Photo: michaeljzealot
Photo: michaeljzealot

By Safia Yallaoui

There has been a 22,000 drop in the number of males applying to full-time undergraduate courses in UK universities, according to The University College and Admission Service (UCAS).

Between 2010 and 2011 the percentage of females enrolled in fulltime undergraduate courses was 55%, leaving males with a 45% proportion.

At UWE the numbers are similar, according to The Guardian’s website, as 54.05% of those who were enrolled in full time undergraduate courses between 2010 and 2011 were female.

Natasha Russell, 21, studying Journalism & Media and Cultural Studies at UWE believes “Men have always dominated over women when it comes to jobs so it’s good that more women are in higher education because we should then see more women getting jobs.”

The degree course with the biggest gender gap is Veterinary Science which has seen a 52% increase in female applicants along with a 4% drop in the number of male applicants.

Some UK universities have a proportion of over 80% female students in full-time undergraduate courses, including the Institute of Education (85.7%), The Courtauld Institute of Art (83.3%) and Bishop Grosseteste University College Lincoln (80.1%).

In half of the universities in which males make up two thirds of the undergraduate student body, the only courses on offer are related to Science, Engineering, Medicine and Business, which suggests that gender gaps are a result of the provision of particular subjects.

While males mainly dominate these courses, female students outnumber males in courses including Art and Design, Education, Medicine and Veterinary courses.

It has been suggested that the cause of the gender gaps could be related to the way in which females tend to attain higher grades than males during their school years. This leads to a stronger attendance pattern for girls than for boys. Some suggest that this may result in girls going on to study at university whilst boys prefer a vocational course or go straight into the workplace.

It has also been suggested that divides in undergraduate degree courses are a result of females being encouraged to take subjects such as Art and Design. Humanities courses are seen by some as more suitable to females, whilst boys are encouraged to take Science related subjects along with vocational courses.