Over 500,000 applicants have successfully secured their place at a UK university; a 3.4% rise when compared to 2014 according to a recent report by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

Increase in applications

With the deadline for university applicants to choose their course looming, UCAS has looked at how the most popular degree choices have changed over the past 10 years.

With a significant rise in the number of successful applicants receiving a place at their university of choice the acceptance ratio is now at a steady 73%.

2006 saw 506,306 applicants apply for a university place, increasing to 700,000 in 2014.

Overall, applications have risen by 20% with 2.8 million separate entries made in 2014 when you consider each applicant can make five applications to different courses and establishments.

UCAS also found that the most popular courses have changed over this time.

They claimed courses such as English and History – which lost 10% and 4% of their respective applications since 2007 – suffered due to the introduction of higher fees.

The top ten most popular university courses by number of applicants in 2014 and 2007 are:


  1. Nursing (238,000)
  2. Psychology (106,000)
  3. Law (103,000)
  4. Design studies (97,000)
  5. Pre-clinical medicine (85,000)
  6. Computer science (77,000)
  7. Management (71,000)
  8. Sport and exercise (67,000)
  9. Business (66,000)
  10. Social work (64,000)


  1. Law (92,000)
  2. Psychology (80,000)
  3. Pre-clinical medicine (70,000)
  4. Design (70,000)
  5. Management (62,000)
  6. Social work (60,000)
  7. Nursing (58,000)
  8. Business (55,000)
  9. English (54,000)
  10. Computer science (54,000)

Bigger changes to come

UCAS’ report also highlighted that the number of A-level applications to university has fallen while the number of 18 year olds applying for BTECs and internships is on the rise.

As a result, the number of courses with vocational elements is set to increase in coming years with UCAS concluding that these subtle variations in application trends could hint of “bigger changes to come”.

Are you a recent graduate? What course did you enrol in?