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Higher ATAR makes university science places harder to get into

The Age    |    16   December 2013

An analysis of Victorian ATAR results from the past five years shows gaining entry into top undergraduate science degrees is getting harder.

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courses-ALW-620x349ATARs have risen despite an increasing number of places in many courses.

The analysis revealed science-related courses have accounted for 15 of the top 20 degrees in which the final cutoff scores have increased most from 2009 to 2013.

The biggest increase was for computer science at Monash University, which required 70 in 2009 but demanded almost 85 this year.

The ATARs for science at Melbourne and Monash universities hit a five-year high, requiring 91.95 and 82 respectively in 2013, while recording some of the biggest increases in student places.  Almost 2000 science places were offered at Melbourne in 2013, 689 more than 2009.  A further 925 were offered in science at Monash in 2013, 206 more than 2009.

Education Department figures show the biggest increases in tertiary applications throughout Australia since 2009 have been in science, health and engineering, with the number of applications for science courses surging 40% to 24,183 in 2013.

Applications for health courses jumped 25% and engineering spiked by 12%.

The biggest proportional increase in intake has been in exercise science at Victoria University, which almost tripled its intake. Its ATAR cutoff has dropped nearly 20 points.

Interest in architecture and management courses has dropped and applications for arts units increased by just 0.4%.

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