NCAD Welcomes Highest Number of Students Ever

College has grown to become largest art and design provider in the State

The National College of Art and Design (NCAD) today announced that it has become the largest provider of art and design education in Ireland.  The 2014 / 2015 academic year got underway at the College today, with 1,500 students converging on the campus in Dublin 8. 

320 students were entering NCAD today for the first time. The College now has the highest intake at first year of all art and design institutions nationwide, with 99 per cent of its new entrants choosing NCAD as their first-preference college on the CAO application.

Overall, this year’s undergraduate student numbers represent a 35 per cent increase in the student population at NCAD since 2011.  NCAD has increased its first-year intake by 75 per cent over the past three years, in line with the College’s ambitions for growth and buoyed by a recent change to the degree course structure. 

Commenting today, Professor Declan McGonagle, Director of NCAD, said: “The beginning of the academic year is always an exhilarating time for the College, when we are welcoming a new cohort of students to campus, and also welcoming back those in the midst of their studies.  NCAD is currently undergoing a process of change, and this year’s boost in student numbers is testament to the success of the changes we’ve been making. 

“We have restructured the framework for many of our courses, and we are moving from a four-year undergraduate model to promoting the concept of studying for three years at undergraduate level and then completing a two-year post-graduate qualification.  This is in keeping with international best practice.  It also ensures NCAD continues to turn out highly-skilled art and design graduates, who make a valuable contribution to Ireland’s economy and society. 

Creative skills are in high demand from leading global employers because creative graduates add value at the highest levels of industry.  It is encouraging to see that, recently, more value is being placed on the significant socio-economic contribution made by the creative industries, both by global leaders and here at home.  We welcome the recent policy announcement on foreign direct investment by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, for example, which highlights that – in order to compete effectively – Ireland must crucially differentiate itself by increasing our capabilities in terms of problem-solving, creativity, design-thinking and adaptability.

“We know that creative graduates have a key role to play in adding value to the economy and to Irish society, and creative skills have huge potential for quickening the pace of economic recovery and social development. For this reason, the sector must be nurtured and invested in, if this contribution is to be sustained in the face of real funding pressures.”

Above-Average Progression Rate
NCAD also announced today that the College has an excellent progression rate, with 94 per cent of students progressing from first year to second year, which is well above the sector average.

“The fact that we have such a high progression rate indicates that students have made an informed choice in coming to NCAD and are committed to art and design and the College,” said Professor McGonagle. “They have also demonstrated their interest and ability in the area of art and design through the entrance portfolio.  The high progression rate is also indicative of the very positive atmosphere at NCAD and the excellent working relationships that exist between our academic staff and their students.”

Of all first-year entrants, 60 per cent are non-school leavers, which demonstrates the focused effort that the College has placed on increasing access rates for students who are not entering the College directly after school. The new student intake also has a wide geographic spread, with 46 per cent of new entrants from outside Dublin, confirming NCAD's national role.

Professor McGonagle continued: “NCAD has been the most significant provider of art and design education in Ireland for over 250 years.  We are delighted that, due to the high number of first-year undergraduate students starting with us today, we are also now the largest provider.”

For further information contact: Martina Quinn / Sarah Harte, DHR Communications, Tel: 01-4200580 / 087-6522033 / 087-9858259.