The Department for the Economy has today published two statistical bulletins.
Enrolments at UK Higher Education Institutions: Northern Ireland Analysis 2019/20
This statistical bulletin provides information on the number of NI students enrolled at UK Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and the number of students enrolled at NI HEIs.
NI domiciled enrolments at UK HEIs:
- In 2019/20, 62,500 NI students were enrolled at UK HEIs. This represents a net 4.3% (2,815) decrease from 2010/11 and a net 0.9% (580) decrease from 2018/19.
- ‘First degree’ enrolments decreased by 1.4%, from 48,185 in 2018/19 to 47,530 in 2019/20 and ‘other undergraduate’ enrolments decreased by 5.9%, from 4,355 to 4,100, while ‘postgraduate’ enrolments increased by 3.2%, from 10,535 to 10,870.
- Of the 62,500 NI domiciled students enrolled at UK HEIs in 2019/20, 73.6% (45,980) were enrolled at NI HEIs (including 6.8% studying locally at the Open University); the proportion studying in GB (26.4%) was slightly lower than the 27.6% enrolled in 2018/19.
- In 2019/20, 51.1% of NI domiciled students at UK HEIs were studying a Science, Technology, Engineering or Maths (Broad STEM) related subject and 27.1% a Narrow STEM related subject.
Enrolments at NI HEIs:
- Student enrolments at NI HEIs increased by 6.9% (3,790) between 2018/19 (55,290) and 2019/20 (59,075), the largest annual increase over the last decade. This increase can be explained mainly by a new part-time module introduced by Ulster University for students undertaking the Objective Structured Clinical Exam (OSCE) of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) Test of Competence. Excluding this course results in a smaller (1.9%) increase in total enrolments over the year.
- Between 2018/19 and 2019/20, ‘first degree’ enrolments increased by 0.5% (from 37,670 to 37,860) and ‘postgraduates’ increased by 10.3% (from 12,655 to 13,955). Over the same period, ‘other undergraduate’ enrolments increased by 46.3% (from 4,965 to 7,265), after declining every other year over the last decade. This can be explained by Ulster University’s introduction of a part-time module for those completing the NMC’s OSCE, which accounts for 2,760 enrolments.
- Of the 59,075 students enrolled at NI HEIs in 2019/20, 77.8% were from NI, 5.9% from GB, 3.5% from the Republic of Ireland, 0.6% from other EU countries and 12.1% from non-EU countries.
- In 2019/20, 53.3% of students enrolled at NI HEIs were studying a Broad STEM related subject and 25.1% a Narrow STEM related subject.
Qualifications gained at UK Higher Education Institutions: Northern Ireland Analysis 2019/20
This statistical bulletin provides information on Higher Education qualifications gained by students at NI HEIs and by NI domiciled students at UK HEIs.
Qualifications gained by NI domiciled students at UK HEIs:
- Although fluctuating over the decade, the number of NI domiciled qualifiers from UK HEIs has decreased by a net 1.1%, from 17,650 in 2010/11 to 17,460 in 2019/20.
- At 17,460, the number of qualifications gained by NI domiciled students at UK HEIs in 2019/20 has decreased by 7.2% since 2018/19 (18,810). This may be due to both administrative changes and a number of Covid-19 related factors, such as delays in the completion of courses and the awarding of qualifications at some HEIs.
- Over four-fifths (84.4%) of first degree qualifiers achieved either a first class or upper second class honours degree, a record high. This increase is possibly due to the ‘no detriment’ approach adopted by some universities in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, which ensured that students would be awarded a final grade no lower than the most recent provider assessment of their attainment.
- During 2019/20, 48.9% of qualifications gained by NI domiciled students at UK HEIs were in a Broad STEM related subject, and 24.0% in a Narrow STEM related subject.
Qualifications gained at NI HEIs:
- The number of qualifiers has increased over the decade, with 15,985 qualifications gained by students from NI HEIs in 2019/20, a net rise of 2.4% since 2010/11 (15,610).
- There has been a 6.5% decrease in the number of qualifications awarded between 2018/19 (17,095) and 2019/20 (15,985), which may be due to both administrative changes and a number of Covid-19 related factors, such as delays in the completion of courses and the awarding of qualifications at some HEIs.
- A record 84.7% of ‘first degree’ graduates at NI HEIs achieved either a first class or upper second class honours degree. This increase is possibly due to the ‘no detriment’ approach adopted by some universities in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, which ensured that students would be awarded a final grade no lower than the most recent provider assessment of their attainment.
- During 2019/20, 49.5% of qualifications gained by students at NI HEIs were in a Broad STEM related subject, and 23.3% in a Narrow STEM related subject.
Notes to editors:
- The statistics presented in these bulletins are based on data collected by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). HESA is the official agency for the collection of information on publicly funded Higher Education (HE) institutions in the UK.
- The HESA data presented in these bulletins relate to students at publicly funded HE institutions in the UK and do not include HE students at Further Education (FE) colleges in NI or GB, or at institutions in the Republic of Ireland.
- Higher Education students for the purpose of HESA's data collection are those students on courses for which the level of instruction is above that of Level 3 of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) National Qualifications Framework (NQF) (for example, courses at the level of Certificate of HE and above).
- The academic year runs from 1 August to 31 July.
- Broad STEM includes the following subject areas: Medicine and dentistry; Subjects allied to medicine; Biological and sports sciences; Psychology; Veterinary sciences; Agriculture, food and related studies; Physical Sciences; General and others in sciences; Mathematical sciences; Engineering and technology; Computing; Geographical and environmental studies (natural sciences); and Architecture, building and planning.
- Narrow STEM is a subset of Broad STEM and includes the following subject areas: Biological and sports sciences; Psychology; Physical sciences; Mathematical sciences; Engineering and technology; Computing; and Geographical and environmental studies (natural sciences).
- Further notes and technical details are available in the bulletin on the Department’s website.
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