Demand for Trinity Courses in CAO Applications for 2015 Reflects Continued Interest in a Trinity Education

Posted on: 17 August 2015

This year 7,876 students selected Trinity College Dublin as their first preference in their CAO applications and a total of 18,194 students applied to Trinity representing 23 % of the total number of applications submitted to CAO.

Approximately 3,000 places are being offered to prospective undergraduate students to study at Trinity College Dublin this year. The strong demand for Trinity courses reflects the ongoing interest among prospective students in the type of education Trinity offers, and the continuing prestige of its degrees.

This year has also seen a helpful corrective to recent increases in the points for many courses, some of which have seen a decrease, and there has been no change for some other courses.    Overall, the points for courses are in keeping with national trends across the university sector.

In the Health Sciences, points remain unchanged for Medicine from last year at 733 and also for General Nursing which remain at 420 points.  Other courses saw increases such as  Dental Science which rose by five points to 590; Occupational Therapy  increased by  15 points to  515* (*random selection applies);  Children’s and General Nursing also rose by 15 points to 505. There were decreases in Pharmacy which was down by 15 points to 550*; Radiation Therapy decreased by ten points to 525*; and Physiotherapy was down by five points to 540*; similarly  Midwifery  decreased by five points to 455.

In Engineering, Mathematics and Science there were increases in courses such as Engineering with Management which rose by 45 points 460 to 505*; Management Science & Information Systems Studies (MSSIS) increased by 40 points to 555; Mathematics was up 30 points to 570; Engineering was up 25 points to 495*; and Computer Science rose by 25 points   to 490*, Theoretical Physics also increased by 15 points to 565 and Earth Sciences rose by 15 points to 490.  Science saw a decrease of five points to 510* while there was no change in Nanoscience, Physics & Chemistry of Advanced Materials  at 595; Chemistry with Molecular Modelling remained at  505,  as did Computer Science and a language  at 465.

 In the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences points  for the majority of Law related courses have increased: Law  was up 10 points to 540; Law with languages such as  Law and German  rose by  30 points to 545*Law and Business  increased by  10 points  to 580. Other courses such as Computer Science and Business rose by 35 points to 500; European Studies was up 25 points to 545; Business, Economic and Social Studies rose by  15 points to  510; and Philosophy, Political Science, Economics and Sociology  increased by  10 points  to 550.

Business and Language programmes are showing both increases and decreases: French was down five points to 545*; German was up 10 points to  500*; Russian increased by  five points  to 450; Polish remained unchanged at 405; and  Spanish was up 15 points to 540.

Points for Two Subject Moderatorship subjects are showing increases as demand for places rose in 2015 – English (+5); mathematics (+25); Economics (+10) Film Studies (+40) while some of the languages such as French and Italian both decreased.

Commending all prospective undergraduate students  on receiving a CAO offer to study in Trinity and all other third level institutions, the Dean of Undergraduate Studies, Dr Gillian Martin said:

 “Well done to all students who have received CAO offers today. We wish you well in your chosen course of study. For those coming to Trinity, you are about to begin an enriching personal and intellectual journey which can lead you to any number of destinations. A Trinity Education aims to enable our students reach their full potential both inside and outside the classroom.  We look forward to supporting you as you develop the knowledge, skills and competencies that distinguish Trinity graduates around the world and to your contribution to our vibrant Trinity community.”

This is also the second year of the Trinity Admissions Feasibility Study, an attempt to see whether it might be possible to develop a better and fairer mechanism to identify and admit applicants with the academic ability and potential to succeed in college.  The new admissions route being tested goes beyond points alone, and looks at the Relative Performance Rank (RPR) of the student (the relative performance of the student compared to others in their class in the Leaving Certificate) in conjunction with Leaving Certificate results, and a personal statement.  Students could opt-in or opt-out of the study, and this year there were 276 applications for the 25 places in the three courses on offer, with students in Law offered places on up to 85 points fewer than the first round points score, students in Ancient and Medieval History and Culture offered places on up to 65 points fewer than the first round points score, and students in History offered places on up to 135 points fewer.  The process was again conducted in a completely anonymous process, chaired by an independent retired judge, and was operated in partnership with the CAO.

Speaking about the second year of the study, its Project Sponsor, Professor Patrick Geoghegan, said that: “We are delighted that the process once again worked exactly as designed, and allowed us to make offers to students who had demonstrated their academic ability, potential, and suitability for their chosen courses in a broader process.  We are proud of their achievement, and will continue our work to find a way to go beyond a crude points total in identifying and admitting students who will thrive at third-level.  While this is a Trinity project we have been sharing it with the sector at each stage, and it is possible that a mechanism such as RPR could provide a long-term solution to some of the problems in the current system”.

 This year was also the first year of a new feasibility study for students applying from Northern Ireland . A total of 66 offers were made to NI feasibility study applicants in addition to those gaining offers via the normal CAO route, allowing for the possibility of a significant increase in numbers (150 approx.) depending on acceptances. This is part of Trinity's mission as a university for the whole island, bringing together students from all 32 counties, as well as from all over the world. The overall objective is to triple the number of students from Northern Ireland over the next three years, and the ground-breaking initiative has been described by the Provost, Dr, Patrick Prendergast, as helping "to restore and re-establish a relationship that has done so much to build close links on this island between people from all backgrounds and traditions.”

 In addition to the Feasibility Study, Trinity’s longstanding successful Trinity Access Programmes, together with HEAR and DARE schemes, continue to contribute to the development of an inclusive and diverse student community. A total of 334 offers were made to students under the HEAR and DARE Schemes.

 For further details about the Trinity Admissions Feasibility Study, and the Interim Report on its operation in the first year, see





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