Social Sciences are facing mixed fortunes, research shows

17 February 2012

Tony Crook

New research from UCAS reveals that whilst applications to study pure science and engineering are holding up or increasing, the social sciences are facing mixed fortunes.

There has been a decline in applications this year for many social science subjects. Although applications to study some vocational social sciences such as Law and Business Studies have remained steady, those for many other subjects have fallen since 2010, including architecture and planning by 17 per cent and all other social science subjects by 10 per cent.

Professor Tony Crook, Chair of the Campaign for Social Science, expressed his concern about the decline in applications for the social sciences:

“Undoubtedly, higher tuition fees and the need for repayment over long periods are focusing the minds of potential students on taking subjects with a more vocational orientation, where the career route in a tighter jobs market seems more assured.

“However, social sciences develop a whole range of different skills, including critical analysis, the ability to use both quantitative and qualitative sources, understanding the human aspects of decision making, evaluation and the capacity to make well-argued, reasoned recommendations. These skills are much valued by potential employers and will stand them in good stead, whether it is in retail management or public health, product marketing or social care.”