3.2 Programme areas and subjects

Core subjects, core programme subjects and elective programme subjects

Common core subjects are obligatory subjects on both vocational and general study programmes. There are more stringent requirements for core subjects on general study programmes than on vocational study programmes.

Core programme subjects are subjects that are obligatory on a given study programme. With the exception of the Programme for Specialisation in General Studies with Arts, Crafts and Design, all study programmes incorporate core programme subjects. Elective programme subjects are optional subjects within a given study programme.

At Vg2 level, pupils choose which programme area they wish to pursue within their wider study programme.

The programme area for languages, social sciences and economics is most popular

53 per cent of pupils on the Specialisation in General Studies programme choose the programme area for languages, social sciences and economics, 41 per cent choose maths, sciences and technology, and 3 per cent choose arts, crafts and design.

The largest programme area on the Healthcare, Childhood and Youth Development programme is healthcare followed by childcare and youth work. 83 per cent of pupils enrolled on the Healthcare, Childhood and Youth Development programme have chosen one of these programme areas. There are 3,200 pupils studying healthcare at Vg2 level, making it the largest vocational programme area.

More boys than girls study physics and maths for the natural sciences

Maths is one of the core sciences and consequently attracts the largest number of pupils of all the science subjects. Other major science subjects are physics with 14,000 pupils, chemistry with 14,400 pupils and biology with 11,400 pupils. There are considerable gender differences between the science subjects. More boys do physics and mathematics for the natural sciences, while girls are more likely to choose biology and chemistry.

Figure 3.2 Boys and girls by selected scientific subjects. 2015-16. Per cent.


Source: Directorate for Education and Training