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6.1% increase in overseas students for 2004/05

In 2004/05, the total number of students domiciled from countries outside of the UK increased by 6.1 per cent from 300,055 to 318,400. The previous year-on-year increase was 9.0 per cent.

The number of students from the European Union3 increased by 3.2 per cent from 96,845 to 100,005. This growth is largely attributed to the countries that acceded to the EU on 1 May 2004. The accession countries saw an increase of 53.3 per cent of students studying in the UK from 7,300 to 11,190.

The number of students from states that were EU members prior to 1 May 2004 decreased by 0.8 per cent to 88,815. Cyprus continued to be the largest contributor of students from the new member states (5,675 students), whilst Polish students more than doubled in number, from 965 to 2,185.

Table 1 - Number of other Europe students by top ten countries of domicile 2004/05

2004/05 % change 2003/04-2004/05
Norway 3345 -8.5
Russia 2025 7.9
Turkey 1915 -2.4
Switzerland 1500 2.3
Bulgaria 605 9.0
Romania 580 -5.5
Ukraine 525 2.5
Serbia and Montenegro 345 -1.1
Iceland 345 9.1
Albania 235 26.1

Countries outside of the current European Union but within the European geographic region are listed on the left with the percentage change in student numbers from 2003/04. Norway is the biggest contributor of such students to the UK.

Albania displays the largest growth at 26.1 per cent. However, this should be considered in the context of the small numbers of students involved, 190 in 2003/04 and 235 in 2004/05.

Bulgaria and Romania are timetabled to join the EU in January 2007.

Table 2 - Number of students by country of domicile outside of Europe (top 10) 2003/04 and 2004/05

2003/04 2004/05
China 47740 China 52675
India 14625 India 16685
United States 13380 United States 14385
Malaysia 11805 Malaysia 11475
Hong Kong 10575 Hong Kong 10780
Japan 6395 Nigeria 8145
Nigeria 5940 Pakistan 6545
Taiwan 5710 Japan 6180
Pakistan 4380 Taiwan 5880
Singapore 3905 Canada 4190

The table shows China maintaining its position as the number one contributor of overseas students to the UK. These numbers have grown by 10.3 per cent since 2003/04. The increase between 2002/03 and 2003/04 was 35.8 per cent.

Indian student numbers increased by 14.1 per cent and Nigerian students 37.1 per cent. The number of Malaysian students dropped by 2.8 per cent.

Subject of study

Business and administrative studies retained its status as the most popular subject group among first degree students in 2004/05 - 12.4 per cent of students chose programmes of study within this group. Social studies, at 9.5 per cent, was the next most popular subject group at this level. Biological sciences and creative arts & design were third with 9.0 per cent.

This trend is not dissimilar to 2003/04 when business and administrative studies was also the most popular subject group at 12.5 per cent. However, this did mark a 1 percentage point fall from 13.5 per cent in 2002/03. The proportion of students studying social studies has increased by 0.5 percentage points moving this group to second most popular, from third.

The data is published in HESA’s annual report Students in Higher Education Institutions 2004/05, out this month, and is summarised in the table below.

Table 3 - Students by subject area and level of study 2003/04 and 2004/05, percentages

  Higher degrees (research) Higher degrees (taught) Other postgraduate First degree Other undergraduate
  2003/04 2004/05 2003/04 2004/05 2003/04 2004/05 2003/04 2004/05 2003/04 2004/05
Medicine & dentistry 8.2 8.1 1.9 2 1.6 2 3 3.1 0.1 0.1
Subjects allied to medicine 5.7 5.8 7.5 8 8.4 10.3 8.6 8.9 28.4 28.4
Biological sciences 12 11.9 4.6 4.8 1.5 1.4 9.2 9 1.7 1.8
Veterinary science 0.4 0.5 0 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.3 0.3 0 0
Agriculture & related subjects 1.1 1 0.7 0.7 0.1 0.2 0.6 0.6 0.8 0.8
Physical sciences 11 11 2.6 2.5 0.5 0.4 4.1 4.4 0.8 1
Mathematical sciences 2.2 2.3 1.1 1.1 0.5 0.2 1.9 1.9 0.4 0.4
Computer science 4.3 4.7 6.7 6.2 1.9 1.6 7 6.4 5.3 5.2
Engineering & technology 13.2 13 7.8 7.9 2.5 2.7 6.6 6.5 3 3.3
Architecture, building & planning 1.8 1.8 3 3 2.6 2.5 2.3 2.3 1.4 1.4
Social studies 9.4 9.4 9.8 9.9 4.3 4.1 9.2 9.5 7.4 6.4
Law 1.9 2 4.3 4.4 7 6.6 4.7 4.8 0.6 0.7
Business & administrative studies 4.9 5 27.9 27.5 14.7 14.4 12.5 12.4 9.3 8.5
Mass communications & documentation 0.8 0.8 2.8 2.7 0.8 0.9 2.7 2.7 0.8 0.8
Languages 6.4 6.3 3.6 3.5 0.6 0.5 6.6 6.5 7.4 7.1
Historical & philosophical studies 7.5 7.5 3.6 3.4 0.5 0.4 5.1 5 4.2 3.7
Creative arts & design 2.8 2.8 4 4 1 1 8.8 9 3.6 4.1
Education 6.2 6.1 8 8.2 50 49.5 3.5 3.8 9.2 9.8
Combined 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 1.4 1.3 3.3 2.9 15.7 16.4
                     
Supplementary subject information (4)
Psychology 3.3 3.5 2.8 2.9 0.9 0.8 4.1 4.2 0.6 0.7
Geography & environmental sciences 2.5 2.4 1.5 1.4 0.3 0.2 2.2 2.1 0.3 0.3
Economics & politics 4 4.1 4 4 0.6 0.6 3.5 3.6 0.3 0.3
English 2.3 2.4 1.4 1.3 0.2 0.2 3.4 3.3 2.2 2.1

The subjects with the least number of first degree students remained as in 2003/04: mathematical sciences (1.9 per cent), agriculture and related subjects (0.6 per cent) and veterinary science (0.3 per cent).

Notes to editors

  1. Press enquiries should be directed to:
  2. Rounding strategy

    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. In the 2003/04 HESA Student Dataset the countries that acceded to the European Union on 1 May 2004 are not categorised as being part of the EU as they joined after the dataset’s reference date. However, for the purposes of comparison, the EU in this press release includes all of the EU countries as at 1 May 2004 for both 2004/05 and 2003/04 data. The EU countries are: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and The Netherlands.
  4. 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.
  5. The HESA reference volume Students in Higher Education Institutions 2004/05 is an annual publication. The product is available to the public from HESA Customer Services, telephone 01242 211155 for more information.
  6. Table 4 below, shows the underlying data from Table 3 above.

Table 4 - Students by subject area and level of study 2003/04 and 2004/05

  Higher degrees (research) Higher degrees (taught) Other postgraduate First degree Other undergraduate
  2003/04 2004/05 2003/04 2004/05 2003/04 2004/05 2003/04 2004/05 2003/04 2004/05
Medicine & dentistry 9040 9110 5035 5290 2440 2985 36085 38155 365 420
Subjects allied to medicine 6320 6450 19695 21570 12670 15470 104050 109955 145845 146690
Biological sciences 13340 13285 12135 13040 2230 2030 111095 111595 8555 9570
Veterinary science 490 505 85 145 160 175 3310 3545 35 15
Agriculture & related subjects 1260 1130 1905 1855 225 285 7785 7490 4160 4395
Physical sciences 12205 12285 6735 6665 720 660 50040 54030 4025 5050
Mathematical sciences 2480 2560 2845 3040 790 360 22625 23175 2030 2235
Computer science 4780 5275 17565 16875 2840 2360 85140 79800 27325 26970
Engineering & technology 14620 14525 20440 21505 3715 3975 80500 80785 15535 17035
Architecture, building & planning 1955 1960 7760 8185 3855 3810 27275 28310 6990 7445
Social studies 10395 10565 25725 26890 6535 6205 111480 117595 37985 33325
Law 2135 2220 11255 11890 10520 9815 56895 59090 3185 3640
Business & administrative studies 5405 5590 73260 74505 22085 21520 151845 153700 47470 43990
Mass communications & documentation 885 875 7470 7360 1160 1290 32185 33320 3890 3915
Languages 7075 7060 9585 9450 840 730 79950 80460 37775 36875
Historical & philosophical studies 8345 8410 9365 9115 780 625 61980 62210 21505 18885
Creative arts & design 3105 3175 10595 10935 1490 1455 106310 111590 18695 21230
Education 6890 6885 20910 22190 75140 74120 42500 46875 47150 50835
Combined 130 110 325 375 2100 1905 39730 35980 80315 84730
                     
Supplementary subject information (4)
Psychology 3655 3870 7385 7975 1370 1130 49075 51555 2995 3740
Geography & environmental sciences 2795 2655 3825 3815 470 365 27075 26350 1400 1490
Economics & politics 4455 4585 10455 10885 940 950 42075 44490 1655 1380
English 2580 2640 3570 3565 360 300 40605 41280 11110 10630

Ends

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