Students coming to Galway for their third level education have made course choices which are in line with national trends with CAO points required for entry to courses in science, engineering, agriculture, technology, computer, and courses with languages increasing, while arts and business courses, which were so popular during the boom years, are experiencing a decline.
Concerned about graduate unemployment in a jobs market which is tougher than ever, students have shied away from broad-based courses such as arts instead opting for courses which have the promise of better job prospects.
The CAO points required at NUI Galway for arts is down 15 to 340, one of the lowest requirements for higher level arts degrees in years. Other courses in this area have also seen dramatic changes; Arts with global women’s studies is down 30 points bringing it to 315, however when it comes to arts with mathematics and education there was an increase of 30 points to 420, and arts with human rights is up 15 to 470.
Science was one of the big winners nationwide and is in massive demand. This was evident at NUI Galway where science experienced a jump of 20 to 370 points, biomedical science is up 30 points to 515, biotechnology is up 45 to 415, environmental science is up 20 to 385, marine science is up 30 to 400 points, earth and ocean sciences is up 15 to 365, physics with astrophysics is up 15 to 390, mathematical science is up five to 455, and computer science and information technology had a significant increase, up 65 points to 390. NUI Galway courses in the area of engineering also proved more popular this year with electronic and computer engineering up 15 to 405 points, biomedical engineering up 20 to 425 points, environmental engineering up an amazing 80 points to 470, sports and exercise engineering is up 30 to 380, and electrical and electronic engineering up 30 to 445 points. Despite business courses being very popular in years gone by, the points needed for stand-alone commerce at NUI Galway is down five points to 360, however, business courses that offer a foreign language component have actually increased showing that students are eager to master extra skills that will help them stand out from the crowd. Commerce with Spanish is up 35 points to 380, with French it is up five points to 475, and with German it is up five points to 400. Other notable changes at NUI Galway include: Project and construction management, up five points to 325, corporate law down five points to 385, civil law up five points to 450, and medicine is up nine to 729.
At Galway Mayo Institute of Technology the decline in popularity in business related courses was also evident with accounting down 15 points to 285. As the construction industry has been one of the major victims of the recession it was unsurprising that construction management courses have also fallen, with a massive 70 point drop at GMIT bringing it down to 210. Other major changes in the Level 8 honours bachelor degree courses include: Forensic science, down 20 to 380 points; hotel and catering down five to 250; psychiatric nursing in Castlebar down 20 to 380; and design and technology education in Letterfrack up 20 to 445.
In the Level 6 and 7 higher certificate/ordinary bachelor degree courses at GMIT it is clear that the business course here has also taken a hit with a drop of 20 points to 270. There were also notable changes in student interest in courses in the tourism and hospitality industry with hotel and catering management and bar management both down 40 points to 160, tourism management down 25 to 175, and retail and customer service management down 25 to 180, however, the stand alone course of tourism received an increase of 60 points to 210. Construction related courses at this level were also hit with construction management down 90 to 190, construction economics and quantity surveying down 60 to 160, and architectural technology is down 60 points to 230. While civil engineering is down 60 to 220 points other engineering related courses experienced an increase such as computer and electronic engineering and computer and energy systems both up by 15 points to 255. Agriculture and environmental management in Mountbellew also increased by 20 points to 350.
Students have until next Monday to accept first round of CAO offers and are advised to seek advice and look at all their choices before making a final decision. It will be Wednesday August 31, when the CAO will post the second round of offers with closing date for receipt of acceptance for those offers being the following week, on September 7. This will be followed by the third round of offers on October 12.