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Business and admin studies is most popular subject

9 percent increase in overseas students for 2003/04

The most popular subject group among first degree students in 2003/04 was business and administrative studies with 12.5 per cent of students choosing programmes of study within this group. Biological sciences and social studies were the second most popular subject groups each with 9.2 per cent.

Business and administrative studies was also the most popular subject group in 2002/03 (13.5 per cent). Creative arts and design was the second most popular with 9.2 per cent of first degree students and social studies third with 9.0 per cent.

The data is revealed in the annual HESA publication Students in Higher Education Institutions 2003/04 published today. The subjects with the least number of students were mathematical sciences (1.9 per cent), agriculture and related subjects (0.6 per cent) and veterinary science (0.3 per cent).

Students by subject area and level of study 2002/03 and 2003/04, percentages
  Higher degrees (research) Higher degrees (taught) Other postgraduate First degree Other undergraduate
    2002/03 2003/04   2002/03 2003/04   2002/03 2003/04   2002/03 2003/04   2002/03 2003/04
Medicine & dentistry   8 8.2   1.9 1.9   1.5 1.6   3 3   0.1 0.1
Subjects allied to medicine   5.7 5.7   7.4 7.5   7.1 8.4   8.5 8.6   23.8 28.4
Biological sciences   11.7 12   4.7 4.6   1 1.5   8.7 9.2   1 1.7
Veterinary science   0.4 0.4   0 0   0.1 0.1   0.3 0.3   0 0
Agriculture & related subjects   1.3 1.1   0.8 0.7   0.3 0.1   0.7 0.6   0.7 0.8
Physical sciences   11.2 11   2.4 2.6   0.4 0.5   4.4 4.1   0.7 0.8
Mathematical sciences   2.3 2.2   0.8 1.1   0.8 0.5   1.8 1.9   0.2 0.4
Computer science   4 4.3   7.7 6.7   1.2 1.9   7.5 7   4.7 5.3
Engineering & technology   13.2 13.2   8 7.8   2.2 2.5   7.3 6.6   2.6 3
Architecture, building & planning   1.7 1.8   3 3   2.5 2.6   2.4 2.3   1.2 1.4
Social studies   9.1 9.4   9.3 9.8   3.8 4.3   9 9.2   5.6 7.4
Law   2.3 1.9   4.6 4.3   6.8 7   4.6 4.7   0.6 0.6
Business & administrative studies   5 4.9   28.5 27.9   14.3 14.7   13.5 12.5   7.3 9.3
Mass communications & documentation   0.7 0.8   2.9 2.8   0.8 0.8   2.7 2.7   0.6 0.8
Languages   6.5 6.4   3.5 3.6   0.7 0.6   7.1 6.6   6.2 7.4
Historical & philosophical studies   7.6 7.5   3.4 3.6   0.5 0.5   4.7 5.1   3.3 4.2
Creative arts & design   3.2 2.8   3.8 4   1 1   9.2 8.8   3 3.6
Education   6 6.2   7.1 8   44.4 50   3.6 3.5   6.7 9.2
Combined   0.1 0.1   0.1 0.1   10.7 1.4   0.9 3.3   31.8 15.7
                               
Supplementary subject information(3)   3.2 3.3   2.8 2.8   0.7 0.9   3.5 4.1   0.3 0.6
Psychology   3.2 3.3   2.8 2.8   0.7 0.9   3.5 4.1   0.3 0.6
Geography & environmental sciences   2.7 2.5   1.5 1.5   0.3 0.3   2.4 2.2   0.5 0.3
Economics & politics   3.7 4   3.5 4   0.6 0.6   3.6 3.5   0.2 0.3
English   2.5 2.3   1.3 1.4   0.3 0.2   3.4 3.4   1.9 2.2

Non-UK students

The total number of students domiciled from countries outside of the UK in 2003/04 increased by 9 per cent from 275,270 to 300,055. The previous year-on-year increase was 13.4 per cent. A closer look at these figures reveals a fall in the number of students from European Union countries of 1.1 per cent, from 90,580 in 2002/03 to 89,545 in 2003/04.

The number of EU students rose between 2001/02 and 2002/03 by 0.5 per cent. However, between 2000/01 and 2001/02 EU student numbers fell by 4.7 per cent.

The countries that acceded on 1 May 2004 were not part of the EU at the time of data collection so these students are examined separately. In 2003/04 there were 7,300 students from the accession countries. This is a growth of 8.2 per cent on the previous year. The majority of these students were from Cyprus (4,210) and Poland (965).

Between 2001/02 and 2002/03 the numbers of these students grew by 2.4 per cent. This followed a growth of 1.1 per cent between 2000/01 and 2001/02.

Number of other Europe students by country of domicile 2003/04
2003/04   % change 2002/03-2003/04
Norway 3655 -0.1
Turkey 1960 11.7
Russia 1880 7.4
Switzerland 1465 11.0
Romania 615 15.0
Bulgaria 555 6.7
Ukraine 510 5.2
Yugoslavia 350 -5.4
Iceland 315 8.6
Croatia 225 40.6
Albania 190 2.7
Liechtenstein 15 0.0

Countries outside of the current European Union but within the European geographic region are listed on the left with the percentage change from 2002/03. Norway is the biggest contributor of such students to the UK.

The next most significant countries are Turkey, Russia and Switzerland. These countries have shown a growth of 11.7, 7.4 and 11.0 per cent respectively since 2002/03.

Croatia displays the largest growth at 40.6 per cent. However, this should be considered in the context of the small numbers of students involved, 160 in 2002/03 and 225 in 2003/04.

 

Number of students by country of domicile outside of Europe (top 10) 2002/03 and 2003/04
2002/03   2003/04  
China (People's Republic of) 35155 China (People's Republic of) 47740
India 12465 India 14625
Malaysia 11780 United States 13380
United States 11630 Malaysia 11805
Hong Kong 10105 Hong Kong 10575
Japan 6300 Japan 6395
Taiwan 5465 Nigeria 5940
Nigeria 4585 Taiwan 5710
Singapore 4250 Pakistan 4380
Canada 3540 Singapore 3905

The table to the left shows China maintaining its position as the number one contributor of students to the UK. These numbers have grown by 35.8 per cent since 2002/03.

The list of countries has remained largely the same although Pakistan which is omitted from the list for 2002/03 has risen from 12th position, meanwhile, Canada has fallen to 11th.

Notes to editors

  1. Press enquiries should be directed to:
  2. Due to the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Human Rights Act 1998, HESA implements a strategy in published and released tabulations designed to prevent the disclosure of personal information about any individual. These tabulations are derived from the HESA non-statutory populations and may differ slightly from those published by related statutory bodies. This strategy involves rounding all numbers to the nearest 5. A summary of this strategy is as follows:
    • 0, 1, 2 are rounded to 0
    • All other numbers are rounded to the nearest 5.

    So for example 3 is represented as 5, 22 is represented as 20, 3286 is represented as 3285 while 0, 20, 55, 3510 remain unchanged.

  3. Numbers reported under supplementary subject information are within and not additional to the overall total, but are disaggregated from it on a different pattern from the 19 subject areas.
  4. The HESA reference volume Students in Higher Education Institutions 2003/04 is an annual publication. The product is available to the public from HESA Customer Services, telephone 01242 211155 for more information.

Ends

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