For individual subject areas the data show:
- numbers studying at A level
- numbers accepted to, and studying in, higher education at undergraduate level
- numbers studying at postgraduate levels.
Each subject area can be reviewed individually, which means the recent and potential flow of graduates in different subject areas can be considered.
The data add the academic year 2012-13 to our existing time series of numbers studying at both A level and in higher education and are presented in a new, interactive format. Also included are data that provide an indication of acceptances into the academic year 2013-14. The tables and charts allow users to easily review time series data against up to two student characteristics, and by whether study is at undergraduate or postgraduate level.
The following conclusions can be drawn from the latest data:
- Undergraduate numbers in science, technology engineering and mathematics (STEM) remain strong, despite a dip in entrants in academic year 2012-13 (the first year of the undergraduate tuition-fee system). Data for undergraduate entry in 2013-14 show levels of acceptances in STEM subjects at the highest level recorded.
- The position in modern foreign languages (MFL) looks less healthy, with acceptances data for 2013-14 indicating that numbers could be at their lowest level for ten years.
- Postgraduate taught entrant numbers continued to decline in 2012-13, following a peak in 2010-11. This trend is seen across all major subject areas. As reported in Higher Education in England 2014, we have early indications that these trends may change for 2013-14.
- Numbers of entrants to postgraduate research programmes have remained broadly stable over the last three years.
- Total numbers of A-level entries stayed broadly flat between 2011-12 and 2012-13. The number of entries to STEM subjects increased by 2 per cent.
We will be working with professional and subject bodies, universities and colleges, and colleagues across Government and business to probe the reasons behind the observed patterns in order to assist policy development.
See the interactive data
- An overview of recent shifts and longer-term trends was published earlier this year in the Higher Education in England 2014 report. The report used early in-year acceptance data for 2013-14, along with 2014 UCAS data, to provide early indications of emerging trends.