Applications for arts courses were also down
There has been a significant drop in the number of students choosing third-level courses in computing, maths and physics based sciences.
The CAO says it received 72,643 applications by the February 1st deadline - a 4.5% drop on the previous year.
The Government has been making big efforts to encourage more students into maths and science based courses, but it seems the message is not getting through.
Applications for physical sciences-based courses fell by over one-quarter compared to last year, with a 36% drop in those making it their first preference.
The number of students choosing ICT courses dropped by 13%, while maths and statistics options were down 8%.
Applications for arts courses were also down by a margin of 12%.
In contrast, biological science courses were up 5%, engineering rose 6%, and primary education courses were up 5%.