Fall in demand for ag science and veterinary courses in 2022

The Central Applications Office (CAO) has released 2022 application data which shows demand for a number of agricultural science courses has decreased on the previous year.

The number of students that applied for higher education via the form was lower than the year before with a total of 78,012 applications being lodged, 1,164 less than the previous year.

There were three categories presented in the report relating to the agriculture industry including ‘agriculture‘ (A) , ‘integrated programs and qualifications involving agriculture, forestry and veterinary‘ (AFV) and ‘veterinary‘ (v).

Courses in category A include agricultural science at National University of Ireland Galway (NUI Galway) and Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT), agri-business at Institute of Technology Carlow (ITC) and NUI Galway, and food science at University College Dublin (UCD ).

These courses were mentioned on CAO forms significantly less this year than in 2021. The total number of mentions fell from 2,359 to 1,903 which represents a 19% drop.

Furthermore, the number of times courses in this category were mentioned as the student’s first choice was also down. In 2021, 422 people put these courses as their top preference, however that figure fell by 18% this year.

In comparison, the number of students that mentioned courses in the AFV category on their application forms rose on the previous year.

Agricultural science at UCD, University College Cork (UCC) and National University of Ireland Maynooth (NUI Maynooth) as well as agricultural engineering and agricultural biosciences at NUI Maynooth, all come under this category.

There was a 13% jump in the number of times this category was included on an application form in comparison to the previous year and these courses were also mentioned as a first preference 16 more times than they were in 2021.

The veterinary category experienced the most significant decrease in demand. There was a 77% drop in the number of times courses including veterinary medicine and veterinary nursing at UCD, NUI Maynooth and the Technological University of the Shannon (TUS) were mentioned on application forms this year.

These courses were also included on application forms as a first preference by fewer students this year with 345 people doing so, in comparison to 422 last year.

The data provided in the report may change when late applications are taken into account following the close of the change of mind facility on July 1, 2022 at 5:00p.m.