning the validity of having hundreds of CAO entry codes for level 8 degrees.  Each year the number continues to grow and it is now approaching the 1,000 mark.  By comparison, in the past three years, UCD has reduced its CAO routes for school leavers from 56 to 45 and I believe this could be further reduced.  By broadening the entry routes and reducing the number of CAO codes we are being fairer to a wider number of students.”


(Produced by UCD University Relations)


>> More News and Events
<< Back to Home

Widespread Increase in UCD First Round Points
Share this story...