Science joins the top tier as points see dramatic rise


Students aren’t the big winners this year as points for many courses have increased, with science and technology courses experiencing the sharpest growth

IT’S A tough year for students. CAO points have soared in science and technology, but they have also risen for most business, nursing, engineering and medicine-related courses. While points have fallen in some areas like construction-related courses and some arts courses, the fall off has been in no way as dramatic as the rise.

Points for most courses in Dublin colleges have risen while UL (which has operated a bonus point system for maths for 20 years) saw points falling overall.

UL saw strong demand in nursing and education courses while NUIG’s engineering, nursing and technology courses were all strong players. However, arts and business courses in both colleges suffered.


Science is now officially a high points course with courses in TCD and UCD hitting the 500-point mark. Points for TCD’s science degree surged by 35 to bring it to 515 while UCD’s entry requirement jumped by 45 to 500.

Science education in NUI Maynooth also jumped from 470 points last year to 500 this year. Elsewhere, the trend is similar although it may be slightly less dramatic. Biotechnology in DCU is up 30 to 465 while science in NUIG is up 10 to 380 with random selection. More specialised science courses such as biotechnology and biomedical science in NUIG are up significantly by 30 and 35 points respectively.

Technology is another winner this year. Computer science courses are up overall. DIT’s computer science degree now requires 400 points for entry – a rise of 50 on last year. Points for TCD’s computer science course took a massive jump of 65 points to 450 this year, while UCD’s course rose to 470 points – a rise of 60 on last year.


First-choice applications for arts dipped by more than 1,000 this year and it shows. While points for UCD arts (the largest course in the country) remain unchanged at 355, elsewhere the drop has been dramatic.

NUIG’s arts programme now has an entry requirement of just 300 points – a drop of 40 – and practically all of the college’s more specialised arts programmes such as arts with film studies have seen points falling. UL’s arts programme fares a little better at 415 points but this is still a drop of 35 on last year. Arts in UCC and NUIM stand at 335 and 370 respectively, both seeing a fall of 10 points.

Points for journalism have fallen significantly. Journalism in DCU has fallen to 410, from 440 last year. Meanwhile, journalism in DIT is down to 400 from 415 last year.


Veterinary now requires a virtually perfect Leaving Cert for entry. Points have risen by 20 to a huge 585 this year.

Entry to medicine, of course, is entwined in the HPat results but overall entry requirements are up in the colleges by an average of six points. TCD has the highest requirement at 746, while NUIG is the lowest at a still whopping 737 points.

Other courses such as pharmacy are also up by quite a bit. UCC’s pharmacy course rose by 30 points to 575 this year. The story was similar in RCSI where the points rose to 565 with random selection. TCD’s pharmacy course is up 25 to 575, again with random selection.

Physiotherapy courses in UCD, TCD and RCSI all rose this year. UCD’s now requires 560 for entry while TCD’s course rose by 10 to 550 with random selection. The rise wasn’t universal however, with physiotherapy in UL experiencing a fall of 10 to 555 with random selection.


Students aiming for business would have had fewer nasty surprises than their science oriented peers. Points for business courses largely rose or remained as they were. The rises however were less dramatic than those we saw in other areas.

Business, Economics and Social Studies in TCD went up by 15 to 475 while business studies in DCU rose by five to 425. Interestingly, points were more likely to rise sharply when a language was offered as part of a degree. DCU’s European business courses with French or German rose by 50 and 45 points respectively. In UCC, commerce rose by 10 to 435, but Commerce with German went up by 35 points, while Commerce and French remained steady at 500 points.

Commerce in NUIG was down by 20 to 340 but mirroring the trend in other colleges, commerce with a language was on the rise. Commerce and French jumped 20 to 495 while commerce and Spanish was up by 30 to 410.


While points for construction-related courses are still down overall, many have remained stable and the drops have not been very dramatic. The fall seems to have bottomed out somewhat.

Architecture in UCD is down by just five points to 480 and architecture in UCC and CIT has dropped by 20 to 400. While courses like quantity surveying and construction management in DIT are down by 15 and 10 points respectively, other courses such as property economics and planning and environmental management have actually risen. Property economics now stands at 320 points – a rise of 15 from last year.

Points for engineering are a mixed bag. UCC’s engineering courses are down, apart from electrical and electronic engineering which is up by five to 410. DCU’s engineering course jumped by 70 points to 370 and most of its more specialised engineering courses are also up. Most of NUIG’s engineering courses have also risen while its undenominated engineering rose by 30 points to 430.


Demand for primary teaching is down slightly in St Pat’s Drumcondra to 470 – a fall of five points. Entry to the other courses remains unchanged. Courses in St Angela’s College in Sligo, which prepares home economics teachers are up across the board. Home economics with Irish is up by a massive 50 points to 505 for example.

There are 1,300 nursing places available since the HSE reduced the number of places on offer two years ago. Competition for places is strong and points are up on average by 15 across the range of courses. Some of the courses on offer have passed the 500 points mark such as children’s and general nursing in TCD and UCD which have risen to 525 and 515 repectively.