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UK’s most popular undergraduate programmes

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Choosing the popular degrees in the UK is an important life decision that can influence your future career. This list is based on information from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) and reflects enrolment numbers from 2019/20 to 2020/21. Here are the most popular degrees by enrolment:


A bachelor of laws (LLB), involves three years of study. This is often the first step to becoming a legal professional and is equivalent to a BA or BSc. The LLB has several core subjects which are compulsory for it to be a qualifying law degree, which is different from a BA in law. The latter would require a conversion course to get a qualification. The compulsory subjects of an LLB are criminal law, the law of contracts, constitutional and administrative law, the law of torts, property law, EU law and equity and trusts.

To become a legal professional, you would take additional training after graduating. To qualify as a solicitor, the requirement is to pass the first and second stages of the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) followed by two years of qualifying legal work experience. The requirement to become a barrister is to qualify at the Bar courses followed by work experience.

Business studies

This is a bachelor’s degree that introduces you to the world of business and how various organisations function. Some examples of common modules include business processes, project management, operations management, small business development and management strategies. The transferable skills you’ll develop from a degree in this area are relevant to most of professional sectors. You can also include management studies under this category, as many universities combine the two for a ‘business and management’ degree. A business studies or management degree can be a good idea if you’re interested in the corporate sector, business analysis or even thinking of setting up your own business in the future.


This is typically a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree that takes three full-time years of study to complete. If you want to practice as a psychologist, including clinical psychology, communal psychology, forensic psychology educational psychology, then it’s important that you choose a degree that the British Psychological Society (BPS) has accredited. Once you’ve finished the course, you can apply for graduate membership and can use the ‘MBPsS’ title after your name. It’s also necessary to undergo Continuing Professional Development (CPD) to continue practising after qualifying.

Common modules include core subjects like cognitive psychology, atypical development, neurobiology and mental illness, adolescence and social and cognitive development.  Many others go into academia, research and education.

Computer science

A BSc Computer Science degree involves studying computers and computational systems, with a particular focus on software. It can also lead to various careers. You could learn about software development, databases, cyber security, software testing, network security, object-oriented development and even cyber law. There might also be some specialised modules on subjects like artificial intelligence, cloud computing, system security architecture, mobile application development, servers and business-related subjects. With a degree like this, you could become a data analyst, web developer, game designer, software engineer or cyber security analyst, among other career options.


A degree in medicine is often the first stage to becoming a medical doctor. After five years of full-time study on a General Medical Council (GMC) recognised degree course, you would go on to take further training in your chosen specialisation. Many modules are research-based and include the fundamentals of clinical science, the foundations of medicine, the nervous system, gastroenterology, renal health, elderly care, primary medical care, surgery and orthopaedics, child health, medical ethics, psychiatry, ophthalmology, dermatology and more.

Upon graduating, there is further training. For example, to become a general practitioner (GP) you’d complete a two-year foundation course followed by three years of specialist training in general practice, making a total of 10 years to become fully qualified. For a surgeon, they’d also start with a five-year degree and then two years of general training. Next is two years of core surgical training at a hospital, followed by six years of further specialist training for a total of 15 years.

Design studies

This can either be digital or graphic design. These degrees are almost always Bachelor of Arts which take three years to complete full time or four years with a placement year. Common design studies modules can include fundamentals of design, the different types of designers, users and audiences, in addition to design history. With a design degree, you could become a graphic designer, concept artist, UX designer, game artist, etc. among other careers.


This is typically a bachelor of science (BSc) and takes three years to complete full time. Some examples of common modules include economic theory, the global economy, statistics for economics, contemporary economic challenges, macroeconomics, microeconomics, econometrics, development economics, financial markets and labour economics. This makes economics a good choice if you’re interested in how markets work and enjoy mathematics.

An economics degree might also incorporate some elements of political science, such as modules on political economy. There’s also typically a strong emphasis on statistics and mathematics for economics. This might include learning to use certain software applications or even programming languages for data analysis. With an economics degree, you might become a statistician, investment analyst, data analyst, external auditor, accountant, risk manager or stockbroker, economist, etc.

Nursing A three-year Bachelor of Science nursing degree course, approved by the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC) is the route to becoming a registered nurse. Nursing degree subjects cover anatomy, pharmacology, physiology, nursing practice, medicines management, adult nursing, pathophysiology and similar subjects related to medicine and health care.