Confidence in the economy reflected in increased points at UCD for business, law and engineering degrees
First round points on 26 of the degree courses (54%) at University College Dublin have increased over final round points in 2014 with the largest increases occurring in engineering and technology-related courses, as well as in financial, business and law degrees.
The minimum entry requirement for Quantitative Business (DN670) has risen to 590 points.
Engineering has climbed to 510 points.
Engineering & Computing
Points for Engineering (DN150) have risen again by 20 over final round offers in the previous year. This year, almost 250 students on 510 points or more will receive first round offers. UCD's common entry route lets students specialise in later years in a range of areas including electronic, energy or biomedical engineering as well as in the traditional civil and mechanical engineering. UCD continues to command the highest points for engineering degrees in Ireland.
Computer Science (DN201) has risen by 5 points to 475. Last year UCD increased the class size by 50% to 105 places as both demand and calibre continues to grow year on year.
Science at UCD takes 400 CAO students into common entry DN200. Last year the minimum points were 515. This year points have dropped slightly to 510 points – and remain the joint highest minimum entry points in Ireland. The high calibre of students entering the science programme reflects the widespread popularity of science be it for a career in science or as valuable undergraduate degree in its own right.
Business, Finance & Law
Building on growing public confidence in the economy from the previous year, business and law degrees at UCD saw an overall increase in first preferences this year and correspondingly, points across all of these degrees have increased by between 5 and 15 points. The largest business course, the BComm, takes in 235 CAO students and first round points are now 500.
Commerce International (DN660) has risen 5 to 515, Law BCL (DN600) has risen by 10 to 520, Business & Law (DN610) has risen by 15 to 530 and Actuarial & Financial Studies (DN230) has risen by 15 to 575.
Quantitative Business, which incorporates the Economics & Finance degree, now requires a minimum 590 points and is the highest entry degree at UCD.
Agriculture & Food
There had been an expectation that points for agriculture and food degrees would fall as first preferences were down on 2014 levels. However, the largest course – Agricultural Science (DN250), which has 140 CAO places, has risen by 5 points to 470 and Animal Science (DN251) is up 20 points to 445. The highest point course in this category – Human Nutrition (DN262) remains at 525 and Food Science (DN261) is down by 5 points to 485. Horticulture & Agri-Environment (DN272) is up 20 points to 410.
The international success of the Irish agri-business sector undoubtedly is a factor in the continuing demand for these degrees and the rising calibre of entrants over the past number of years. Examples of this success include the recent announcement that China is to open its market to Irish beef, making Ireland the first European country to have its beef ban lifted in China.
Points for Architecture (DN100) increased last year after a period of declining and this year remain at 490. Landscape Architecture (DN120) saw an increase of 40 points from 330 to 370. However, points for Structural Engineering and Architecture (DN140) have fallen by 25 to 430.
Arts & Social Science
First preferences for Social Science (DN550) this year were up 12% and correspondingly points have risen by 20 to 420.
The UCD BA common entry degree, DN500, is the largest single degree programme in the country with an intake of over 1,200. With the increased demand for business and professional degrees the demand for Arts degrees continues to be under pressure so the 5 points fall to 335 is not unexpected.
UCD offers a number of denominated routes into specific subjects in Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. The largest of these, English with Drama (DN512) saw a 35 points fall to 320. Pure History (DN515) rose by 60 points to 435 and Pure Economics (DN510) rose by 20 points to 485. Given the small size of these programmes, small changes in first preference demands can have a large impact on the minimum points requirement.
This year there is not a great deal of movement in points in the professional health degrees.
Last year the points for Medicine (DN400) fell as a consequence of changes to the HPAT exam. This year points have increased somewhat and first round offers are at 736 (up 6). Radiography (DN410), which climbed 20 points last year, is down 5 to 540 and Physiotherapy (DN420) remains static at 545.
The largest nursing degree at UCD, General Nursing (DN450) remains static at 415 while Midwifery has climbed 30 points to 465.
Veterinary Medicine remains static at 575.
Commenting on the trends, the Deputy President of UCD, Professor Mark Rogers said:
"I am delighted with the continuing strength of demand for UCD degrees. The increased CAO points requirement in business and economy-related degrees reflects the wider signs of recovery in the economy. UCD has contributed to this recovery through the quality of our graduates and the wider impact of the University nationally through scholarship, research and innovation.
For this to continue, we must attract and retain the best of our own students and this requires us to compete with the top Universities internationally by offering a really excellent education.
In two weeks UCD will be welcoming record numbers of students to Belfield campus and the demographic profile of the population indicate that this trend will continue for the foreseeable future.
Providing a superb education for a growing number of students takes time, resources and excellent staff and facilities. We await the recommendations of the review on the funding of the universities and higher education sector chaired by Peter Cassalls and hope that it will establish a sustainable and satisfactory mechanism of funding for Irish universities.
Education is now a global market where students have increasing choices to study abroad. Students who leave for their undergraduate degree may be less likely to return to Ireland so if we cannot provide the best education for them, we will lose this talent for many years. We see the impact our young graduates are making in the economic recovery and don't wish to lose them.
In international terms, Ireland is underfunding our universities and this is not sustainable if we are to continue to offer the quality of experience our students deserve and expect. The students we welcome to UCD in September deserve nothing less."