Common Entry Courses Give Space to Specialise

By Gemma Creagh - Last update

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Imagine it was possible to extend the time limit for refining college choices beyond the final CAO change of mind deadline of 1 July? Common entry courses at Waterford Institute of Technology do just that.

Seven of WIT’s 70 CAO courses are common entry courses, which means that students refine the areas they want to specialise in after starting college.

Ideal For CAO Applicants

A common entry course is ideal for CAO applicants who know what area they broadly want to get into but don’t know which area they would like to specialise in.

Decide Later

Each of these courses works in different ways, however, the main thing they have in common is that students don’t have to decide on the area they want to specialise in straight away – they have time to choose, time to learn what is right for them.

The benefit of this to students is that they don’t find themselves studying a niche course that they discover is not for them too late.

Courses That Give Time to Choose

Bachelor of Business (Hons)

Time to choose: 2 years

Number of options: 5


Economics and Finance
Human Resource Management (HRM)

There are three options on the CAO. CAO applicants who are undecided on choices should choose WD048 GEN. In September students can change their specialisation and language options. The key benefit is students only have to finalise your specialisation option at the end of Year 2.


Time to choose: 1 semester

Number of options: 4

WD007 or BEng (Hons) in Engineering (Common Entry) is the gateway for the following Level 8 BEng (Hons) degrees:

BEng (Hons) in Sustainable Energy Engineering
BEng (Hons) in Sustainable Civil Engineering
BEng (Hons) in Electronic Engineering
BEng (Hons) in Electrical Engineering

In semester 1, students explore each of the different engineering disciplines via the ‘Introduction to Engineering’ module. Students start to specialise in one of the four specialist engineering areas in Semester 2 of Year 1 and further specialise in the next three years.

Health Sciences

Time to choose: 1 year

Number of options: 2

The BSc (Hons) in Health Sciences (Common Entry) is the gateway for:

BSc (Hons) in Applied Health Care
BSc (Hons) in Public Health and Health Promotion

In the first year students get an opportunity to study two areas of health care in both semesters including Applied Health Care and Public Health & Health Promotion and if uncertain about which area of health science to study, a decision on which area they would like to focus on does not have to be made until the end of first year. From second year onwards the student chooses to study either Applied Health Care or Public Health & Health Promotion.

Exercise Sciences

Time to choose: 2 years

Number of options: 3

Exercise Sciences (Common Entry) has three specialist exit pathways. Towards the end of your second year of the common entry degree programme you will be asked to select one of them to study in order to obtain your final award:

BSc (Hons) in Sport & Exercise Science
BSc (Hons) in Nutrition & Exercise Science
BSc (Hons) in Health & Exercise Science

Bachelor of Arts (Hons)

Time to choose: Decide on your Major in September

Number of options: 7 majors, 13 minor subjects

Arts students can postpone their choice of majors and minors until September of first year when they choose one major and two minors.

In years 2 and 3 they continue to study that chosen major and one of their chosen minor subjects.


Time to choose: 1 year

Number of options: 4

Science (Common Entry) Degree Options

BSc (Hons) in Pharmaceutical Science
BSc (Hons) in Molecular Biology with Biopharmaceutical Science
BSc (Hons) in Food Science and Innovation
BSc (Hons) in Physics for Modern Technology

At the end of year 1, students must confirm their degree option and may change their selection up to that date.

Applied Computing

Time to choose: 1 year

Number of options: 6

WD001 (AAS) – Automotive and Automation Systems
WD001 (CFS) – Computer Forensics and Security
WD001 (CLN) – Cloud and Networks
WD001 (GAD)- Games Development
WD001 (MED) – Media Development
WD001 (IOT) – Internet of Things

At the end of year 1, students must confirm their degree option and may change their selection up to that date. In years 2, 3, and 4 you will take a specialism or `stream’.

Choosing between different disciplines
Common entry isn’t for everyone – some people are very clear about what is right for them and will have niche or very specific courses at the top of their list. For others who are undecided between two very different disciplines e.g. Business and Engineering they will have to do a bit of extra research.

A person who cannot decide between engineering and business for example is best advised to do as much research as possible from attending open days and evenings to contacting lecturers.

One of the common questions asked every year is ‘Can I get offered my second choice if I’ve already been offered my first choice and don’t want it?’ The answer is no. So do put your list in order of genuine preference.


Gemma Creagh

GMIT and Canadian College – Joint International Hospitality Course
Using Behavioural Science to Solve Business Challenges


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