CAO round two offers hope in Arts and Science

Latest offers reflect move to business, technology and construction courses

Jenny Luke and Annie Hewitt from Dalkey check the CAO first round offers last year. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Jenny Luke and Annie Hewitt from Dalkey check the CAO first round offers last year. Photograph: Cyril Byrne


The CAO has offered the last batch of places for the 2016-17 academic year. There was good news for applicants who had just missed out by 5 or 10 points on their preferred course in the first round.

The CAO made 2,573 offers to applicants in the second round. The number of offers made for Level 8 places (1,470) constitutes just 4 per cent of the overall Level 8 offers made to date. The biggest course in the country, Arts (DN500) in UCD, fell 10 points to 310, its lowest level in years. Liberal Arts (MI004) also dropped by 10 points in Mary Immaculate in Limerick to 320.

Specialist choices within Arts fell even further. In UCD English (DN511) dropped 30 points to 445 and Planning, Geography and Environment (DN514) dropped 25 points to 300. History (DN515) dropped 15 points 395. Social Studies (social work) at TCD fell 10 points to 460*.

The number of points for Science degrees, which had risen in recent years, levelled off in round one and fell in this year’s second round. Science at Maynooth (MH201) saw a 10-point drop. Science at Cork (CK404) TCD (TR071) and UCD (DN200) all fell 5 points to 425, 500* and 510 respectively.

There was good news for applicants hoping to study paramedical courses. In Cork, Dentistry (CK702) and Pharmacy (CK703) both fell 5 points to 480* and 460* respectively.

In DIT, Human Nutrition and Dietetics (DT223) are down 5 points to 545. Pharmacy (RC005) also fell 5 points at the College of Surgeons to 545*. Occupational Therapy (TR054) fell 5 points at TCD to 515* and Human Health and Disease (TR056) fell 5 points to 530*.

Ireland’s only Veterinary medical degree (DN300) fell 5 points to 565. Radiography in UCD (DN410) is down 5 to 530.

In Galway, Biomedical Science (GY303) is down 5 to 525.

For those interested in pursuing primary school teaching, Mary Immaculate College (MI005) is down 5 to 460*. Second-level Home Economics teaching courses at St Angela’s College in Sligo also fell – with Irish it fell 15 and Home Economics with Biology and Religion it saw a 5 point drop.

Law fell 10 points at Trinity College Dublin (TR004) to 525* and law at NUI Galway fell with Corporate Law (GY250) in a 5-point drop to 380 and Civil Law (GY251) down 5 points to 430.

Those CAO applicants who will not receive additional offers this morning are those who sought places in the courses that are in high demand in areas such as engineering, technology, nursing, construction, architecture and computer science.

From the time the students made their final choices in July, it was clear that indications of an economic recovery and the possibility of solid employment opportunities following graduation drove up demand in these areas.

Since 2000, the number of places offered to applicants to the CAO has increased by more than 28 per cent from 37,525 to over 48,749.

Not only that, but the balance between those who secure places at Level 8 higher degree has increased from 55 per cent to 79 per cent in 2016. More and more of our young people choose college after completing second-level education, and more than three-quarters opt for a higher degree.

Some would see this as a sign of success on the part of our education planning process and political initiatives on the part of successive Ministers for Education.

The proportion of the national education budget provided by the State to third-level education has shrunk dramatically over the past 16 years, however, as the various governments have shifted the burden from the tax-payer to parents in the form of a €3,000 registration charge, and the sum invested overall has remained relatively static.

This year, 128 students are supported by the same level of staffing and overall resources that educated 100 students in the year 2000.

This has had an inevitable impact on quality and access to one-to-one meetings and tutorials for example. * Not all students on this point score were offered places