Trinity's engineering course offers further study choices
Students who are applying to engineering degree programmes will be interested to know that Trinity College Dublin has added an extra course option of biomedical engineering to its common entry Level 8 Engineering degree programme (TR032).
Students on the programme study general engineering for the first two years and, up to now, select one of five specialisations for the final two years of their degree: civil, structural and environmental; computing; electronic and electrical; mechanical and manufacturing; or electronic and computing. Now students will have a sixth choice.
Ireland has built up a strong concentration of medical companies in recent years, making it a European hub for the manufacture of medical devices and pharmaceuticals. These companies need high-quality graduates at masters and PhD level because of the high technical level of their products.
Biomedical engineers also find employment in hospitals where they work as clinical engineers, responsible for complex, expensive diagnostic equipment and laboratories.
Trinity's engineering programme is what is known as an undenominated, or omnibus, or common entry route -- in other words, you choose your specialisation when you are well into the programme. Some colleges offer more denominated entry routes -- in other words, you choose your branch of study on the CAO application form.
Cork Institute of Technology, Dublin City University, NUI Galway, and the University of Limerick all offer denominated entry routes into biomedical engineering.
Q Is it better to choose a course leading to a specific outcome, or a course with more choices?
A The issue of denominated entry routes versus undenominated or common entry routes (in any faculty) is one that is frequently raised in this column and elsewhere in the debate about college entry. Many people feel that the more time students have before they must make specific choices, the better it is for them.
College applicants are faced with more than 1,200 courses choices through CAO. In some senses, when colleges offer lots of narrow entry routes, students have effectively less choice, because they have to make decisions earlier.
A wrong choice can be devastating for a student and a waste of resources for a college. One of the principal reasons students give for withdrawing from college courses is that they made the wrong course choice. The system as it now operates does not make it easy to change to a more suitable course when you are in college.
At the recent conference organised by Trinity on undergraduate admissions in the 21st Century, Dr Áine Hyland, author of the Hyland report, said that one of the main recommendations arising out of last autumn's conference on Transition from Second to Third-Level Education in Ireland, was that: "The higher education institutions, individually and collectively, should review their undergraduate portfolio with a view to establishing broader entry to undergraduate programmes."
Open days Today, UCD Quinn School of Business hosts an open evening from 5.30pm--7.30pm in UCD Newman House, 85 St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2, covering part-time programmes offered in a distance learning mode by the business school. Tomorrow, Pulse College hosts an open evening from 6.30pm at its Windmill Lane Campus, 20 Ringsend Road, Dublin 4.