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Posted 09 March 2015

UCD business, law, architecture, engineering and social science increase first preferences

First preference trends at UCD closely reflect the national trend with interest in business, law, architecture and engineering all increasing this year.

8,856 first preferences for UCD degrees

Business and law degrees at UCD, which include the BComm (DN650), BCL (DN600) and B&L (DN610) grew by 5% to almost 1,500 first preferences.  This growth builds on a 21% increase in January 2014 and reflects a return to confidence in the economy.  Economics & Finance, which is now joined by a stream in Quantitative Business (DN670), up 28% and pure Economics (DN510), up 67%, also showed strong increases in demand.

Engineering, which grew by 8% this time last year, is up a further 1.9% this year with 429 students opting for DN150, the common entry to engineering.  In 2010 UCD replaced seven denominated engineering courses into one common entry route. 

Structural Engineering with Architecture (DN140) increased first preferences this year by 23% while Architecture (DN100) is also up 4% to 186 first preferences.  Nationally, architecture and courses around the built environment have also increased in popularity.

International degrees in business and in arts fell this year.   However, almost 20% of UCD undergraduates now avail of Erasmus and exchange opportunities to spend some of their degree in an overseas partner university.

Social science (DN550) is also up by 12% but Arts, which includes the BA (DN500), fell by 8% to 2013 levels.

Science and agriculture – which have been on a very steep incline for the last number of years, both fell this year:  science by 14.7% and agriculture (including food science) by 17%.  Given first preferences have increased by 200% and 155% respectively since the introduction of UCD Horizons a decade ago, the fall this year was predicted.

Demand for Computer Science (DN201) has been growing year on year for the past decade and is down slightly (3.7%) this year. 

Nationally, demand for medicine is static, for physiotherapy and nursing is down and for other health care degrees is slightly up. The trends at UCD mirror the national trends with medicine (DN400) down 6% and radiography (DN410) up 9%.

UCD continues to reduce the number of entry routes to degrees – now down to 43 for school leavers - in an effort to guide students into pathways that allow them to specialise later in their studies rather than having to choose before they go to university.  This year, UCD dropped the denominated entry into philosophy and blended the Law with French Law into the BCL DN600 entry route.  The university also created a specific quantitative business (DN670) pathway with incorporates the Economics & Finance degree – again providing students with the opportunity to specialise later.

“It is not surprising that the trends at UCD reflect the national trends.”  Deputy President of UCD, Professor Mark Rogers commented.             

“However, I urge students to make their university choices based on their interests and aptitudes rather than on economic indicators.  It is worth remembering that the majority of graduates change jobs and career direction more frequently than their parents’ generation and so studying subjects that interest you at undergraduate level does not close doors or career paths later on.”

Over 6,000 students registered on CAO without stating course preferences.  They have a “change of mind window” between May and 1 July to complete their application and can list up to ten level eight and 10 levels 6/7 courses according to their preference.

“We see a trend in the number of students who postpone choosing their CAO preferences or change their minds after they sit their Leaving Certificate exams.  Consequently, we have extended our student advisory service so that they can access information and support right up to 1 July.”  Professor Rogers added.


(Produced by UCD University Relations)


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UCD business, law, architecture, engineering and social science increase first preferences
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