New data from the Central Applications Office (CAO) has revealed a 19% decline in the number of students selecting a Level 8 agriculture course as their first preference in this year's list.

Last year, 485 students had agriculture as their first preference, compared with 393 this year.

The number of total mentions of agriculture courses on students' CAO applications is also down by 12%.

In 2023, 2,405 students had a Level 8 agriculture course listed compared with 2,106 this year.

Interdisciplinary programmes and qualifications involving agriculture, forestry and veterinary have experienced a 10% drop compared with 2023.

Fight for veterinary places

Students' interest in veterinary remains strong, with 908 first preferences for Level 8 courses, compared with 876 in 2023, representing a 4% increase.

Level 7/6 courses are the same, with a 1% increase in the number of students putting it down as their first choice.

With roughly 85 places available in University College Dublin (UCD), places remain limited.

There has been no further announcement about additional places for this year, with four colleges still shortlisted for the new vet school.

Course classifications and preferences

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