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Posted: 07 March 2006

UCD CAO first preferences up by 10.42%

The publication of figures from this year’s Central Applications Office shows a considerable increase in the number of students applying for degree courses at UCD. Total applicants to UCD increased by 3.95% in a year when the total number of CAO applicants to honours degrees fell by 0.55% and, more significantly, UCD first preferences rose by 10.42%.

The main factor contributing to the upswing was the introduction of UCD Horizons, which involved a complete revision of the undergraduate curriculum and a restructuring of study into modules. Students now take 12 modules per year. They are free to take two of these modules from anywhere throughout the university (subject to timetable, class size and learning prerequisites). In its first year, some 40% of students chose modules outside their core subject area.

Consequently, core non-denominated areas such as Arts (DN012), Commerce (DN015) and Engineering (DN077) showed significant increases in their numbers of first preferences.

“This was the first real test of the public reaction to educational innovation at UCD, and we are very pleased that university students are attracted to an environment where we expect them to make choices and engage with and take control of their own learning” said Dr. Philip Nolan, Registrar and Deputy President at UCD, who has overall responsibility for the UCD Horizons curricular reform.

The introduction of modularisation also facilitated the introduction of a range of new degrees, many drawing from different disciplines. New degrees such as Geography, Planning and Environmental Policy (DN063), Law with History (DN060), Commerce with Chinese Studies (DN015) and Physics with Astronomy and Space Science (DN033) proved popular. The new nursing degrees in Midwifery (DN118) and Children’s & General (DN116) attracted significant interest, creating an overall increase in the number of applicants for nursing programmes.

Numbers applying for Medicine (DN002) fell slightly, which may be related to the proposals to introduce graduate-entry medical programmes. There were a large number of first preferences for the UCD’s pilot graduate entry route to Medicine (DN102) reflecting the broad interest in medicine among students with prior degrees.

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