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CAO Round 1 2021: Points for all UCD degrees rise in line with higher Leaving Certificate points

Posted 7 September, 2021

University College Dublin Round 1 offers across all degrees command higher points this year compared with final round 2020, in line with the higher Leaving Certificate points for 2021.

With entry to UCD on average 40 points higher than last year’s final round level, the highest increase is in the Arts and Humanities where points have increased by 71 for DN520 BA Joint Honours (now 381) and DN530 Humanities (now 397). DN240 Sustainability, which was introduced in 2020, increased by 70 points to 510, despite 35 extra places on this degree being added by the University.

In July (link), the University flagged its intention to respond to the large increase in applications and has now confirmed that, between HCI (Human Capital Initiative) and other additional places, UCD is adding in excess of 300 places over the 2019 figure. This year, the University will admit 4,476 first year undergraduates.

“With Government support, we will increase our faculty and technical staff by up to 28 to cater for the higher number of students.” Professor Mark Rogers, UCD Deputy President and Registrar confirmed.

“As with last year, the combination of increased applicants in the CAO system and the high Leaving Cert grades has put pressure on entry points. We had some increases in deferred, mature and QQI-FET applications and places for these groups were offered in earlier CAO rounds. Although we saw an increase in applications from other EU countries, we do not expect these to translate into sizeable numbers of fulltime students.”

Speaking about this year’s first years, Professor Rogers said: “We are acutely conscious of the difficult time many school leavers have had and we have extra learning and personal supports in place for them.

"I am greatly relieved that with the support of our faculty and staff we can hold in-person classes, albeit under COVID-19 public health rules. I believe that students need and desire the social interaction of a campus environment. And while they have shown great determination in the grades they have achieved to get here, their university journey needs to be among people who share their ideas and inspire them to fulfil their potential.”

Looking at allocation of offers by student preference for UCD degrees it is reassuring that the trend remains stable. Students are as likely to receive a top three preference offer this year as last.

This year, 77% of applicants will receive an offer from on of their top three preferences. Last year this figure was 76.60%.

Offers 2021 2020
1st Preference 49.60% 51.30%
2nd Preference 18% 15.40%
3rd Preference 9.40% 9.90%
Total 77% 76.60%

Five degrees requiring over 600 points for Round 1 offers: DN230 Actuarial and Financial Studies, DN300 Veterinary Medicine, DN420 Physiotherapy, DN440 Biomedical, Health & Life Sciences, and DN670 Economics & Finance. Economics and Finance is the highest point degree at 625*. The class has 50 CAO places.

Due to class size restrictions for clinical placements, a number of healthcare degrees will be offered using the random selection process in Round 1. (see table below)

Other high point degrees with strong demand for places will also use random selection for Round 1. These include DN150 Engineering, DN230 Actuarial & Financial Studies, and DN670 Economics & Finance.

The University stressed that it always seeks to avoid random selection but in these degrees, the large number of applicants on the cut-off point made it unavoidable when allocating against planned intake.

Commenting on the high point issue, Professor Rogers said: “The level of achievement reported in this year’s Leaving Certificate places means that points have increased across our programmes. 

"While we are delighted for students, it is not a sustainable position that entry to our degrees should require achievement of greater than 600 points and in one case, achieving the maximum points possible in the leaving certificate does not guarantee students a place in their course of choice.”

This year UCD combined a number of agricultural science courses under a single entry: DN250 Agricultural Science and students will have the option to specialise in agriculture, dairy business, agri-environmental science, crop science, horticulture and forestry at a later stage in their studies.

With this amalgamation, it is not possible to make year on year comparisons. The points for Round 1 are 454.

CAO Code Course Round 1, 2021 Random Final, 2020 Random
DN100 Architecture  555   510  
DN120 Landscape Architecture   463   407  
DN130 City Planning & Environ Policy 445   390  
DN150 Engineering   565 * 520 *
DN200 Science    577   533  
DN201 Computer Science 554   510  
DN230 Actuarial and Financial Studies   613 * 601  
DN240 Sustainability 510   440  
DN250 Agricultural Science  454   453  
DN261 Food Science  531   476 *
DN262 Human Nutrition   566   531  
DN300 Veterinary Medicine (Undergraduate Entry)  601 * 589  
DN301 Veterinary Medicine (Graduate Entry)  --   --  
DN310 Veterinary Nursing  521   466 *
DN400 Medicine (Undergraduate Entry) 743 * 736 *
DN401 Medicine (Graduate Entry) 61 * 58 *
DN410 Radiography   566 * 531 *
DN411 Radiography  (Graduate Entry) --   --  
DN420 Physiotherapy   601 * 568  
DN425 Health & Performance Science 544   507  
DN430 Sport and Exercise Management  484   433  
DN440 Biomedical, Health and Life Sciences 613 * 589 *
DN450 General Nursing 462 * 421  
DN451 Children’s & General Nursing (Integrated) 533   499  
DN452 Midwifery   510   473  
DN453 Mental Health Nursing 442   393  
DN520 BA Joint Honours 381   310  
DN530 Humanities 397   326  
DN541 Modern Languages 320   300  
DN600 lAW 576   543 *
DN610 Business and Law  573   544  
DN650 Commerce   555   521 *
DN660 Commerce International   555   510 *
DN670 Economics and Finance 625 * 613  
DN700 Social Sciences 475   418  
DN710 Economics 534   498 *
DN720 Psychology 566   522 *
DN750 Social Policy and Sociology 421   377  

Round 2 offers will be published on 20 September 2021.  

By Eilis O'Brien, UCD University Relations