CAO 2019: Points jump for science, technology and engineering

Competition for high-points courses see first degree exceed 600 points

Points for degrees in science, technology and engineering have jumped as students flock towards courses with strong job prospects. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Points for degrees in science, technology and engineering have jumped as students flock towards courses with strong job prospects. Photograph: Cyril Byrne


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Points for degrees in science, technology, maths and engineering have jumped as students flock towards courses with strong job prospects.

Overall, the number of courses commanding in excess of 500 CAO points has climbed to a new high.

One course - UCD’s economic & finance at 601 points - has exceeded the 600- point mark for the first time.

As well as strong demand for Stem courses, there have also been points increases in areas such psychology and the environment.

Popular areas such as arts, business and law have in most cases similar points requirements to last year.

Some of the biggest points drops have been in nursing and courses linked to agriculture and food, where Brexit uncertainty may be a possible factor.

In all, just over 50,100 college applicants have been offered places in the CAO’s first found offers, which were issued at 2pm on Thursday.

About half of honours degree (level eight) applicants have received their first preference, while more than three out of four have received an offer from their top-three choices.

All CAO applicants can check online at to see if they have received an offer by logging on to their account .

Successful applicants should also have received an offer notification via email and a text message, if they have selected this option on their application form.

All offers must be accepted by 5. 15pm on Friday, August 23rd.

If an applicant has not received an offer, they will receive a “statement of application” email.


Some of the strongest demand has been for science, engineering, maths and science (Stem) courses.

In engineering there was a 10 per cent increase in the number of students receiving an offer for a level eight course.

At Trinity, for example, engineering is at 497 points (up 9), while engineering with management is 522 (up 12).

Similarly, there were increases in mathematics at 566 (up 32); theoretical physics at 565 (up 34 ), management science and information systems studies at 589 (up 12 ) and biological and biomedical sciences at 520 (up 11 ).

Also, geography and geoscience at 435 saw an increase of 22 points, and physical sciences at 510, increased by one point

Similarly, at UCD Stem courses saw strong demand.

The university expects to fill its entire engineering on a first round points requirement of 511, while science is up one point to 521 points.

CIT’s electrical engineering also climbed high, up 44 points to 344 points, while electronic and computer engineering at NUI Galway jumped 43 points to 509.

At UCC, biological and chemical sciences rose to 498 (up 10), as did mathematical sciences (554, up 9).

One of the biggest increases was for its data science and analystics course, which leapt to 509 points (up 54).

While the tech sector has been warning of acute skills shortages, it seems many students are responding by opting for comptuer science and associated courses.

Computer science is up across the board at UCD’s (488, up 10), Trinity (467, up 23) and TU Dublin (451, up 17) and UL (352, up 20).

Arts & humanities

Demand for arts and humanities courses is continuing to fall, although recently revamped degrees are generally faring better and there are some signs that their decline may be levelling off.

The joint arts course offered between UL and Mary Immaculate College is down from 360 to 300 points, while NUI Galway and UCC’s offering both stay steady on 300 points.

Arts at WIT has effectively fallen off the board: last year, students needed 220 points; this year, the course is open to all qualified applicants who met the minimum entry requirements. Arts at DCU is down from 356 to 347.

Arts in UCD has fallen, down from 381 last year to 336 this year. But the UCD humanities course, a four-year degree course introduced last year, is up from 301 to 348 points, suggesting that there is a growing appetite among students for humanities courses which include the work placements and research projects that employers increasingly want from graduates. Maynooth University, which has also shaken up its arts degree in recent years, is only down from 320 to 316.


Many students will be disappointed to see points for psychology at UCD jump from 501 to 517 points, while DCU’s psychology has risen from 488 to 509 points, the National College of Ireland’s course is up from 350 to 360 points, UL’s psychology course is down by one point to 498 and Trinity’s psychology offering is up from 543 to 565 points. Points for psychology at Dublin Business School, the largest independent fee-paying college in the State, are only up by two, from 242 to 244.


Although industry is crying out for graduates with modern languages, demand for the modern languages course at UCD has fallen for the second year in a row: in 2017, students needed 464 points to get; last year, they needed 399; and this year, they need just 368. Applied language and translation studies is down from 388 to 371 points. World languages at UCC, however, is up by one point to 456 while TU Dublin’s languages and international tourism course is up from 298 to 307 points.

Social science

Social science courses have stayed readily steady. At UCC, points are up slightly, from 387 to 391 points. UCD’s social science course is down from 392 to 390. WIT’s social science course has stayed at 271. But Maynooth’s social course is down by 20 points to 326.


While applications are down broadly for courses categorised as journalism, points for DCU’s course are up by one to 401, although points for communication studies are slightly, from 403 to 400.

NUI Galway’s journalism offering has also jumped by 22 points, up from 388 to 410 points, indicating growing demand for a course which was the subject of controversy over refunds in recent years.

TU Dublin’s journalism course stays steady at 346, Griffith College’s journalism and visual media design shoots up from 193 to 227 points, UL’s journalism and new media course has fallen 22 points to 388 and DCU’s multimedia degree is down 7 points to 403.

Agriculture & food

Some of the most significant points reductions have been recorded in agriculture courses.

UCD’s main course in the area, agricultural science is at 425 (down 26 points), dairy business fell 34 points to 398, food science fell 33 points to 451 and human nutrition fell 26 points to 495.

Students wishing to study agriculture science, a new course this year at UCC, will need to meet the 473 points requirement if they are to get in at the first calling.

Nutritional sciences at Cork are down 15 points at 492 while food science is 444 down from 452. Food Innovation at Technological University Dublin is at 321, down from 326, while culinary & gastronomic science at GMIT is 225 points, down from 244.

Culinary arts at Technological University Dublin is 271 points, down from 280 while culinary science remains unchanged at 308.


Eileen Keleghan, CAO communications officer, has asked applicants to carefully consider any offers received in this round.

“One of the common queries that we receive at the offers stage is around order of preference,” she said.

“Applicants are reminded that if they receive a lower preference offer they can accept this offer and it will not prevent them from receiving an offer of a course higher up on their courses list in a later offer round if a place becomes available and they are deemed eligible.

“Those who have received an offer in this round should consider the current offer as being the only one they may receive.