Maynooth University to halve number of entry routes

Maynooth University aim to cut the number of entry routes it lists on the CAO by half before Sept 2016 in a bid to give school-leavers more flexibility in their study options.

The university also plans to become the first college in Ireland to offer prospective students a joint arts and science degree as part of a major revamp of its undergraduate curriculum.

This plan is set to be phased in over the course of 18 months and NUI Maynooth say it will reduce the number of course entry routes from 50, at present, to less than 25.

One of the major changes to programmes at Maynooth University is a combined arts and science entry route that will allow students to choose modules from each discipline. They could then complete either a twinned degree, the first of its type in Ireland, or else a BA or a BSc.

President of Maynooth University, Prof Philip Nolan said at the start of the academic year that by 2017, “at most Maynooth would have 20 entry routes, perhaps 15”.

The third-level institution, which changed its name from NUI Maynooth to Maynooth University on September 1st last year, is undergoing a rebranding exercise and hopes to reverse a trend across the sector of forcing school-leavers into narrow college entry routes.

Minister for Education and Skills Jan O’Sullivan welcomed the reforms and has been urging colleges to introduce broader entry routes for students. This was aimed at simplifying the CAO process and allowing students to specialise later in higher education.

A number of colleges have agreed to cut their number under an Irish Universities Association taskforce plan. University College Dublin has already cut the number of course codes it lists on the CAO from 56 to 45, and other colleges are encouraged to do likewise.

Betty McLaughlin, president of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors, in an interview with the Irish Examiner said Maynooth was moving towards “a fair, simplified” entry route. “All guidance counsellors nationwide enthusiastically support this and would urge all other universities to follow suit.”

Jade O’Leary

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