Agri-food subjects had the largest surge in popularity of all UK university courses last year, according to new figures released today by the Higher Education Statistics agency.
Undergraduate student numbers for courses categorised as ’agriculture and related subjects’ saw a leap of 4 per cent, and post graduate numbers jumped up 29 per cent from 2013/14 to 2014/15.
The 29 per cent increase in postgraduate agriculture students was leagues ahead of all other advances, the closest being 10 per cent for subjects allied to medicine.
The figures, released by the Higher Education Statistics agency supports details from Harper Adams University which show student numbers double for some of its courses in just four years.
At a recent Higher Education event, Harper Adams was seen to buck the trend in reporting a rise in postgraduate numbers, with more than 700 first degree students starting this year as well.
Alex Hardie, postgraduate marketing manager said: "The agri-food sector is screaming out for highly knowledgeable graduates
"The sector is booming. People will always have to eat, and with the global population set to reach £9 billion by 2050, there are some serious challenges to be met."
Postgraduate loans from the Government have also helped the statistics.
Ms Hardie explained: "Masters-level study has just become achievable for more people, with the introduction of postgraduate loans by the Government.
"Anyone up to the age of 60 can get a £10,000 loan, repayable on similar terms to undergraduate degree loans, to pay for their tuition."