Students looking away from studying agriculture

Scottish students are turning their backs on agriculture and related subjects, according to a new survey. has revealed the least popular undergraduate courses in Scotland.

Overall, when it comes to the total number of students enrolled in 2016/17 in Scotland, these are the least popular undergraduate courses:
Agriculture and related subjects (720), veterinary science (1385), mass communications and documentation (2340), Mathematical sciences (3630), Architecture, building and planning (3710).

Contrastingly, the most popular undergraduate courses for Scotland in 2016/17 are: Business and administrative studies (19,575), subjects allied to medicine (18,705), biological sciences (17,965), social studies (15,365) and engineering and technology (14,830).

Figures from HESA, as per the report Higher Education Student Statistics: UK, 2016/17, shows that the number of first year students taking first degrees has witnessed a continuing increase over the last five years.

The number of first year undergraduate students in 2016/17 was 548,415, which represents an 11% increase from 2012/13 when there were 495,325 students enrolled.

As a result,, experts in training and further qualifications sought to find out what are the most and least popular undergraduate courses in Scotland. Using data from HESA’s report ‘HE student enrolments by subject of study and domicile’, put together the five most and least popular courses for female and male students in 2016/17.

However, a breakdown by gender reveals the following:

The most popular courses for female undergraduate students in 2016/17 were those allied to medicine, with 15,735 students enrolled. Subjects allied to medicine was followed by biological sciences, with 11,935 female students signed up.

On the other end of the scale, the least enrolled for courses were agriculture and related subjects, with only 520 female students passionate about this subject.

The most popular course chosen by male first year undergraduates was engineering & technology, with 12,190 enrolled students in 2016/17.

The next most popular courses for male students were business and administrative studies, with 8,365 enrolled. Contrastingly, the least popular courses amongst male students were again agriculture and related subjects, with only 200 students enrolled.

Barinder Hothi, managing director of, said: ‘It is pleasing to see that 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 shows like The Apprentice and Dragons Den encouraging young entrepreneurs to see through a potential idea for a business that could prove worthwhile.’