Public Release: 

More students than ever before studying engineering and physical sciences at degree level

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

More students than ever before have been accepted onto science and engineering related degree courses this autumn, according to the University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Science is also now the most popular subject at school according to a new poll of children aged 5 to 18.

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Chief Executive Dave Delpy has welcomed the news and says this strengthens the case for supporting our future scientists and engineers:

"With the increase in undergraduate interest in science and engineering, we anticipate greater numbers of PhD students applying for research funding over the years to come. It is therefore more vital than ever to create a support network for school children to encourage them to engage with science and engineering at an early stage to help them become career scientists and engineers."

Figures from UCAS for admissions this autumn show the number of students accepted onto engineering related degree courses is up 17.3% since 2008. This trend is repeated for physical sciences related subjects where the number is up 9.7%. Applications in both these areas have been rising steadily for the last five years and seem set to continue.

A new poll* conducted on behalf of the Young Scientist Centre has shown that more children are planning to opt for a science related subject at GCSE and A-Level and thereafter a career in science. As surprising as it may sound, science is now the most popular subject at school and this surely means that UCAS can expect even more degree applications in these areas in the years to come.

Delpy believes it is important to build on this increasing popularity:

"The UK is world leading in science and engineering research and it's great to see more students choosing to study subjects in these areas. It reflects the positive impact that science and engineering has on our society and we must encourage students to continue this tradition."


Notes for Editors

*Young Scientist Centre Poll

The survey of 2,000 children aged between 5 and 18 was conducted by online market research site between the 3rd and 11th September 2009, with the demographic breakdowns being representative of the UK population.

University and Colleges Admission Service (UCAS)

UCAS is a charity and is the world's leading shared admissions service for higher education. We manage applications for full-time undergraduate courses, together with applications through GTTR (Graduate Teacher Training Registry), CUKAS (Conservatoires UK Admissions Service) and UKPASS (UK Postgraduate Application and Statistical Service). Since its inception in 1993, UCAS has processed around 30 million applications and placed over 5 million students on higher education courses.

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

EPSRC is the main UK government agency for funding research and training in engineering and the physical sciences, investing more than £850 million a year in a broad range of subjects - from mathematics to materials science, and from information technology to structural engineering.

For further information: contact the EPSRC Press Office
Tel: 01793 444404, E-mail:

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