Why Science? Employers across all sectors value science graduates

Some colleges and universities offer broad, general entry science courses

A recent Higher Education Authority survey found that 64 per cent of science graduates were in employment or about to start a job within nine months of graduation. Photograph: iStockphoto/Getty Images

A recent Higher Education Authority survey found that 64 per cent of science graduates were in employment or about to start a job within nine months of graduation. Photograph: iStockphoto/Getty Images

 

For secondary school students, science generally means physics, chemistry and biology. At third-level, however, science is a very broad term, and refers as much to a way of thinking - the scientific method of testing and proving ideas about the universe and everything in it - as to any particular subjects.

Zoology, geology, pharmacology, genetics, nanotechnology and astronomy are among the other science subjects available in college. Meanwhile, maths, psychology and even philosophy are among the disciplines that use a scientific method.

Some colleges and universities offer broad, general entry science courses, with students taking a wide range of subjects in first year before going on to specialise down the line; these include DIT, UCD, WIT, NUI Galway and Maynooth University.

Employers value science graduates because they are highly-trained critical thinkers and creative problem-solvers

Others, including UCC and UL, have opted to retain more specialised entry routes while, last year, Trinity College moved to introduce four distinct entry routes: biological and biomedical sciences, chemical sciences, geography and geoscience and physical sciences.

CIT has a mix of science entry, while DCU students undertake a common-entry science route before choosing from one of eight degree courses, including biotechnology, physics & astronomy, applied physics, and genetics & cell biology.

Employers across all sectors value science graduates because they are highly-trained critical thinkers and creative problem-solvers. They’re needed to work on clinical trials, research and development, regulation, particularly in biopharmaceuticals, microbiology, product development, food policy, business and the civil service.

The last recession saw tradition turn on its head, as students abandoned  arts courses and chose science, technology, engineering and maths courses instead

Of course, some will go straight into research, whether in academia or the private sector, but most science graduates don’t work in labs and wear white coats, and they’re particularly sought after by finance and tech firms.

The last recession saw received tradition turn on its head, as students abandoned once-popular arts courses and chose science, technology, engineering and maths courses instead.

This has led to points rising over the past decade, although they have stayed relatively steady or even declined slightly over the past two years.

Trinity’s biomedical science and physical sciences courses both required 509 points, UCD’s general entry science courses stood at 505, NUI Galway required 401 points and Maynooth University applicants needed 350.

A recent Higher Education Authority survey found that 64 per cent of science graduates were in employment or about to start a job within nine months of graduation, with a further 28 per cent in postgraduate education or further training, while graduates could expect to be on €32,070 within nine months of getting their degree.