Science, Medicine and Law Lose out to Media Studies; UNIVERSITY ENTRANCE: Number of Students Taking Up Undergraduate Places Last Year Was Highest Ever
Byline: KAREN PRICE
MOST young people used to dream about careers as doctors, lawyers, teachers and engineers.
The traditional professions were regarded as "safe" as well as respectable, ensuring steady incomes, good prospects and pensions.
But today university students are ditching the courses that can lead to qualifications in those fields in favour of media studies.
It seems that more and more young people are keen to follow in the footsteps of high-profile journalists, such as BBC Breakfast presenter and former war correspondent Jeremy Bowen and GMTV's fast-rising reporter Lara Logan, who recently found herself reporting on the troubles in Afghanistan. Figures released yesterday by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (Ucas) reveal that there was a 22pc increase in the number of undergraduates taking up media studies courses in 2001 compared to the previous year.
Nursing and music are also popular choices, with both seeing a 15pc rise in students. Cinematics saw a 16.5pc increase.
Science and engineering are now the least favoured choices.
The number of students starting chemistry degrees fell 7.6pc while entrants to environmental and other physical science courses were down 9.4pc.
Civil engineering entrants dropped 5.3pc and mechanical engineering recruits were 5pc lower than 2000.
Each year, the Centre for Journalism Studies at Cardiff University is inundated with applications for its postgraduate media studies course.
"It's perceived as a sexy subject and the applications generally reflect that, " said David English, the centre's deputy director.
"It appeals to students who are not looking for a nine-to-five job. They like the sense of freedom of doing different things and meeting lots of people.
"Originally there was a perception that media studies was an easier options but now that it has become established with more academic books and journals it's regarded as a serious academic subject in its own right."
The Ucas survey also revealed the number of students who took up university and college places in autumn 2001 was the highest ever, with more than 18,000 more entrants than the previous year. …