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Saturday, December 17, 2016

Entry into General Science to be Restructured for New 2018/19 Students | The University Times

Photo: Eleanor O'Mahony
"Students filling in their CAO will choose from four new strands. The change comes as part of the Trinity Education Project." inform Eleanor O'Mahony, Senior Staff Writer.
Photo: Sinéad Baker for The University Times

The structure for entry into general science is to be changed for the 2018/19 intake of students. Applicants will choose from four new strands: physical sciences, chemical sciences, biological and biomedical sciences, and geography and geoscience.

Entrance into current direct-entry science courses – nanoscience, medicinal chemistry, chemistry with molecular modelling, human genetics and earth sciences – will be absorbed into these four entry routes. The changes were approved by University Council on November 30th.

Speaking to The University Times about the new entry routes, Prof Chris Morash, Trinity’s Vice-Provost and Chief Academic Officer and Sponsor of the Trinity Education Project, which is seeking to restructure College’s undergraduate curriculum, said that the new entry structure will “make sense” to incoming students. “What they will allow students to do is to come in through a broad door.”

These sweeping changes follow a review of general science in 2015, which was led by the college’s Quality Office and involved external examination. The main recommendation was the introduction of streams to provide transparency to the process of specialisation for both students and staff.

Currently, students applying to study science fill their CAO with the course code TR071 for general science. The restructured system will mean that applicants will have to select the course code for their chosen stream on their CAO.

Students wishing to study nanoscience, medicinal chemistry, chemistry with molecular modelling, human genetics and earth sciences currently apply for these directly on their CAO. These courses have fewer places and have traditionally required much higher points than general science due to their popularity and small class sizes.

The review concluded that separate entry to these five small-quota courses put students under pressure to achieve high points. Furthermore, it was decided that it was too early for students to choose their moderatorship and that it was better for all science students to start off with more options. This decision followed government pressure to reduce the number of these small-quota courses.

The Undergraduate Science Education Working Group, which is overseeing this change, is chaired by Prof Kevin Mitchell, the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Science Education. The Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) Science Convener also sits on this committee.

At a student consultation meeting, which was hosted by the Engineering Maths and Sciences (EMS) Convener of TCDSU, Niall Cooke, Mitchell emphasised the importance of student feedback. He also spoke about how these changes are in line with the ethos of the Trinity Education Project, which favours a programmatic structure and formative assessment and is looking to introduce a system of core modules, approved modules and elective modules, meaning that students will study disciplines not part of their code degree structures.

Source: The University Times