New figures obtained by the Irish Times show that between 2004 and 2013 71.7% of Trinity students graduated with either a first or a 2.1, making it the Irish university with the highest rate of such degrees being awarded. DCU and UCC were the next highest, with 64.3% and 64.2% respectively of their students graduating with firsts or 2.1s, followed by UCD on 55.8%, NUI Galway on 54.7%, Maynooth University on 53.7% and the University of Limerick with 50.2%.
The course with the highest rate of success in Trinity is the Bachelor’s in Psychology, with only eight out of 301 students between 2004 and 2013 failing to achieve a 2.1 or a first Last year, 13 of the 32 students — or over 40% — taking final exams received a first. Conversely, the hardest course to get a first in is medicine. In the last decade only 38 of 1,263 Trinity graduates in medicine got a first, which translates to just 3% of commencing students.
In recent years, third-level grading has come under fire from some commentators and academics. Some have suggested that grade inflation has come into Irish universities and that strict stringent measures are needed to make sure standards are reached across all third level institutions, while others feel the numbers reflect the changing nature of education. In Trinity’s case, when asked to explain the figures for the psychology course by the Irish Times, College said that it “attracts exceptionally bright cohorts of students who achieve a very high standard which is vetted by a wide range of external examiners”.