CAO Countdown: Final tips before selecting college courses

Big changes in some arts, humanities and social science degrees

This year, instead of a single catch-all programme, UCD is offering six new programmes: three are BA degrees and three are BSc (Bachelor of Science) degrees. Photograph: Getty Images

This year, instead of a single catch-all programme, UCD is offering six new programmes: three are BA degrees and three are BSc (Bachelor of Science) degrees. Photograph: Getty Images

 

It’s deadline day. Today, January 20th, at 5.15pm marks the closure of the CAO early-bird €30 online applications process. The normal closing date for applications is February 1st, 2018.

While you will be able to change your course selection at a later date – right up until July 1st – this is not the case for all programmes.

People applying for “restricted application” courses (which include early assessments such as interviews or portfolio assessment) must also list any such course on their CAO application by February 1st.

Following these assessments, applicants will learn if they are approved for consideration for a place on each programme. Marks are awarded in many cases, which are added to an applicant’s CAO points score in August, to determine offers of places.

HPAT test

There are also key dates you need to remember if you are applying to any of the five Irish undergraduate medical schools.

In addition to registering with the CAO, you will also need to register with HPAT Ireland – a health professionals’ admission test – by January 20th at 5.15pm to avail of its €135 fee. (Otherwise a late registration fee applies (€205) until February 1st, with an exceptional late fee of €240 until February 3rd).

The HPAT tests take place in centres countrywide on Saturday, February 24th.

In addition, mature applicants for nursing, as well as making their CAO application before February 1st at 5.15pm, must sit a separate assessment test. To do this you need to register with publicjobs.ie and submit the relevant online application form between February 2nd and 22nd. The test is carried out by the Public Appointments Service on behalf of the Nursing and Midwifery Board (see the CAO handbook online for more).

Arts changes

This year also sees some very big changes for a number of arts courses – prompted, in part, by perceptions over the employability of graduates.

The Bachelor of Arts (BA) at UCD has long been the biggest course in the country, and has taken in more than 1,000 students each year for decades. The large number of places has meant that CAO points requirements – in more recent times, at least – tended to be in the low 300s.

This year, instead of a single catch-all programme, the university is offering six new programmes: three are BA degrees and three are BSc (Bachelor of Science) degrees.

A three-year joint honours BA in two subjects is closest to the old degree . There is also a new four-year humanities BA in specific subject combinations. They include history, English, Irish studies, Greek and Roman civilisation, languages, music and art history. This degree includes an internship, study abroad or extended research.

There is also a new four-year BA in modern languages.

As part of the changes there are three new BSc degrees.

They include a new four-year degree in social sciences in which applicants can choose from a number of subjects, with an internship, study abroad or extended research built in.

The term “social sciences” can be confusing. In essence, they are a range of areas relating to society and the relationships among individuals within a society. In this case they include economics, philosophy, sociology, geography, archaeology, information and communication studies, politics and international relations, maths and statistics.

As part of the shake-up there will also be two new three-year BSc degrees, one specialising in economics, the other in psychology.

Feedback

NUI Galway has also launched seven new arts degrees for enrolment, with offerings including music, film and digital studies, arts and technology, international and global languages. This follows feedback from students, industry and employers.

There are also long-established and popular arts degrees from a range of other universities and institutes of technology including UCC, WIT, NUI Galway, DCU, UL/Mary I, Maynooth University and Trinity.