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Most popular undergraduate & postgraduate courses in the UK

Discover some of the most popular degree courses in the UK for undergraduate and postgraduate international students.

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If you need the inspiration to help you choose a course at a university in the UK, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we take a look at the ten most popular undergraduate and postgraduate programs in the UK to help inform your research. The courses selected represent the most searched for and popular options on our site in the last year. This has also been in combination with international university league tables. Before we jump into the course and study options, get familiar with the UK undergraduate grading system.


Health & Medicine


One of the most popular courses to study in the UK, medicine is highly competitive and requires top grades from applicants. Most medicine students choose this degree intending to become a medical practitioner such as a GP, surgeon or consultant. An undergraduate medicine course is typically seen as the standard route, but you can also study a postgraduate medicine course following a relevant undergraduate degree, usually within the field of science.


Top UK universities for medicine courses



Dentistry is a top course for both undergraduate and postgraduate students. As with many health and medicine courses, dentistry is a long-term commitment. You need to study for five years to receive a GDC-approved degree (General Dentistry Council) in the UK. For reference, other degrees such as history, English, or mathematics typically take three years to complete. Yet, dentistry is a highly respected profession with attractive salaries. For example, a dentist can earn anywhere between GBP 50,000 to GBP 110,000 per year in the UK. Some of the preferred institution’s offering dentistry qualifications are:



Explore more information related to Undergraduate dentistry or Postgraduate dentistry.



Another hugely desirable course, nurses are in high demand in the UK. So, this tends to mean that graduates can find work once finishing their degree. More than 90 percent of UK nursing graduates found employment within six months of graduating (2018). Top UK universities for nursing include:



Nurses provide care and treatments while continually learning on the job. You need to be empathetic, caring, flexible and can work well in pressured environments. Nursing shifts can also belong, unsociable and tiring. However, the work is worthwhile and rewarding. Find out more about Undergraduate nursing courses and Postgraduate nursing courses.


Applied and pure sciences


There are several disciplines within the field of applied and pure sciences such as environmental sciences, earth sciences, physics, and sports science. However, biology, also known as biological sciences, is the most popular at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. If you are interested in a biology degree in the UK, you can expect to cover anatomy, genetics, cell and molecular biology, environmental biology and more. Some of the top UK institutions for biology include:



Explore more about Undergraduate biology courses and Postgraduate biology courses.



Aerospace engineering

A popular study area with many specialisations and routes to pursue. For the UK, aerospace engineering comes out on top for undergraduate students. Essentially, this field deals with designing and creating machinery that can fly, such as aircraft. To study this degree, you need to have an interest, knowledge and capability in physics, maths and chemistry to be successful.


Top UK institutions for aerospace engineering courses


Get the lowdown on Undergraduate aerospace engineering courses and Postgraduate aerospace engineering programs.


Biomedical engineering

Another highly sought-after undergraduate degree in the UK. Biomedical engineering also referred to as ‘Biomed’, involves the application of engineering principles to healthcare. Knowledge within this arena is in high demand due to the need for automated processes and machinery to support the healthcare system. Biomedical engineers have created life-changing technology such as pacemakers, dialysis machines and artificial organs. These revolutionary concepts may be part of the reason why students are so drawn to this subject. 


Top UK institutions for biomedical engineering courses


Take a look at your options for Undergraduate biomedical engineering and Postgraduate biomedical engineering.


Civil engineering

However, civil engineering is one of the most popular courses for postgraduate students. This profession involves constructing and maintaining infrastructures such as bridges, roads, tunnels, buildings, reservoirs and more. Civil engineers are known as the scientific minds behind the cities and towns we live in. As with other engineering courses, you will need to show knowledge and have the necessary grades in physics and mathematics to be offered a place at university.


Top UK institutions for civil engineering

  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Glasgow
  • University of Oxford


Explore more options for Undergraduate civil engineering and Postgraduate civil engineering.


Business and management


Accountants deal with financial and non-financial information for businesses, organisations and corporations. This profession involves recording and processing financial transactions as well as summarizing and analyzing accounts. Many world-leading accountancy firms were started in the UK, such as Deloitte which is worth USD 46.2 billion.


Gaining an accountancy qualification from the UK is internationally recognised and if successful, it will set you up for a global career within the finance and accounting industry.


Top UK institutions for accountancy


Find out more about Undergraduate accounting courses and Postgraduate accounting degrees.



All businesses need someone to sort their finances which makes this a highly desirable skill set among employers. It may seem obvious but an aptitude for maths is essential for a degree in finance. Common modules at university may cover accounting, business policies, IT for business and financial management. This type of degree is relatively broad and could lead you to various roles such as asset management or financial analysis.


Top UK institutions for finance courses


Learn more about Undergraduate finance programmes and Postgraduate finance programmes.

Social studies and media


If you enjoy analyzing language and interpreting texts, media could be an engaging and interesting field for you. Gain skills in research, effective communication, critical thinking and knowledge of the related industries such as film, television or public relations. While the media industry is competitive and constantly evolving, there are plenty of career routes offering variety and creativity.


Find out some more information about Undergraduate media degrees and Postgraduate media degrees.


Social sciences

Defined as the scientific study of humans, society and relationships, social science courses include linguistics, social work, economics, sociology and politics. Social sciences are popular undergraduate degrees often leading to a broad spectrum of careers such as research, teaching, social work, civil service, police, local government, psychology and more.


Top UK universities for social science courses

  • London School of Economics and Political Science
  • University of Oxford
  • University of Cambridge


Want to know more about Undergraduate social sciences and Postgraduate social sciences?


Social work

At a basic level, if you want a degree in social work, you must have a desire to help other people. You need to listen to their problems, helping them to cope with their daily lives. While this can be a challenging and demanding profession, it can also be extremely rewarding. Supporting people with their mental health difficulties, emotional struggles and family relationships can be tough but you will be trained to manage these cases effectively.


Top UK institutions for social work courses


Get to grips with Undergraduate social work  courses and Postgraduate social work degrees.



Generally regarded as social science, economics uses scientific studies and theories to explain the behaviors of people and organisations in society. Throughout an economics course, you will develop skills such as problem-solving, teamwork and critical thinking which are useful for any future profession. Typical roles that might follow from an economics degree include data analyst, economist, stockbroker, risk management, political risk analyst and many more.

Top UK universities for economics courses

  • London School of Economics and Political Science
  • University of Oxford
  • University of Cambridge
  • UCL


Take a closer look at what’s on offer for Undergraduate economics courses and Postgraduate economics.


Hopefully, you’ve now found or had a better idea of what you’re looking for, but if not, our course matcher tool will align your skills and preferences with courses and universities. 


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