Ask Brian: My son in US wants to study arts in Ireland. Are his grades good enough?
Irish colleges have detailed entry criteria for prospective US students
Irish colleges set out criteria for prospective US students which includes an expectation that they have completed a minimum number of years studying set subjects. Photo: iStock
Question: My son is interested in applying to University College Dublin or University College Cork for a BA. His grades in humanities subjects are good, but his grades in science and math are not. If he applies to a BA program, will low scores in math and science be held against him?
Answer: I can assure you as a parent that either Dublin or Cork will be a very welcoming location for your son to undertake his international studies.
He will be sure to gain a wide circle of new friends very quickly, particularly if he immerses himself in the social, cultural and sporting life of his chosen college – while, of course, giving due regard to his academic studies.
There are two ways to study arts subjects at UCD or UCC. The joint honours degree allows you to specialise in two subjects, though you can study up to four in first year.
A single subject honours degree is also available in some subjects, allowing in-depth study of that area.
He must nominate which subjects he wishes to study once he makes his application. Although most students considering applying for admissions in the 2017-18 academic year have already done so, international applicants will be considered up to July 1st.
Both UCD and UCC set out criteria for prospective US students which includes an expectation that they have completed four years of English, at least three years of maths (four years recommended), at least two years of history/social science and a language and at least two years of a laboratory science subject (four years recommended).
These criteria ensure that American nationals who find themselves sharing classes with Irish students will have a similar academic experience to them.
In Ireland, all students study maths and English at second level from 12-19 years of age.
They similarly study science as a general discipline from 12-15 for the three years of their junior cycle, and the clear majority of them continue to study one or more of the science subjects on offer, chemistry, physics, biology, agricultural science for their Leaving Cert.
But, when it comes to meeting the minimum entry requirements for an arts degree, they are simply required to present H5 (50-59 per cent) in two subjects, and 06 (40-49 per cent)/ H7 (30-39 per cent) in four other subjects from Irish, English, another language, and three other subjects recognised for entry purposes.
No minimum score is required of Irish students in either maths or a science subject to access a place in an arts degree programme in UCD/UCC, so I would not be concerned, from an entry requirement perspective, about his low scores in these subjects
In the case of an applicant from the US , such as your son, consideration will be given to his High School grade point average (GPA) and SAT or ACT scores.
The minimum entry requirement is GPA 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, alongside a 1,500 SAT (old SAT, three parts) / 1,090 SAT (new SAT) / 22 ACT or an International Baccalaureate Score of 26.