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Higher Education Statistics for the UK 2007/08 reveals Science and Medicine studies see five year growth

The newly released Higher Education Statistics for the United Kingdom 2007/08 publication from the Higher Education Statistics Agency provides the official overview of the UK's higher education sector. The publication contains data from HESA, the Student Loans Company, OECD, UCAS, the Learning and Skills Council and the HE funding bodies. It has been released according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.

The annual publication gives a clear picture of the subject choices of students. Comparing data from the last five years shows that, while the number of students at higher education institutions has increased by nearly five percent, different subject areas have seen varying levels of growth.

Between 2003/04 and 2007/08 the number of higher education students in Architecture, building and planning has increased by 34.2% while the number of Computer science students fell by 29.3%. Medicine, Biology, Physical sciences and Maths all saw increases of more than 10% over the five years.

The table below shows the total number of HE students by subject area from 2003/04 to 2007/08.

All students at UK HE institutions by subject area 2003/04 to 2007/08
Subject area 2003/04* 2004/05* 2005/06* 2006/07* 2007/08 Percentage change over five years
Medicine & dentistry 50760 53695 57140 60375 61810 21.8%
Subjects allied to medicine 285600 296870 305550 297205 287125 0.5%
Biological sciences 143660 145570 151255 159450 161600 12.5%
Veterinary science 3935 4210 4335 4735 4850 23.2%
Agriculture & related subjects 14830 14735 16865 15685 17680 19.2%
Physical sciences 70265 75080 79170 80000 82130 16.9%
Mathematical sciences 30105 30560 31570 32950 34120 13.3%
Computer science 135235 128360 117035 103880 95575 -29.3%
Engineering & technology 129305 132025 130950 134445 139435 7.8%
Architecture, building & planning 47000 48770 55440 59340 63085 34.2%
Social studies 187290 189425 195460 195920 198875 6.2%
Law 82175 84610 87560 88780 89245 8.6%
Business & administrative studies 292340 290455 294775 300445 310455 6.2%
Mass communications & documentation 44710 45720 46640 46770 47965 7.3%
Languages 132625 131725 136130 136460 136050 2.6%
Historical & philosophical studies 99055 96045 98095 99420 96620 -2.5%
Creative arts & design 139130 147215 154920 158890 158890 14.2%
Education 189625 198120 204210 212860 202300 6.7%
Combined 122530 123070 114140 117085 118300 -3.5%
Total 2200180 2236270 2281240 2304705 2306105 4.8%
  • Source: HESA Higher Education Statistics for the United Kingdom 2003/04 - 2007/08
  • * see Note 6 in Notes to editors
  • Higher Education Statistics for the United Kingdom 2007/08 does not contain HESA student data for the years 2003/04 to 2006/07

Other key points from this year's publication include:

  • The total number of higher education level students studying at further education institutions fell from 177,300 in 2006/07 to 155,340 in 2007/08
  • 196,640 HE level students were studying wholly overseas for qualifications from UK institutions
  • 676,460 students obtained HE qualifications from UK higher education institutions in 2007/08, up from 651,060 students in 2006/07
  • The sector had a total income of £23.4bn, up 10.3%, from £21.3bn in 2006/07
  • 372,455 staff (excluding ‘atypical'**) were working at UK HE institutions, of which 174,945 were academic staff
  • A further 84,560 academic staff were classed as ‘atypical'**
  • There were 588,690 UCAS applicants for 2008 entry, of which 77.6% (456,625) were accepted.

The Higher Education Statistics for the United Kingdom 2007/08 reference volume provides a statistical overview of higher education in the UK. Higher Education Statistics for the United Kingdom 2007/08 is available to purchase as a printed reference volume or on CD from our website or by calling +44 (0) 1242 211155.  Back issues of this publication are also available for purchase.

Notes for editors

  1. Press enquiries should be directed to:
    • Simon Kemp
    • HESA Press Officer
    • 01242 211120
    • [email protected]
    • 95 Promenade, Cheltenham, GL50 1HZ.
  2. In the above data 0, 1, 2 are rounded to 0. All other numbers are rounded up or down to the nearest multiple of 5.
  3. HESA appreciates the collaboration of all the bodies that have made data available for the volume, and in particular that of our colleagues in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), with whom we have worked closely in preparing it, in accordance  with  the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.
  4. HESA data is collected from all publicly funded Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the UK, plus the University of Buckingham, which is a non-publicly-funded institution. The 2007/08 data covers 167 HEIs (132 in England, 12 in Wales, 19 in Scotland and 4 in Northern Ireland).
  5. HESA cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived from the data by third parties.
  6. * Data for 2003/04 to 2006/07 is based on the new 2007/08 standard registration population and excludes students on sabbatical and students who are writing-up. The data for these years will therefore not perfectly match the data previously published in earlier editions of Higher Education Statistics for the United Kingdom. Data for 2003/04 to 2006/07 is not contained in the 2007/08 reference volume.
  7. ** Atypical staff are those with working arrangements that are not permanent, involve complex employment relationships and/or involve work away from the supervision of the normal work provider, only a minimum data set is required
  8. Two music colleges joined the HE sector during the period 2003/04 to 2007/08. This had the effect of increasing student numbers in creative arts and design by approximately 1500.
  9. Definitions of the terms used in this press release follow:

    Definitions

    HESA student data

    The HESA standard registration population includes all higher education students active at a reporting institution in the reporting period 1 August to 31 July.  Students who leave within two weeks of their instance start date, or anniversary of their start date, and are on a course of more than two weeks duration, are not included in the standard registration population.

    Also excluded from this population are:

    1. Dormant students (those who have ceased studying but have not formally de-registered)
    2. Postdoctoral students
    3. Incoming visiting and exchange students
    4. Students where the whole of the programme of study is outside of the UK, and from 2007/08:
    5. Students on sabbatical, and
    6. Writing-up students.

    * Data for 2003/04 to 2006/07 is based on the 2007/08 standard registration population and excludes writing-up and sabbatical students. The data for these years will therefore not perfectly match the data previously published in earlier editions of Higher Education Statistics for the United Kingdom.

    Subject areas

    Subject areas are a standard way of grouping detailed subject codes (JACS codes). A procedure of apportionment is used to reflect the pattern of split courses:

    • Balanced 50% for each of the two subjects
    • Major - Minor 67% and 33%
    • Triple 34%, 33% and 33%.

    The sum of the proportion allocated to each subject studied on a course must equal 100.

    ITT students at undergraduate level who also have specialism subjects recorded (typically, secondary ITT students) are apportioned 50% to the ‘Education' subject area and the remaining 50% is further assigned according to the percentages recommended above. Where no subject other than education is recorded, or where the student is on a PGCE course, apportionment is 100% to the ‘Education' subject area.

    Qualifiers

    The HESA qualifications obtained population is a count of student instances associated with the award of an HE qualification during the HESA reporting period. This includes qualifications awarded from dormant, writing-up and sabbatical status. Incoming visiting and exchange students are excluded from this population. 

    HESA staff data

    Academic staff are defined as academic professionals who are responsible for planning, directing and undertaking academic teaching and research within HE institutions. They also include vice-chancellors, medical practitioners, dentists, veterinarians and other health care professionals who undertake lecturing or research activities.

    **Atypical staff are those with working arrangements that are not permanent, involve complex employment relationships and/or involve work away from the supervision of the normal work provider, only a minimum data set is required.

    HESA finance data

    Financial data relates to the institutions' financial year, i.e. 1 August 2007 to 31 July 2008.

    UCAS data

    Applicants are those who sent an application form to UCAS containing at least one first degree, foundation degree, DipHE, HND, HNC, ADN (Advanced Diploma of Nursing), DNM (Diploma of Nursing & Midwifery) or GDN (Graduate Diploma of Nursing & Midwifery) course application to a UCAS member institution.

    Applications data is the sum of applications from applicants who submitted their application at any time before 30 June but excludes direct applicants and those applicants who applied directly into Clearing. Direct applicants include those who returned a Record of Prior Acceptance (RPA) or an Overseas Partnership Form (OPF).

    Accepted applicants are those who were offered and subsequently accepted a place at a UCAS member institution regardless of the route taken. Accepted applicant data includes applicants who were accepted for deferred entry.

    HE students in FE institutions

    Figures for FE institutions were obtained from the Learning and Skills Council, the Lifelong Learning Wales Record (LLWR) data collection, the Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council (SFC) and the Department for Employment and Learning Northern Ireland.

Ends

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