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Thursday, September 24, 1998 Published at 15:04 GMT 16:04 UK


More students despite fees

Business and management studies are the most popular courses by far

The university admissions service says many subjects are attracting more students than last year, despite the introduction of tuition fees.

Subjects as diverse as geography, music, drama, fine arts, medicine, computer science, software engineering and marketing have already accepted more applicants than they did last year.

Of these, computer science is by far the most popular, with 15,758 applicants - the second most popular course overall after business and management studies, which is showing something of a decline.

There has also been an increase in those opting for multi-disciplinary courses such as science with an arts subject, social science or business with an arts subject, and physical or mathematical science with social science or business.

The table shows the top 10 most popular subjects:

Business and management studies17,8514,02221,873
Computer Science12,1613,59715,758
Design studies10,8082,25713,065
Initial teacher training10,489
Other general and combined studies7,551
Other medical subjects6,7071526,859
Social science or business with arts subjects6,0113946,405

There are several weeks to go before 1998's final figures from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (Ucas) are known.

[ image: Tony Higgins:
Tony Higgins: "Matching last year's record"
Ucas's Chief Executive, Tony Higgins, said: "We are seeing an increase in students accepting places for many traditional subjects as well as more modern courses.

"Last year was a record year for university and college entrance, as many people decided to get in before the introduction of tuition fees.

"But the number of people taking up places this year is almost exactly the same as last year, and now we are able to show that in many subjects it's even better."

More medical students

The increase in the numbers accepted for medicine reflects the Health Secretary's announcement in July of an extra 450 places at medical schools by 2001.

The number of people taking up places for initial teacher training is about 1,000 less than last year's final total of 11,414.

Initial teacher training is the fifth most popular subject. The government's preferred route is for students to do an initial degree course in another subject, followed by a postgraduate teaching certificate.

The figure for nursing - 2,195 - is within 100 of last year's total.

Final figures for 1998 will not be known until next month.

The decline in the number of people accepting places to study sociology - 5,006 against last year's final figure of 6,096 - reflects the drop in mature applicants this year, as the subject tends to attract a higher proportion of such students.

Ministers have acknowledged for some time that the introduction of tuition fees of up to £1,000 a year has deterred mature students.

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