Brian Mooney: Focus on construction and engineering results in higher points

Points drop across the board for arts and social science degrees

The CAO points requirements for courses offered in the latest round reflect exactly the increases and decreases in student applicant numbers for each discipline area as published in July this year. The areas which saw the biggest increase in student application numbers this year – construction, nursing, engineering/technology, architecture, business, pharmacy – all see points requirements increase.

ARTS Points have dropped across the board for arts degrees. In terms of sheer numbers, the biggest beneficiaries of decreased application numbers are those with points scores in the low 300s seeking places in arts degrees. Arts degree applicants will secure a place with 300 in NUI Galway, 320 in UCD, 330 in Maynooth and Mary Immaculate, 355 in UCC, 385 in DCU and 425 in UL.

SOCIAL SCIENCE Those seeking places in social science are equally fortunate, with points requirement reduced across the board, down 15 in Maynooth, to 375, 10 in UCC to 425 and 5 in UCD, to 415. Trinity’s course went up to 470.

AGRICULTURE AND FOOD SCIENCE Demand for places in agriculture courses decreased 26 per cent this year in terms of first-choice course applications. Points requirements are down 10 in UCD, to 460, down 25 in IT Tralee and Dundalk, to 345 and 355, and down 15 in Waterford, to 400. Interestingly, degree programmes in food science where the produce of agriculture endeavour are processed are all up this year, by 10 in UL, to 460,and by five in UCC and UCD, to 465 and 490 respectively.


MEDICINE AND VETERINARY SCIENCE Application numbers are also down for places in both undergraduate medicine and veterinary and points requirements are down in both. Points are down six and three in UCD and Trinity, to 730, unchanged in UCC, to 726, down four in RCSI, to 726 and unchanged in NUI Galway, at 723. Veterinary medicine in UCD, is down five, to 570.

PRIMARY SCHOOL/EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION Demand for primary school teaching places remained constant in 2016 and points requirements have dipped slightly, down five overall – in Maynooth, to 495, in St Pat's DCU and Mary Immaculate Limerick, to 465* and to 460* in Marino. Education and psychology-primary teaching in Mary Immaculate is also down 15, to 545.

Interestingly, points requirements in early childhood education, which have been much lower than for primary teacher training courses given the underdeveloped state of this sector and the much lower remuneration on offer, have now began, to climb. Points requirements are up 25 in Marino to 345, 20 in DCU, to400, 15 in Mary Immaculate, to375, and five in UCC,, to390.

BUSINESS/COMMERCE Business/commerce entry points requirements are up 10 in NUI Galway,, to400, and up five in DCU, UCC, DIT and UL, to 470, 460, 450 and 425* respectively. Commerce in UCD and business, economics, political science and sociology (BESS) in Trinity remain unchanged, at 500 and 510*. The new business degree programme in Trinity, TR080, has the highest points requirements within the sector, at 535.

GENERAL ENGINEERING The entry points requirements for general engineering have increased by 75 in UCC, to 490, 20 in Cork IT, to 410, 15 in DCU, to 405, and five in UCD and Trinity, to 515 and 500*. They remain unchanged at DIT at 380 and are down five in NUI Galway at 445.

GENERAL NURSING This area saw a 9 per cent increase in application numbers this year and saw points increase in seven of the 13 courses on offer, remain unchanged in five and drop in one. Students securing a place now require 460* in UL, 450 in DCU, 445* in UCC, 445 in NUI Galway, 425 in Trinity for the Meath and St James's, Tralee, and 425* for Athlone, 420 in UCD and WIT, 410* in Sligo and GMIT AND Letterkenny, and 400* in Dundalk.

Overall numbers in general nursing were cut in 2009 as a budgetary measure during the economic crisis. Disappointed applicants tend to take post-Leaving Cert courses in pre-nursing. About 500 of these students secure places each year in UK nursing degree programmes funded by the NHS. Due to a budgetary decision in the UK in 2015, all NHS funding of nursing and other paramedical programmes will cease in 2017, which will put huge pressure on the HSE to authorise an increase in general nursing places in the colleges listed above.

ARCHITECTURE AND CONSTRUCTION The biggest increase in demand for places has been in the construction-related sector. Entry points requirements for architecture are up 15 in DIT, to 605 (portfolio included), 25 in UCD, to 515, 30 in UL, to 420 (portfolio included), and 10 in Cork, offered jointly by UCC and CIT at 450.

Architectural design is up 15 in both WIT and Sligo, to 300 and 285 respectively. Construction management courses are up by 10 in DIT and GMIT, to 325 and 260, up five in CIT and LIT, to 245 and 255 respectively. Property economics (valuation surveying) is up 20 in DIT, to 350, and 35 in LIT, to 300. Quantity surveying and construction economics in DIT is up 20, to 350, and in GMIT by 30, to 240.

PHARMACY Applications for pharmacy programmes increased by more than 4 per cent this year and points requirements are up across the board. Trinity and UCC are up 10, to 560* and 565. The RCSI is up five, to 550*.

SCIENCE Students seeking places in science degree programmes have had mixed luck in 2016, with points up in some programmes and down in others, reflecting a calming in the surge in demand over recent years that drove points upwards in the likes of UCD by more than 200. Points requirements are up 10 in DCU, to 480, up five in UCD, to 515, and up 10 in UCC for the biology/chemistry programme, to 480. Conversely, they are down five in Trinity, to 505*, down 10 in NUI Galway, to 400, down 15 in Maynooth, to 390, and down five in UCC for biology/earth/ environmental science to 430.

COMPUTER SCIENCE Similarly for science, points requirements for computer science are both up and down. They are up 25 in DIT, to 450, 10 in UCD, to 485, computer science and business is up five in Trinity, to 505*. Computer science is down five in UCC, to 435, and down 10 in Trinity, to 480*.

LAW Law is up five in UCD, to 525 and down five in Trinity, to 535*. Law (LLB) in DIT is up five, to 425, law plus in UL is up 10, to 460, and in DCU (BCL) by 15, to 450. Law in UCC remains unchanged at 490.

OTHER NOTABLE CHANGES Communications in DCU is up 25, to 445, as is its multimedia programme, up five, to 450. Journalism, on the other hand, is down by 15 in DCU, to 420. It remains unchanged in DIT, at 380. Psychology in UCD is down 15, to 500. Marketing is down five in DIT, to 405. Culinary arts in DIT is down 50, to 300.