Degree choices have changed over the last decade. Courses that were popular in the last ten years are losing their top rankings. And the pattern is bound to change even further.
According to UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service), more than 500,000 applicants successfully secured places in UK universities and colleges in 2014, up nearly 3.4% on the previous year with the overall acceptance ratio steady at around 73%.
Applications have risen by around 20% with around 2.4 million applications in 2007 and 2.8 million applications in 2014 (each person can make five applications).
These numbers show how the patterns of applications to different subjects changed over the years.
Many subjects suffered a downturn in 2012 when fees of £9,000 were introduced. Some subjects have bounced back from that dip better than others, though UCAS indicates that current demand levels are slightly lower than they would have been without the fee hike.
Computer science is consistently in the top 10 for applications – but also has one of the highest dropout rates.
According to the US National Centre for Educational Statistics (NCES) of the 1,716,000 bachelor’s degrees conferred in 2010-11, the most popular areas were business (365,000), social sciences and history (177,000), health professions and related programs (143,000), education (104,000), and psychology (101,000).
US data analysts, Media Factual, who host the CollegeFactual.com website, identify business as the most popular current degree programme followed by psychology, nursing, biology, teacher training, criminology, accounting, humanities, English and history.
According to NCES, business studies has been accounting for around 20% of all undergraduate degrees in the US since the mid-70s.
For comparison, the corresponding figure for business and related areas in the UK is around 10% and has been steady at that rate for nearly a decade.
Education-related degrees in the US have fallen from around 21% in 1970 to approximately 6% now.
However, the largest rises have been in the miscellaneous catch-all category of “other fields” which has risen steadily from 9% in 1970 to 25% in 2012.
This category includes, amongst others, courses related to health professions, law enforcement, and leisure and fitness studies.
This post originally appeared at BBC.CO.UK.