NUI Galway to welcome 3,500 first years after exceptional year

CAO points have risen in all four colleges at NUI Galway, as the University prepares to welcome 3,500 First Year students later this month.

The University made an extra 190 offers to CAO applicants, as demand for popular programmes intensified after the increases in CAO points.

President of NUI Galway Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, congratulated the class of 2020 who have ‘illustrated resilience’ through the challenges of the past year.

“Managing a safe return to campus and the wellbeing of our students, staff and wider community is our top priority at NUI Galway,” he said.

“We look forward to welcoming our First Year students to their university. While we know it will be a year with a difference and an unusual start to our students’ University journey, it remains an exciting journey where we will endeavour to provide a safe, meaningful on-campus experience for our students with a corresponding reliance on online provision.

“Consistent with our values and respecting the health and safety of our community, we appreciate the work being done by many colleagues and students to ensure a safe return to campus and we ask our university community to support the need for a deepened sense of responsibility for the collective good for the new academic year ahead.”

CAO points have risen across all four of NUI Galway’s Colleges and across many of its programmes.

  • A strong focus on public health remains a high priority with a significant surge in points for Nursing, Health Sciences, Medicine and Psychology programmes that offer future careers aimed at improving health and wellbeing. This follows a trend in recent years of increased interest in fields of study with the potential for graduates to have a powerful and positive impact on the world around them.
  • Similarly, demand for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) programmes grew, with NUI Galway’s strong reputation for excellence in Biomedicine once again resulting in points increases for Biomedical Science.
  • The traditional professions like Law, Accounting and Business all saw an increase in points as applicants opted for programmes with clearly defined career paths.
  • NUI Galway introduced four new programmes this year: a BSc in Geography and Geosystems; two new Law degrees: Law and Taxation and Law: Criminology and Criminal Justice; and a BSc in Genetics and Genomics, and all proved popular choices for applicants.
  • Arts programmes also saw points increases for Creative Arts options and in particular, Music; Film and Digital Media; and Drama, Theatre and Performance courses, reflecting Galway’s cultural and artistic reputation as the European Capital of Culture for 2020.

For incoming First Year students, an undergraduate orientation will take place in the week commencing 21 September in a safe way, adhering to Covid-19 public health guidelines.

Orientations will comprise of a mix of online and on-campus activities to help students familiarise themselves with the university, understand the structures and demands of student life, learn about the supports available to them and get to know their fellow classmates who will in time become lifelong friends.

NUI Galway is putting in place a ‘Pre-Orientation Outreach’ initiative to individually call all incoming First Year students.

The initiative involves the Chaplaincy team calling (and text to unanswered call) all incoming First Year students who accepted their place in NUI Galway, to welcome and introduce the students to the University.

Jimmy McGovern, Support Worker at NUI Galway’s Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care Centre, said: “We believe it is important to connect with our new students – to congratulate them on accepting their course, to let them know what being a student in NUI Galway will look like, and to welcome them into our University community.”

A comprehensive blended learning model of online and on-campus teaching will be provided this year to ensure a top quality educational experience – delivering on students’ expectations and learning outcomes.

NUI Galway is building on-campus learning to ensure a meaningful student experience. This will be delivered through a mix of on-campus tutorials, seminars, distanced meet-ups and/or laboratories, based on the needs of various courses. At all times capacity in rooms will conform to public health advice.

Large-scale lectures will be adapted for online delivery, as well as some smaller classes where it is not possible and safe to deliver them on-campus.

The majority of online lectures will not be timetabled in specific slots but will instead be made available in advance of any related timetabled classes such as seminars, tutorials and lab work.

Other online lectures will be provided through podcasts, other digital platforms, interactive Q&As, a mix of online real-time tutorials and lectures, and the ‘Covid and Philosophy’ project, which involves projects for assessment but also an end of year public presentation of results.

A dedicated First Year Hotline is now open to answer questions and help students, parents and guardians as they prepare for an academic year with a difference, college studies and college life at NUI Galway.

Galway Daily