The least and most popular undergraduate courses in the UK

Female students were more likely to select medical-related subjects, while male students favoured business degrees, according to data from Hesa

April 20 2018
Theology study

The most popular undergraduate degrees among female students in the UK in 2016/17 were those allied to medicine, while the most popular subjects for male students were business and administrative studies. 

Course data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency were analysed by training course provider The Knowledge Academy to determine the most and least popular undergraduate courses in the UK in 2016/17. 

The most popular courses for female undergraduate students were those allied to medicine, with 136,215 students enrolled during the academic year. The second most popular choice was business and administration subjects.

The least popular course for female students was veterinary science, with only 4,345 students choosing it. 

The most popular course chosen by male first-year undergraduates were business and administrative related subjects, with 119,515 enrolled students in 2016/17. 

The next most popular course for male students was engineering and technology. Following the same pattern as female students, again, the least popular course was veterinary science. 


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Top five most popular undergraduate courses for females in 2016/17

Rank Subject Number of applicants
1 Subjects allied to medicine 136,215
2 Business and administrative subjects 113,270
3 Biological sciences 111,945
4 Social studies 99,895
5 Creative arts and design 97,470

Top five least popular undergraduate courses for females

Rank Subject Number of applicants
1 Veterinary science 4,345
2 Agriculture and related subjects 6,470
3 Architecture, building and planning 11,460
4 Computer science 12,115
5 Mathematical sciences 13,700

Top five most popular courses for male students

Rank Subject Number of applicants
1 Business and administrative studies 119, 515
2 Engineering and technology 97,205
3 Computer science 67,885
4 Biological sciences 66,720
5 Social studies 60,965

Top five least popular courses for male students

Rank Subject Number of applicants
1 Veterinary science 1,110
2 Agriculture and related subjects 2,770
3 Education 7,710
4 Mass communications and documentation 16,945
5 Medicine and dentistry 19,565

Read more: Which subject should you study at university?

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