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Students sitting the Leaving Certificate at Belvedere College in Dublin Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland
Third Level

Science, business and agriculture courses increase in CAO popularity

However teaching, medicine and arts have all dropped.

SCIENCE, AGRICULTURE AND BUSINESS courses have proved popular among CAO applicants this year, while arts and teaching degrees have seen a decrease in applications.

Figures released by the Central Applications Office today show the number of first preference applications for science degrees has risen by almost 4 per cent this year.

Agriculture and horticulture courses rose by 6.6 per cent while business and administration courses increased by just over 4 per cent.

Other courses which saw slight increases included physiotherapy (up 1.09 per cent) and nursing (up 0.5 per cent).

At the same time, teaching saw the single biggest drop in numbers with a decrease of more than 8 per cent on last year’s first preference applications. Arts and social science courses fell by 4.5 per cent while law, medicine, pharmacy and dentistry all saw drops of between 2.7 per cent and 6.4 per cent.

Arts and social science courses remain the most popular overall with almost 15,000 applicants including one as their first preference for a degree course this year.

The second most popular choice was business and administration courses with just over 9,000 first preferences, followed by science (8,468) and nursing (5,807).

As well as a change in the types of courses students are choosing, there has also been a drop in the overall number of applicants to the CAO. Level 8 (honour degree) applicants fell by 1.7 per cent this year, while level 7/6 (ordinary degrees and higher certificates) saw a bigger fall from 40,000 applicants to 37,400 – a decrease of 6.8 per cent.

Read: Fee-paying schools have extra €81.3 million for teachers and facilities >

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