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UCD continues to be university of first choice in Ireland

Posted: March 09, 2018

UCD increases share of first preferences for level 8 degrees to 13.7%

Figures released by CAO for applications into level 8 degrees at the first closing date of 1 February 2018 show UCD has increased its share of first preferences to 13.7%, up from 13.3% on this date in 2017.  Some 8,577 out of 62,751 applicants placed UCD first on their CAO, compared with 8,687 out of 65,273 last year.

Nationally, applications for level 8 degrees are down 3.9% while first preferences for UCD degrees are down 1.3% at this point in time.

UCD offers 38 CAO pathways to undergraduate degrees and two graduate entry routes to Medicine, DN401 and Veterinary Medicine, DN301.

Below is an overview of the main degree programmes.  As in previous years, a significant proportion of applicants (6,084) have registered with CAO but have not yet listed their preferences so the final trend will change between now and the change-of-mind deadline of 1 July 2018.

Business & Law

DN600 Law shows an increase of 3.8% in first preferences over 2017.  Within this entry code students can opt to study for a BCL (Bachelor of Common Law) or a range of combination law degrees including Law & Social Justice, Law & Politics and Law with French Law.

DN610 Business & Law is up almost 18% in first preferences and DN650 Commerce is up almost 6%.

At this stage, first preferences for DN230 Actuarial & Financial Studies (577 points 2017) and DN670 Economics & Finance with points at 589 in 2017 are down.

This year UCD reformed its traditional BA single entry and small denominated single subject codes into a suite of 6 pathways.  These are more closely aligned to Arts & Humanities Bachelor of Arts and Social Sciences Bachelor of Science. The former Bachelor of Social Science is now a BSc in Social Policy & Sociology.

Arts & Humanities

A direct comparison with the former DN500 BA is not possible.  At 1 February 2018 the new DN520 Arts (2 subject) 3-year option has 469 first preferences.  The 4-year DN530 Humanities option has 136 first preferences and DN541 Modern Languages, which includes a year in an overseas university studying through the chosen language has 39 first preferences.

Social Sciences

As with Arts & Humanities, the new suite of Social Sciences degrees have evolved from the old BA options and a direct comparison with 2017 figures is not possible.  DN700 Social Sciences includes a 2 subject combination option and 4 pathways covering Philosophy, Politics & Economics; Computational Social Science, Landscapes & Society and Economics, Mathematics & Statistics.  As of 1 February there are 373 first preferences through this code. There remains a direct entry for single subject Economics through DN710 and for Psychology through DN720.

The BSocSci in Social Policy & Sociology is now listed under DN750 and has 84 first preferences.


DN100 Architecture shows an increase in 14.1% in first preferences to 226.


DN150 Engineering shows an increase of 2.8% in first preferences and takes 260 students in through this single-entry route with options to specialise in eight areas such as civil, biomedical and electronic engineering from second year.


DN200 Science is also a single entry route taking in around 400 students with specialisms along three pathways: Biological, biomedical and biomolecular; chemistry and chemical; and mathematical, physical and geological.  First preferences are slightly up (1.3%) at this point in time.

Within DN200 is a dedicated degree for physics and maths education that integrates teaching experience placements at secondary level into the course.  

Computer Science

DN201 Computer Science has 238 first preferences and offers students the option to follow a data science pathway.  UCD takes in over 100 students into computer science.


DN250 Agricultural Science includes routes into a range of pathways including animal & crop production, and food & agribusiness management.  First preferences at this point in time are 274.

DN262 Human Nutrition continues to attract strong numbers with over 100 students listing it as their first preference.  

Human Health

Student interest in across the healthcare professions (medicine, physiotherapy, radiography, nursing) remains strong and on par with last year.

Veterinary Science

First preferences for DN300 Veterinary Medicine and DN310 Veterinary Nursing are down on this time last year.

By: Eilis O'Brien, UCD University Relations