CAO applications take on a green hue as students target environment study
The growing demand among school-leavers to study a Stem course at college is taking on a green hue.
The final breakdown of CAO applications for this year confirms the burgeoning appetite for degrees in science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem).
But within that Stem family, some programmes with an environmental focus have seen a particular surge in interest.
The CAO has released updated statistics following the Change of Mind process, which allows applicants to vary their original choices, as well as taking account of late applications since the original February deadline.
Total applications stand at 77,415, up 0.3pc on this time last year, but with a difference in trends between demand for honours degrees (Level 8) - up 1.5pc - and ordinary degree/certificate (Level 7/6) courses, which are down 2pc.
The latest figures confirm some shifts evident in February's CAO deadline, with an overall 12pc bounce in Level 8 engineering first preferences, an 11pc rise for inter-disciplinary programmes involving natural sciences, maths and statistics, and physical sciences up 10pc.
The growing appeal of courses with an environmental focus is seen at University College Dublin (UCD), where first preferences for its BSc city planning and environmental policy are up 117pc, while applications for its B AgrSc agri-environmental sciences programme have risen 47pc. Demand for Dublin City University's BSc in environmental science is up 85pc.
Overall, courses in the environment category are up 25pc.
Applicants' keen eye on the employability factor is also evident in the 24pc increase in demand to study languages, reflecting the needs of business and industry in a globalised world - although business courses themselves have seen a general 4pc drop in interest.
And law has dipped in popularity since February, when it showed an above-average 8pc rise in first preference applications - by this month it has levelled back to a 2pc increase.
However, Maynooth University is one of those to buck that trend with a 12pc rise in applications for law.
Primary teaching has seen a dip in applications since February, and it is down 1pc on last year but, with much-publicised staffing shortages in second-level schools and enrolments set to grow for almost a decade, there is a 12pc rise for post-primary teaching courses.
However, as hospitals cry out for staff, nursing applications are down 6pc and medicine has dipped 1pc. Veterinary medicine is also down, by 4pc, while pharmacy is up 19pc.