Galway-bound students are keeping one eye firmly on the jobs market, with demand for science and technology courses on the rise.
Thousands of Galway students were elated to finally receive their long-awaited CAO offers on Monday, despite the required points for many courses skyrocketing due to increased applications.
Just days after the Leaving Certificate results were released, the first round of CAO offers came out on Monday and an expected increase in points for science, technology and medicine proved to be accurate.
With students having their sights firmly set on the jobs market, NUI Galway reported a “substantial increase in demand” with a dramatic increase of 51 per cent across the programme of courses. Midwifery jumped by 30 points to 450, while the Psychiatric Nursing degree course was up 25 points on last year.
Other courses to increase in points included the Bachelor of Engineering and Civil Engineering (430), Electronic and Computer Engineering (445), Biomedical Engineering (430), Sports and Exercise Engineering (400), and Energy Systems Engineering (430).
Points for the majority of science courses have increased this year with NUI Galway’s Biomedical Science degree seeing a substantial increase of 35 points to 550, with Biotechnology also jumping up 30 points to 445 this year.
Specialised Science programmes have also increased such as Biopharmaceutical Chemistry degree (up 80 points to 495), Mathematical Science (455 to 485), Earth and Ocean Sciences (365 to 380), Physics and Applied Physics (390 to 400) and Physics with Astrophysics (390 to 405).
Humanities courses have reduced in popularity, resulting in a drop in points, and NUI Galway’s Admission Officer Stephen O’Dea told the Galway Independent that applicants were putting a lot of research into their choices.
“Applicants are making well-informed decisions; they are choosing courses where the university has unique strengths and a well-established reputation. In particular, our Biomedical Science, IT and Engineering courses have proved very popular this year.”
The trend for science and IT courses continued in GMIT, with the required points for Computing in Software Development jumping by 65 points to 315 and a Level 7 Science degree increasing by 45 points to 340.
Other rising courses include Physics and Instrumentation (up 25 to 290), General Nursing (up ten to 410) and Construction Management up 30 points on last year.
Meanwhile, points for the teaching degree programme at GMIT Letterfrack (BSc Honours in Design and Technology Education) remains the same at 445, despite a 25 per cent drop nationally in applications for teaching programmes.
While some students may have been disappointed to miss out on an offer for their desired course, GMIT Registrar Michael Hannon said that vacancies may arise in the second round.
“Demand for business and construction related programmes is less than last year, some of these programmes will have places available in the second round of offers and will be placed on the vacant places list later this week. Vacant places offer students an excellent opportunity to apply to GMIT, even if they did not apply during the normal CAO process. Students are advised to check both the GMIT and the CAO websites for further details,” adds Mr Hannon.
Galway native Gerard Craughwell, who is President of the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI), also urged students not to be disheartened if they did not receive an offer on Monday.
“It is advisable that students treat any offer received as the final offer that they may get and of course, they should read all documentation carefully.
“Students should also bear in mind that hundreds of courses in the further education sector, particularly Post Leaving Certificate (PLC) courses, facilitate the first steps of a different access route to higher education and ultimately their chosen career. We would ask that the restrictions on student numbers in this sector be lifted to meet demand.”