Which university course is most popular?

UCAS provides a great deal of statistical information about university applications. One of the most interesting datasets compares the number of applicants for each course with the number of places available.

(Note that the scale starts at three applicants per place, not at zero.)

Medicine, and subjects related to medicine like anatomy and nursing are the most popular by quite a large margin. The least popular are the technology subjects like metallurgy and materials science.

Ignoring non-specific “any area of study” courses, and those courses with less than a hundred places available, the top ten most popular courses in the country are:

  1. Medicine (A1) – 10.85 applicants per place
  2. Dentistry (A2) – 10.63 applicants per place
  3. Anatomy, Physiology and Pathology (B1) – 9.19
  4. Japanese Studies (T2) – 9.02
  5. Nursing (B7) – 8.89
  6. Veterinary Medicine (D1) – 8.74
  7. Medical Technology (B8) – 8.10
  8. Teacher Training (X1) – 7.90
  9. Aural and Oral Sciences (B6) – 7.58
  10. Microbiology (C5) – 7.56

Within the Physical Sciences astronomy and physics come out top, at 5.88 and 5.86 applicants per place respectively; and of the Biological Sciences microbiology is the most popular (7.56 applicants per place). Of the three “school sciences” physics is the clear winner (5.86) over biology (5.53) and chemistry (5.50).

2 thoughts on “Which university course is most popular?

  1. I’m afraid to say that your conclusions are somewhat flawed. The amount of applications per available place is by no means an indication of a course’s popularity. This is especially true seeing as most medical and related courses have far smaller intakes than do the sciences or arts.

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