Most and least popular first degrees in Scotland revealed

Students in Scotland are choosing certain degrees above others.
Students in Scotland are choosing certain degrees above others.
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The most highly enrolled undergraduate courses for female students in Scotland last year were those connected to medicine, while for males it was engineering and technology, latest figures reveal.

A report by the Higher Education Student Statistics also shows agriculture, veterinary science, and mass communications and documentation took first, second and third place for courses with least enrolments for both sexes.

After medical subjects, females chose biological sciences, business and administrative studies, social studies and language in their top five.

Meanwhile computer science and architecture, building and planning came in fourth and fifth place for women for least chosen subjects.

In the top five for male students, after engineering and technology came business and administrative studies, computer science, biological sciences and social studies.

Education was the fourth least popular subject for males, followed by law.

Overall, first year students in 2016/17 increased by 11 per cent - 548,415, up from 495,325 in 2012/13.

READ MORE: Ian Stewart: gender balance is a work in progress

Barinder Hothi, managing director of The Knowledge who analysed the subject ratings, said: “It is pleasing to see more and more pupils chose to continue their studies and enrol in higher education over the last year.

“The popularity of subjects allied to medicine could result in a positive impact in the lack of medical staff we are experiencing in the NHS.

“Likewise, business and administrative studies have continued to be as popular for men and women with perhaps show like ‘The Apprentice’ and ‘Dragons’ Den’ encouraging young entrepreneurs.”

Elena Semple, National Union of Students Scotland vice president communities, said: “It’s concerning to see such stark gender divides continue in sections of our education system. We’ve now got ambitious, government-led targets to tackle the gender imbalances. We now need to see meaningful action from - at every department at every university and college, but across the whole of society too.

“Often, the root causes of gender imbalances are much deeper societal stereotypes and harmful misperceptions over gender roles. As well as focussing on recruiting more diverse cohorts of students onto certain courses, we need to see ingrained sexism and the notion of gender roles stamped out.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “We want every young person to have an equal chance of going into higher education and real progress has been made with record numbers accepted into university from the most deprived areas.

“We are determined to tackle occupational segregation, and know gender stereotyping limits individuals choices as well as being a drag on Scotland’s economy. We are working to ensure there is a national approach to challenging gender stereotyping in the delivery of all school subjects. In particular, we are aiming to improve the gender balance of those taking STEM subjects in schools.”