Top 10 Most Popular Degrees in the UK in 2024

In Career, University by Think Student EditorLeave a Comment

Deciding which degree you want to study at university is a tough decision. You are going to have to spend three years or more at a university in order to get your degree. This means that this decision should not be taken lightly. Some degrees are way more popular than others. This could be because of a number of factors, such as employability rates, student satisfaction and even just how easy the course is! Courses are likely to be popular due to the factors stated being very good.

Therefore, if you are interested in discovering what the most popular degrees are and possibly why this is, carry on reading!

Be advised: The ranking is based off our research on university degree enrolments for 2022. This data was collected from the HESA website.

Most popular university degrees based off student enrolments.

Below you can find the visualisation of university degree subject popularity (top – most popular, bottom – 10ᵗʰ most popular). Displayed on the chart is university degree popularity determined by number of enrolments in the UK.

Walkthrough of the university degree popularity rankings

The popularity of degrees in this list is based on the amount of student enrolments. However, this isn’t the only data that can determine how popular a degree is.

If you want to discover more statistics, as well as delve deeper into the information in this article, check out this article from HESA. This article is where the statistics for student enrolments originated from.

If you want to compare each subject at different universities to help you find statistics which will help you make a decision, such as finding out employability rates, check out this link from Discover Uni.

10. History

For 2022, 28,095 students were enrolled for history.

In a history degree, you are likely to review evidence from significant events and attempt to understand why these events happened.

A history degree will provide you with critical thinking skills and give you a greater understanding of why the world is the way it is today. There are plenty of different history degrees for you to discover.

For example, you could study an Ancient and Modern History degree, or you could be even more specific! For example, you could study an Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic degree. This depends on each person’s individual interests.

The entry requirements for a history degree varies across universities. Typically, you normally need 96-165 UCAS points. You definitely have a better chance of being accepted into universities for History if you have studied A-Level History.

However, A-Level Politics and English Literature would also be useful choices. To find out more about history, check out this article from the Complete University Guide.

Most history degrees take three years to study. If you choose to do a master’s as well, this would take another two years. With a history degree, you could prolong your study and become an academic researcher.

You could become a teacher, an archivist or even work in a museum! However, the skills you earn in the degree are also transferrable to other jobs, such as becoming a solicitor. You can find out more on the Prospects website.

History graduates earn £18,000 to £24,000 on average as a starter salary. However, if you work in one of the careers mentioned, your salary will be sure to increase! According to this document from the government, 45.5% of history graduates are shown to have sustained employment without further study.

9. Economics

For 2022, 28,625 students enrolled for this degree.

When you hear the term ‘economics’, you probably think that it is the study of money. However, it is much more than this!

In fact, economics is the study of what factors affect the distribution of goods and services in a consumer. In this degree, you would be studying the causes of recession and inflation.

You would be learning about modules such as mathematical methods for economists, economic development and growth and even environmental economics! Similarly to history, there are different types of economic degrees you can study, depending on your interests.

The energy requirements for an economics degree varies across different universities. You are likely to need between 96 and 160 UCAS points. It is also good to study A-Level subjects which would be applicable to this degree.

For example, A-Level Maths is a great idea! If your school teaches A-Level Economics, that would also be a good choice. An economics degree is normally three years long. If you want to become even more qualified, you can also do an extra two years for a master’s degree.

With an economics degree, you could become an accountant, a data analyst, a government policy advisor and much more! This degree opens many opportunities.

Starting salaries for economic graduates are between £18,000 and £29,700. However, average salaries for an experienced Economist is £85,000! You can find out more statistics and information on this article from The Complete University Guide.

8. Management studies

For 2022, 30,370 students enrolled for this degree.

Management studies is quite similar to business studies. You will be learning about accounting, marketing theory, finance and of course, management! This type of degree is normally offered by university departments known as ‘Business schools’.

Generally, you will need 96-159 UCAS points to get onto this course. You could make your application stand out by having some related work experience.

The degree lasts three to four years, depending on whether you want to do any further study. This degree will help you improve your critical thinking and problem solving skills. You will gain many skills which are discussed in more detail in this article from Top Universities.

The jobs you can do are similar to business studies graduates. For example, you could become a management consultant or project manager.

According to the Complete University Guide, graduates can earn between £19,000 to £25,000. However, a project manager could earn £70,000 or more!

If you want to compare these earnings to average graduate earnings in the UK, check out this article from Think Student.

7. Criminology

For 2022, 36,915 students enrolled for this degree.

Criminology is the scientific study of the mind and criminal behaviour. During your degree, you will have to cover a range of subjects, including psychology and sociology.

This degree usually requires you to have between 96 and 160 UCAS points. It would be good to show knowledge in your application. For example, you could read books on criminology or listen to podcasts.

You could study criminology with another subject, such as forensics or psychology. Any of these degrees will be interesting, as they will offer you insights into society and teach you how to carry out social research.

With a criminology degree, you could become a journalist, a crime analyst or even a police officer! If you want to discover in more detail how to become a police officer, check out this article from Think Student.

Generally, new graduates earn between £20,000 and £22,000. With experience, you could earn £46,000 or more, according to The Complete University Guide.

If you want to discover how many graduate jobs there are in the UK, check out this article from Think Student.

6. Computer science

For 2022, 40,910 students enrolled for this degree.

A degree in computer science involves understanding hardware and software engineering and learning how to programme computers. You will also learn how to connect abstract ideas by creating products.

Technology is a large part of society now, so this degree is becoming increasingly important. To be considered for this degree, you will need 96-200 UCAS points, depending on universities. However, this is a very competitive field and is gaining even more popularity!

To give yourself the best chances, it would be beneficial to have studied A-Level Maths or A-Level Computer science. Like most degrees, it generally lasts three years but could be longer.

With this degree up your sleeve, you could become an IT consultant, a games programmer and much more! New graduates normally earn £17,000 to £20,000. However, you could earn £65,000 plus with experience.

You can find out more about this degree on the Complete University Guide.

5. Adult nursing

For 2022, 55,830 students enrolled for this degree.

Nursing is a type of health care role, where you will be providing care to families, individuals and communities. If you choose a degree in adult nursing, you will purely be assisting adults in their day to day lives.

Being a nurse is seen as quite a challenging role. Therefore, universities will offer you plenty of work experience placements for you to get used to what you will have to face.

Usually, you need 104-136 UCAS points to apply for this degree. You also may need to have studied a core science at A-Level. This includes, A-Level Biology, Chemistry, Maths, Psychology or Physics. To get into university, you will probably be interviewed.

The degree lasts three years and will allow you to gain plenty of work experience. If you study adult nursing, it is likely that you will begin your career as an adult nurse.

However, other job opportunities include becoming a nurse paramedic or an occupational health nurse. As a newly qualified graduate, you could earn between £18,000 to £24,000. However, if you get enough experience, you could delve into a senior position and earn up to £75,900!

More information about adult nursing can be found on this article from The Complete University Guide. If you want to find out how hard a nursing degree is, check out this article from Think Student.

4. Business studies

For 2022, 62,110 students enrolled for this degree.

A Business degree offers students the opportunity to learn a broad amount of knowledge about finance, accounting and management. This is slightly different to a business and management degree, which is often more focused on the management side of things.

You could just do a general business degree, or if you are interested in specific aspects, you could do a degree tailored to this. For example, if you are interested in Accounting, there are many degrees which will emphasise this part of business.

You will generally need 96-159 UCAS points to study this degree, depending on the university. It could also be useful to take A-Level Business and A-Level Maths.

This degree normally lasts three years. However, if you do a sandwich year, the degree would last four years. Work experience is very important in a business degree. Therefore, four years is a high possibility.

There are plenty of careers related to a business degree which may surprise you. For example, you could pursue a career in media! However, some popular job roles include careers involved in marketing and advertising.

More information about careers with this degree can be found on this article from Top Universities. Different career roles in business earn different amounts.  A Sale Administrator would earn approximately £18,000 a year.

However, a career as a Chief Executive could earn you nearly £90,000 a year! More information about this can be found on the Top Universities website if you click here.

3. Business and management

For 2022, 66,710 students enrolled for this degree.

A degree in business and management is slightly different to a business studies degree. It focuses at looking at the way a company or organisation operates and functions.

Most students actually pair this degree with another subject. For example, they may choose to do a business with entrepreneurship degree, or even a German and Business studies degree.

To apply for a course in business and management, you need 96-159 UCAS points, depending on the university. It would also be beneficial to have a good grade in GCSE Maths or A-Level Maths when applying for this degree.

Like most degrees, a business and management degree generally lasts three years and is only longer if you want to continue your studies and become more qualified. However, just spending three years at university is sufficient enough to get a good career.

Some key careers related to this degree include a business development manager, a data analyst and much more. Newly qualified graduates are likely to earn £19,000 to £25,000. However, with experience, you could earn £55,000 or more!

Check out this article from The Complete University Guide if you want to find out more about this degree.

2. Law

For 2022, 67,305 students enrolled for this degree.

During a law degree, you will be taught about legal theory and how you could potentially apply this to real life. There are so many different types of law you could study! For example, public law, company law and even criminal law.

There are certain law degrees you could do depending on your interests. Some examples of law degrees are criminology with law, accounting and law or policing and criminal justice. There are plenty of other law degrees too!

Generally, you need to have 96-165 UCAS points to study this course. More prestigious universities will most likely require the most UCAS points and as it is a very competitive course, you need to make sure that your grades are high!

Most universities prefer students who apply for this course to have studied essay based subjects at A-Level. This means that A-Level English Literature and A-Level History would be great choices for you to study this degree.

A law degree generally lasts three years, however you could prolong this if you want to do further study. Having a law degree supplies you with a range of potential career paths.

Some popular careers include becoming a barrister, a coroner, a family mediator or a solicitor. However, there are countless jobs open to you with a law degree!

Most graduates who have studied this degree earn about £22,000 at an entry level. However, when you are qualified, this could increase to £45,000. Finally, with a minimum of four years experience, you could even earn up to £82,000!

You can find out more about what a law degree entails and what kinds of careers this degree offers you on this article from The Complete University Guide.

1.      Psychology

For 2022, 84,255 students enrolled for this degree.

Psychology is the most popular degree according to the HESA website. It is relatively quite a new subject and extremely interesting, so it’s not hard to see why so many people love it! In fact, there was a 5.31% increase in applications for psychology in 2022 compared to 2021.

Psychology is the study of the mind, behaviour and experience. You will learn why people behave the way that they do and investigate individual’s cognitive functions.

Popular modules in university include developmental psychology, cognitive processes, evolutionary psychology, research methods and much more! You need 104- 165 UCAS points to study psychology at most universities.

Most of the time, you are also required to have studied a core science subject. For example, A-Level Chemistry, Biology or Physics. Maths could also be useful!

The degree lasts three years. However, if you want to become a psychologist, you may need a phD. Overall, this would take a minimum of five years. Most probably, this will take longer!

There are a range of jobs where a psychology degree would be extremely beneficial. For example, becoming a counselling psychologist, a mental health worker or a high-intensity therapist.

The average salary for a psychology graduate is £17,680 to £23,000. However, an experienced consultant psychologist could earn up to £90,000! You can find out more about this on this article from The Complete University Guide, if you click here.

No wonder this is a popular degree!

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