CAO points up or static for most courses

Demand up for architecure and construction, science, engineering, agriculture, business and languages

Points are up because there are more students in the system and more students have secured bonus points

Points are up because there are more students in the system and more students have secured bonus points


Some students hoping that they might just squeeze into their chosen college course will be disappointed this morning. With the exception of art and design and some humanities courses, CAO points have risen or stayed steady for most courses.

The largest rise in points is for architecture and construction-related courses, but increases for science, engineering, agriculture and food science, business and languages all reflect an increasing confidence that these industries offer solid long-term job prospects.

Points have also been pushed up because there are more students in the system and because more students have secured bonus points for honours maths than ever before.

Science, engineering and technology

The rise in demand for science courses has been one of the most remarkable features of third-level education in recent years, with courses that once barely managed to come close to 400 points now exploding in popularity. Students believe these offer the best career prospects, and this has, once again, driven up points.

UCD’s science course – the largest in the State with more than 400 students – is up from 505 to 515 points, while Trinity College’s science course has risen by 5 points to 515. DIT records a jump from 405 to 435, while DCU’s science course is up by 10 points to 460. UCC’s various science courses have also risen, with Chemical Sciences up 5 to 435 and Physics and Astrophysics up 10 to 510.

Points have also risen for the majority of engineering courses, from 475 to 495 at UCD, 465 to 470 at Trinity, 350 to 355 at DIT, and 400 to 405 at UL. Only DCU bucks the trend, with points for common entry engineering down from 390 to 375, while NUI Galway stays steady at 400.


Arts in UCD remains the single biggest course in the country, with 1,225 places, while the next three largest courses are arts at NUIG, NUIM and UCC.

This year, with tentative signs of economic recovery on the horizon, the precipitous fall in demand for arts courses seems to have halted slightly. After a drop from 355 to 340 points last year, UCD’s arts degree remained steady at 340.

At UCC, arts rose by 10 points to 345. NUIG remained at 300. UL’s arts course requires 430 points (down from 440 last year). The points are higher than the colleges with near 1,000 arts places because it has only 73 places. NUIM arts is also down by 10, to 350 points.


Points for business courses fell during the worst years of the recession. In 2014, for the second year running, there is now a trend towards higher points for business courses. Commerce at UCD, one of the most popular business courses in the country, is up 15 points to 490. Commerce in UCC stays at 435; up 5 to 380 at NUIG; up 15 to 455 at DCU and down 5 to 405 at UL.

Commerce courses with a language have generally risen across the board.


Graduates with language skills are said to be able to walk into a job after college without a postgrad or internship. Students know international companies in Ireland have a long-term need for staff with European languages as well as languages from emerging market countries, particularly Russian and Chinese.

This is reflected in a significant points rise for courses with a big language component. International Business with German at DIT is up by 35 points to 405. UCD’s International Languages course is up from 465 to 475 points. DIT’s Journalism with a Language is up by 20 points to 360. Business Studies with Japanese at UL is up from 400 to 420. Arts International at UCC records a major leap, from 430 to 455 points.

One notable trend is that while points have risen for commerce courses with German or Chinese, they have stayed steady or fallen for courses with French.

Agriculture and food science The growth of Ireland’s food industry has been a boon to agriculture and food science over the p

ast few years.

At UCD, points for Agricultural Science are, for the second year running, up by 10 points, rising from 455 to 465. Food Science at UCD is up by 20 points to 490, while Human Nutrition rises by 5 points to 530.

At UCC, Food Science is up from 440 to 445. DIT’s Food Innovation course records a major jump from 330 to 365 points. UL’s Food Science and Health has perhaps the largest rise of all, leaping by 40 points from 375 to 415.

Medicine and health sciences

Last March, The Irish Times revealed a controversy around the Hpat medical suitability test, and how students were coached on test questions. Results of this year’s Hpat, released in June, showed average scores had fallen.

The knock-on effect has been to reduce the points requirements for medicine, due to a restructuring of the HPAT. Points are down from 742 to 724 at UCC; from 748 to 733 at Trinity; from 739 to 721 at NUIG and from 747 to 733 at UCD.

Demand for nursing has fallen in seven third-level institutions and remains unchanged in five others.

Dentistry at UCC is down 5 to 575 but stays at 585 points in Trinity. Points are unchanged for pharmacy at RCSI, Trinity College and UCC, at 555, 565 and 565, respectively. Points for physiotherapy at UCD, RCSI and Trinity College have all risen by 10 points and now hover between 540 and 555.

Architecture and construction

The 140 per cent rise in demand for architecture and construction courses is the biggest story of this year’s results. During the recession, students turned away en masse from the sector. Architecture was in freefall. As the construction industry picks up in Dublin there’s a shortage of qualified quantity surveyors and construction managers and, for the first time in years, points for architecture have risen and sharply.

Architecture at DIT has made a stunning jump, with points up from 520 to 590 (points are awarded here for portfolio). UCC and CIT’s joint programme is up by 20 to 420, while UCD’s Structural Engineering with Architecture is up by 20 points to 455 and its main architecture programme is up by 25 points to 490. Quantity surveying and construction economics at DIT is up from 275 to 320, while most construction management courses also record moderate rises.


After a marginal rise in points in 2013, law courses see further increases this year, possibly influenced by Dublin’s latest housing bubble and the need for conveyancing lawyers. Points for Law at UCC and Trinity College are steady at 480 and 530 respectively. Points at DBS are up 5 to 255, up 10 to 510 at UCD; up 30 to 415 at DIT and down 10 to 450 at NUIM. UL’s Law Plus course rises 20 points to 424.

Journalism and digital media After a slight rise in 2013, points for

journalism have fallen. Journalism and New Media at UL is down by 45 points to 365. Journalism at DIT has fallen 10 points to 395. DCU’s Journalism is up 5 to 440, while its Communications course goes from 410 to 415. Demand for digital media courses is generally down, although NUIM’s Digital Media is up 10 points to 360.


Froebel College of Education’s move to the NUI Maynooth campus has led to a jump in interest in its primary teaching degree, with points rising from 495 to 510 for Ireland’s only university-based and secular course.

Primary teaching at Marino College has stayed at 460 points, while it’s down by 5 to 400 in the Church of Ireland College of Education. Points are up by 5 to 465 at St Patrick’s Drumcondra, while they remain at 465 for Primary Teaching at Mary Immaculate Limerick. Meanwhile, UL’s PE Teaching course is down by 10 points to 485 and DCU’s Science Teaching course is up from 420 to 440.

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