Increase in demand for AIT courses

There has been an increase in the number of people applying to study at Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT ). Figures released by the Central Applications Office (CAO ) show an increase of more than 300 applicants to both honours degrees and higher certificates/ordinary degrees at the institute.

Nationally, the numbers applying to third level have declined slightly by 377 to 71,466. Last year represented a record high in the numbers looking to enter third level. One in six people applying are mature students.

The number of mentions for honours degree (level 8 ) programmes at AIT has risen by 400 to 4,987; meanwhile mentions for higher certificate/ ordinary degree (level 6/7 ) programmes also increased from 9,544 to 10,196.

Indeed, demand for full-time undergraduate courses at AIT has risen steadily in recent years, with some 4,500 undergrad students currently registered at the institute.

Reflecting the national increase in demand for science courses, there was a corresponding rise at AIT.

The number of mentions for the BSc in Biotechnology rose by 50 per cent, for example, while the two-year Higher Certificate in Science increased by 25 per cent. Similarly, the BSc (Hons ) in Toxicology and the BSc (Hons ) in Pharmaceutical Science both increased in first preferences and the number of overall mentions. Two of the highest demand courses at AIT, the BSc in Veterinary Nursing and the BSc (Hons ) in General Nursing saw large increases in the number of people listing the degrees. The overall number of mentions for the two programmes are 932 and 962 respectively.

In engineering, three new degree programmes contributed to an increase in overall demand. Applicants now have a choice of higher certificate or degree courses in mechanical, computer and civil engineering through the CAO, with qualifications up to honours degree available in all cases. The innovation saw increases in demand of 24, 57 and 10 per cent for each of the disciplines respectively. The most popular engineering degree is the BSc (Hons ) in Software Engineering (Game Development ), which rose from 370 mentions to 496. Its partner programme in web development also saw an increase in mentions from 189 to 224.

The demand for business courses was broadly in line with 2010, although new joint honours degrees in business and law and accounting and law saw the numbers of mentions rise by 19 and 11 per cent respectively. Reflecting the increasing popularity of agriculture-related programmes, AIT’s higher certificate in equine studies jumped to 222 mentions, up from 179 in 2010. The general business programmes at higher certificate and honours degree level remain the most popular courses offered by the Business School, with 577 and 431 mentions respectively.

The highest demand course at AIT is the Higher Certificate in Applied Social Studies in Social Care, with 1,278 mentions, one-third of which are first preference applications. The honours BA in Social Care Practice also grew in popularity with 828 mentions. A new arts degree offered by the School of Humanities, the BA (Hons ) in Society and Communications, has also exhibited strong demand, as have a number of new programmes in the area of hospitality, tourism and leisure studies.

Anyone wishing to apply to AIT through the CAO may do so until May 1. A late online application fee of €60 applies in such cases, while a paper-based application attracts a charge of €80. Applicants may change their CAO preferences from May 5 until July 1.

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