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Choosing what to study

Top ten most popular courses in the UK

Discover which university subject areas are the most popular in the UK according to UCAS course data.

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Data from UCAS shows us which courses were applied for most in 2020. At the end of the application cycle, UCAS released data showing where students applied to, and for what subject.

Our list below shows which subjects areas were the most popular in the UK in light of this data.

10. Management Studies

Management studies courses often include areas of business, hospitality, tourism, land, and property.

Degree courses in this area set you up for a career in most professional sectors, as management skills are highly transferable and widely applicable. From business organisation to human resource management, you’ll learn how to make a workplace efficient and effective.

Management Studies courses

9. Combinations with Business and Administration Studies

Business and administration courses teach you all about how a business functions from the financial side to marketing.

There are numerous combination options with this subject area, such as with analysis, statistics, economics, mathematics, information systems, music, fashion, and international studies. The transferable skills you’ll develop from a degree in this area are relevant to the majority of professional sectors.

Business courses
Business Administration courses

8. Subjects Allied to Medicine

The subjects allied to medicine range far and wide – from clinical medicine to optometry, dentistry to medical technology.

Most courses in this subject area are highly vocational, meaning you can expect to graduate ready to enter into a specific healthcare-related role. Alternatively, many students go into roles in sectors such as education, scientific sales, environment, and journalism.

Medicine courses
Complementary Medicine

7. Sports and Exercise Science

The field of sports and exercise science is rapidly growing due to the increase of interest and investment in the area. Because of this, the degree courses available are diverse. You’ll find several specialised options in areas such as sports therapy, sports medicine, sports journalism and wheeled sports.

It’s an ideal route to go down for sports lovers, and it opens the doors to many different career paths, from coaching to sports governance.

Sports Science courses

6. Preclinical Medicine

Preclinical medicine is the vocational science of preventing, diagnosing, alleviating or curing disease in homo sapiens (humans). It includes areas such as anatomy, physiology, pharmacy and nutrition, all of which can be specialisms in their own right.

Courses tend to be highly vocational, giving you the expert skills to work as a healthcare professional soon after graduating.

Physiology courses
Pharmacology courses

5. Design Studies

Design studies is the focus of design for everyday objects, taking into account technology and commerce as well as appearance and current art thinking. Courses often involve the use of computers as design tools.

Students from this subject area find themself working for a large variety of industries including fashion, animation, computer games, theatre, textiles and illustration.

Design courses

4. Computer Science

Computer Science is the study of information technology.

With this methodical science, you could specialise in the theory and design of computational systems – an area that dominates our modern world today. It’s both a mathematical and creative subject, with students going into roles such as consultants, managers, programmers, analysts and developers. 

Computer Science courses

3. Law

Law is a study that specialises in legalities and bringing justice to criminals and victims.
A degree provides you with the skills required to practise in law. Transferable skills include research, interpretation and explanation of complex subjects, analytical thinking and practical problem solving, good oral communication, negotiation, teamwork, attention to detail and the ability to draft formal documents.

Law courses

2. Psychology

Psychology is the study of the human mind. Psychologists attempt to determine why people behave in a particular way, and if you get far in this field, you could reach dizzy heights: think Freud, Jung and Pavlov.

Despite a lack of vocational certainty after studying it, psychology remains a popular field of study. Many graduates work with other people, as psychologists, therapists and social workers. Many others go into academia, research and education.

Psychology courses

1. Nursing

Nursing is the study of principles and techniques for assessing, managing, treating and monitoring patients. The four main nursing areas in the NHS are adult, child, mental health and learning disability.

It’s no wonder why this is the most popular subject to study in the UK. Despite it being a high-pressure job, nurses report very high levels of job satisfaction – due to the large number of lives they help to improve every day.

Nursing courses

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