Bar is set by the volume of places available on each course, and the number of points each student gets

Just like every other year, factors like course place numbers, demand for them, and the exam achievements of applicants influence wide variations on how CAO course points compare to last year.

Two of the biggest points drops, both down 110 points on last year, are a media studies degree at Maynooth University, and an Irish degree focused on translation at NUI Galway (NUIG).

The first results from the merging of two programmes at Maynooth last year, one of which had a 360 cut-off and the other 450.

An increase of one-quarter in the number of places being offered over those given on the two degrees last year means the lowest-ranked person offered a place on the new degree this morning has 340 CAO points.

The minimum entry requirement to the Gaeilge agus Léann an Aistriúcháin degree at NUIG returns nearer to the 340 points needed two years ago.

Its entry threshold rose 170 points to 485 last year — perhaps prompted by students aware of increasing opportunities due to the language’s increased status in the EU — but has now settled back to 375.

CAO day: Availability and demand decide points needed

Nearly half of arts and social science degrees are easier to get into this year, with points falling for 80 out of 170-plus courses under this heading, and up in just over 50, or less than one-third.

For the main university arts degrees, accounting for at least 10% of the entire 47,000 places likely to be filled by the CAO this year, a five-point increase to 355 for entry to University College Cork’s BA programme is the only such hike.

Maynooth University said the addition of another 100 places to last year’s intake of 1,300 to its BA degree, now also incorporating five humanities courses offered separately last year, have helped to see the entry cut-off drop 20 from the 2015 minimum entry standard of 350 points.

Although it remains one of the country’s largest single intakes, UCD said that weaker demand influenced the fall of 15 points to 320 for its common-entry arts degree.

Points for 10 of around 40 level 8 teaching degrees are unchanged, and an almost even number of the remainder either up or down, half of them by only five or 10 points. Entry to four of the main primary teaching degrees is open to applicants on points scores five lower than this time last year.

Those who applied to Dublin City University’s main primary teaching degree, at the St Patrick’s College Drumcondra campus, or the equivalent at Mary Immaculate College in Limerick, could receive offers with 465 points, but not all applicants with that score will get one.

With renewed student interest in the small number of building and related degree courses, the main architecture degrees have risen by 10 points at UCC/CIT and by 25 points at UCD. But among a handful of direct-entry civil engineering degrees, points are only up at Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, and are down at University of Limerick and NUIG.

After increases in first-preference demand by students for engineering and technology, these are among the few disciplines in which points are up for more courses than those on which they have dropped. The average among 60 courses under this heading which recorded increases now require 15 points more than a year ago, with a dozen of them at least 30 points higher.

CAO day: Availability and demand decide points needed

Despite these rises, around half of 140 level 8 programmes in the engineering and technology category are in the score range of 300 to 400 points, results achieved by well over one-third of this year’s Leaving Certificate students.

However, UCD’s general-entry engineering degree requires 515 points, with the 250 students who will be enrolled having the option after first year to specialise in electronic, energy, biomedical, civil, mechanical or other areas of engineering. With the number of students choosing UCC’s engineering degree as their first preference up over 50% since 2015, the minimum points needed are 75 higher at 490.

At the higher end of the achievement scale, students with some of the best Leaving Certificate results still dominate entry to the five undergraduate medical schools. However, the combined scores needed from those exams and the HPAT aptitude test are down by between three and six points at three of them, and remain the same as last year at UCC and NUI Galway.

Nursing points are down or unchanged in the majority of cases, while only those with at least 550 to 565 points are offered places in the three pharmacy degrees, each up either five or 10 points on last year.

  • The Round 1 cut-off points for all CAO courses, as well as last year’s Round 1 and final cut-off points, can be seen on pages 9 to 11 of the 12-page ‘Choices for College’ supplement inside today’s Irish Examiner.

READ MORE: CAO day: Points for most courses fall or stay the same as last year

READ MORE: CAO day: Points race slowed as colleges look to broaden course entries

READ MORE: CAO day: 15,000 already approved for college grants

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