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Surge in UK students choosing agriculture

Posted 13 January 2012

More and more young people are choosing to study the science of food production – according to a new report out this week. 

The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) revealed that Agriculture courses had seen the biggest increase in UK university enrolments over the last two years. 

“Agriculture and related subjects” saw an 11 per cent surge in undergraduate students and two per cent rise in postgraduate students between 2008/10 and 2010/11, while subjects including education, languages and architecture saw declines in student numbers of up to six per cent. 

The surge is evident at Harper Adams University College, the UK’s largest provider of specialist degree courses for the agri-food sector, where the agriculture intake in October 2011 reached its highest ever level, 176 students, up 21 per cent on the previous year, and 60 per cent when compared to the intake five years ago, in 2006, when 110 students started agriculture programmes.

And the University College has reason to believe that the trend will continue, with applications for 2012 entry to agriculture, food and animals courses already ahead of those made for 2011. 

Overall enrolment figures reveal that agriculture courses are drawing a larger share from a static number of overall students. 

The HESA report states: “The total number of degree-level enrolments at UK universities and other higher education institutions stood at 2,501,295 in 2010/11, showing no percentage increase from 2009/10. Postgraduate enrolments increased by 2% between 2009/10 and 2010/11 while undergraduate enrolments showed a slight decrease between 2009/10 and 2010/11.”

For the full report and tables, see www.hesa.ac.uk

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