Making the point

Central Applications Office animated logo, via their siteMany things about Ireland bemuse visitors to our shores. Two of the most difficult to explain are our electoral system and the programme by which third level places are allocated. I’ll leave the former to other election anoraks for the time being, but the latter is much in the news this week, so I’ll try to give a simple account of how it works.

The Central Applications Office (logo, above left) processes all applications to first year undergraduate courses in the country’s various third level institutions. In early summer, students at the end of their secondary (high) school careers sit a state examination, and the results are published in early August. During the course of that final year, most of the students will have filled in a list of their preferred third level courses and returned it to the CAO. In mid-August, the CAO assign university places to students based on their exam results.

Allocation of places is simply a function of demand and supply. A third level institution will inform the CAO of the number of places in a given course, and the CAO’s computer will allot places on the course to the highest qualified applicants who had applied for that course. The grades of the last-admitted candidate can be regarded as the cut-off for qualification for entry to that course.

In the final state exam, each letter grade is assigned a level of points (eg, an A1 is worth 100 points, a C3 is worth 60 points, etc). The CAO takes each candidate’s best 6 grades to calculate the points total of each candidate (eg, a candidate who got six A1s is will have 600 points, a candidate who got six C3s will have 360 points, etc). Hence, the grades of the last-admitted candidate on a course can be represented in terms of these points, and the entry requirement for any given third-level course in any given year can be represented in terms of points.

Scaled up across every applicant for every third-level course, it is clear that the CAO system is a significant undertaking. This year, the first round of offers of places in third level institutions was made yesterday, and the cut-off points levels for their various law degree offerings are below the jump. (Update: I’ve blogged about the second round final points here).

Athlone IT
AL057 Business and Law 250
AL058 Accounting and Law 310

Carlow IT
CW708 Law 320
CW938 Business with Law 300

University College Cork
CK301 Law 485
CK302 Law and French 490
CK303 Law and German 475
CK304 Law and Irish 515
CK305 Law (Clinical) 505
CK306 Law (International) 540

Dublin Business School
DB514 Business and Law 260
DB568 Law 260

Dublin City University
DC230 Economics Politics and Law 405
DC232 Law and Society (BCL) 445

Griffith College Dublin and Griffith College Cork
GC203 Law (Cork) 310
GC403 Law (Dublin) 300
GC404 Business and Law (Dublin) 265

Trinity College Dublin
TR004 Law 515*
TR017 Law and Business 555*
TR018 Law and French 570
TR019 Law and German 510*
TR020 Law and Political Science 560*

University College Dublin
DN009 Law (BCL) 480*
DN021 Business and Law 485
DN028 BCL Maîtrise 530
DN029 Law with French Law (BCL) 545
DN060 Law with History 510
DN065 Law with Politics 510
DN066 Law with Philosophy 515
DN067 Law with Economics 510

NUI Galway
GY101 Arts 355* (depending on subject choice and progression rules, this can lead to a BA in Legal Science)
GY250 Corporate Law 390
GY251 Civil Law 445

Limerick IT
LC231 Law and Taxation 300

University of Limerick
LM020 Law and Accounting 445
LM029 Law Plus 440

NUI Maynooth
MH101 Arts 375 (Law within Arts: Law can be studied with other Arts subjects in first year, and students fulfilling the necessary criteria can transfer to one of the law degrees)
MH115 Law (BCL) and Arts 450
MH406 Law and Business 450

Waterford Institute of Technology
WD079 Business Management with Law 300
WD140 Legal Studies 305

Other law courses administered through the CAO include:

IT Carlow
CW706 Legal Studies 285
CW926 Business with Law 280

Dublin Business School
DB580 Legal Studies AQA
DB581 Legal and Business Studies 160
DB582 Legal Studies AQA
DB583 Legal and Business Studies 135

Letterkenny IT
LY207 Law 145

Waterford IT
WD013 Legal Studies 270

This list follows the order provided by the CAO. The asterisk * means that not all on this points score were offered places, whilst AQA means all qualified applicants were offered places.