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Popularity Contest: 5 Most Popular Courses for Home vs Overseas Students

17th October 2016 Posted by: Tom Hagues

THE most popular courses in the UK are always changing. This is down to a number of different factors, from government initiatives to get people to study certain courses, or the introduction of new courses based on technological changes. It’s always interesting to see what the most popular courses are, but what’s even more interesting is that the most popular courses among home students are always different to those from overseas.

1. Physiotherapy vs Business and Administrative Studies

HOME: At the moment, the most popular course for UK students is physiotherapy. This might be because of job potential – most students find work with the NHS or private sector as a physiotherapist within 6 months of graduating. There’s also a lot of scope to do something quite exciting with this course like working as a physiotherapist for sports teams, from local teams to Team GB.

OVERSEAS:  Business comes as no surprise as being one of the more popular courses, since students often have good experiences with it. Graduates with a business and administrative studies degree can end up working for global corporations and the UK offers good networking opportunities for eager business students.

2. Make Up vs Social Studies

HOME: Make up courses have become more and more popular with British students in recent years, and they don't necessarily lead to careers as beauticians; graduates of beauty and make up degrees can end up designing monsters for film and stage, or working in special effects teams.

OVERSEAS: This one might simply be down to personal interests, but it’s likely Social Studies is a popular course because of its broad spectrum. Social Studies graduates can use their intricate knowledge of complex problems plaguing societies and work for governments and big businesses, as well as writing for respected newspapers or social scientific studies. There’s also a shortage of social workers in the UK, so this is an employable degree.

3. Psychology vs Law

HOME: Psychology has long been a popular option and combines a fascination with the human mind with plenty of great minds and theories from history to the modern day. It can lead to some extremely interesting career options, and there’s nothing more mesmerising than suddenly realising why your best friend behaves the way they do.

OVERSEAS: Law also appears on the most popular list for home students and there’s no prizes for guessing why. This is an obvious one and because the subject is so vast, it’s hard to separate it into how many students study certain aspects of law. Nonetheless, the UK has some outstanding law-teaching facilities like the University of Edinburgh, Durham University and Oxford and Cambridge, but it’s a popular course and is offered at most large universities. Students have time to settle in to the UK – some courses can go on for years, but it’s all worth it in the end. 

4. Actuarial Science vs Allied Medicine Subjects

HOME: Assessing risk at financial institutions is probably in high demand at the moment, what with Brexit rocking the markets, so it’s no wonder Actuarial Science is a popular choice. It’s a maths-heavy and statistics-orientated degree and employment at the end of it can be well paid. What’s more, there’s often a shortage of statisticians so finding a job might be easier than the degree itself.

OVERSEAS: Many junior medical professionals see the NHS as a great beacon of medical employment, even despite the difficulties it’s going through at the moment. This might be one of the main reasons why overseas students head to the UK to study subjects that fall under the ‘Allied to Medicine’ umbrella. What’s more, the UK Shortage Occupations list frequently records big gaps in medical professional positions, so there’s a good chance that overseas students can get their dream medical job in the UK.

5. Marine Biology vs Languages

HOME: Difficult to get into but incredibly interesting and worthwhile, Marine Biology graduates are sought after for their skills and knowledge. It comes as no surprise that this is a popular course, what with the UK being an island nation, but it also offers the chance for significant travel to some extraordinary places once you’ve landed that great job.

OVERSEAS: In a world where everyone is so well connected and businesses are growing bigger and spreading themselves around various countries and continents, it makes sense to have a language degree under your belt. Not only that, but it also offers the chance for more international travel, as most UK universities require language students to spend a year in a country that speaks your chosen language. According to the Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited, almost 7,000 international students are tempted by language degrees.

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