The latest data from the Central Applications Office (CAO) shows an overall increase in applications for courses in healthcare, STEM, and journalism. Journalism was subject to the most dramatic increase overall, at 50%, followed by environmental courses, at 42%. 

The disciplines of highest demand in UCD were STEM, Construction, Healthcare, Business, Social Sciences, Arts & Humanities and Agriculture. First-preference applications for UCD rose by 13.2%. Commenting on this increase, the Deputy President and Registrar Mark Rogers had this to say: “We are delighted to see the continuing recognition for UCD programmes reflecting the reputation UCD degrees hold nationally and internationally.

“To support this growing demand, we continue to grow the numbers of students in our programmes and, with appropriate Government funding, hope to increase our places in many high-demand courses in the coming academic year.”

With regards to first-preference applications, environmental courses were subject to a 70% increase, followed by a 58% increase in first-preference applications for journalism. This shows a shift from the decline in preferences for journalism in recent years. In UCD, STEM was subject to a 20% rise.

The caring professions also received huge numbers of applicants. The largest cohort of first-preference applicants was in health, up 13% compared to 2020. Overall applications for medicine increased by 25%; first-preference applications for the course rose by 20%, followed by 23% for pharmacy and 15% for nursing. In UCD alone, applications for mental health nursing rose by 60%.

UCD did not report an increase in demand for law. This echoes the national decline in applications for the discipline, at 8%. 

As well as increased demand for specific courses, this years’ overall applications to the CAO were up by 8.6%, from 77,813 in 2020 to 84,526 in 2021. The high demand for college places is, according to The Irish Times, likely to put pressure on this year’s points race. They stated that “Mr Harris would have to provide funds and other resources to expand our third-level system by similar numbers, for points to remain at 2020 levels.

Rosie Roberts Kuntz – Assistant News Editor