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UCD continues to be university of first choice with 8,685 CAO first preferences

Figures published for CAO applications for the first date deadline of 1 February show UCD remains the university-of-first-choice in Ireland with 8,685 first preferences.

Overall, UCD attracted 13.3% of first preferences and compared this time last year, the figure is down by 2.7% or 239 applications.  

The percentage of students who apply to the CAO but do not specify their course choice until the final 1 July deadline date is circa 8.5% (over 6,000) and a clearer picture of student preferences will emerge after that date.

Looking at the UCD figures, some of the larger programmes including Science and Engineering are slightly down after sustained growth over the previous decade.  Computer Science, Radiography and Veterinary Sciences remain robustly strong, while Medicine and Business & Law have seen an increase in first preferences.

This year UCD removed eight entry codes from the CAO handbook, reducing the number of entry codes to 41.   

Arts & Humanities

The BA common entry DN500 remains static but some of the denominated degrees, such BA International Languages DN541 have fallen.  The removal of one of the denominated English routes (English & Drama DN515) may have contributed to the overall fall of 5% across the Arts & Humanities degrees.

Social Sciences

First preference applications for Social Science DN550 have fallen by 12.9% while DN519 Psychology remains static.

Health Sciences

Medicine and Veterinary Medicine degrees are up on last year.  Radiography is also up while Physiotherapy is down.  Nursing degrees are up but these figures may be affected by the removal of the direct mature entry routes.

Business & Law Degrees

DN610, which saw a fall last year has recovered to 2015 levels with 252 first preferences.  Conversely, Commerce DN650 and Commerce International DN660 both fell by over 10%.

Law, the BCL degree DN600, experienced a large increase of 29% last year and has fallen back by 7.9% to 314; still considerably higher than first preferences in 2015.

Agriculture and Food Science Degrees

The Agriculture & Food Science degrees, including Human Nutrition (DN262) and Agricultural Science (DN250) also experienced a fall in first preferences of 4.5%.


The big increase experienced last year (21.5%) for Architecture (DN100) fell back somewhat this year, to 197 first preferences (down from a high of 212 in 2016).  The figure is remains above 2015 levels.    Places for Architecture at UCD are based solely on Leaving Certificate performance and do not include a portfolio submission.