The number of applications made to study law this year has increased more than any other course

Exclusive: Most university subjects reporting a drop

The number of UCAS applications made to study law this year has increased by 5,410 since last year. This is more than any other course, both in percentage and real number terms.

As of UCAS deadline day this year (24 March), 130,640 applications were made to study law. This is up by 4.3% on 2016, when 125,230 forms were submitted. Note this is the number of applications, not applicants, and that applicants can make up to five applications per UCAS cycle.

Two other courses, maths and architecture, reported similar but slightly lower increases of 3.6% and 4.1% respectively. Two more courses, social studies (3%) and computer sciences (1%), experienced small rises too, while the number of applications to mass communications and documentation stayed the same.

For the other courses, all 14 of them, application numbers dropped. The starkest of all was for subjects allied to medicine (-15%), though technologies experienced a pretty sharp decrease (-12%) too.

This was also the case across all five joint honours subjects, which are considered separately from UCAS’s 20 single honours courses. Combined arts experienced a 9% drop in applications, as did sciences combined with social sciences or arts. Combined sciences applications took a 7% tumble.

2016 and 2017 university applications by course:

Subject Apps (2016) Apps (2017) % difference
Medicine and dentistry 85,650 82,380 -4%
Subjects allied to medicine 377,960 321,790 -15%
Biological sciences 269,190 266,020 -1%
Veterinary science 28,970 27,680 -4%
Physical sciences 105,150 102,990 -2%
Maths 47,750 49,510 4%
Engineering 159,420 156,280 -2%
Computer sciences 120,120 121,080 1%
Technologies 8,280 7,310 -12%
Architecture 40,780 42,450 4%
Social studies 232,060 239,300 3%
Law 125,230 130,640 4%
Business studies 318,680 309,380 -3%
Mass communications and documentation 61,890 62,130 0%
Linguistics 62,660 59,250 -5%
European languages 18,230 16,930 -7%
Non-European languages 5,520 5,190 -6%
History and philosophy 81,040 74,610 -8%
Creative arts 261,930 246,350 -6%
Education 86,730 86,210 -1%
Combined arts 48,180 43,680 -9%
Combined sciences 30,980 28,810 -7%
Combined social sciences 31,380 30,620 -2%
Sciences combined with social sciences or arts 56,820 51,550 -9%
Social sciences combined with arts 47,780 47,000 -2%

Data in table via UCAS.

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Tub of Lard

I found my course lecturer was very nervous about me in the course and refused to talk to me except through my interpreter. I also found I was ostracised by my fellow students and couldn’t get employment except as a vexatious litigant, so I wouldn’t recommend law for inanimate organic matter.

Not Amused

We should regulate course numbers through the SRA and BSB (but realistically the SRA). The regulators have to approve degree courses as ‘qualifying degrees’. Where the regulators see a nonsense institution jumping on the bandwagon and suddenly either increasing places for law or newly offering the degree – they should stop them.

Yet another regulatory failing.


If this was about LPC/BPTC places you might have a leg to stand on. But it is about undergraduate degrees, and application numbers rather than places available.


NA’s solution to everything: regulate and abolish.

What an utter tosspot


But this is about applications, not the number of course places on offer. What a non-story.


Why the presumption that everyone studying law wants a training contract / pupillage? Law is one of the most versatile degrees there is. Plenty of my peers that read law didn’t even apply for the LPC/BVC instead choosing journalism, teaching, marketing or politics.

The SRA and BSB have absolutely no business in interfering with how many students can study the degree. They’re making enough of a hash in interfering with the qualified sector of the profession already!


Not surprised… Law is a fascinating degree to study and with the SRA reform it would be more beneficial if you want to practice


My dear Katie.

This isn’t exclusive, it is public data.


Unsurprising. Law is very well paid, interesting and respected.

With public services on their knees and tuition fees rising, I predict even more bright young people turning to law/finance and away from medicine/civil service/charity.


You, sir, are an idiot. Well paid-absolutely following some soul sacrifice. Interesting-how boring was your childhood? Respected-you seem blissfully unaware of the hate against lawyers in general.

Either speak sense or not at all, fool!


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