Which degree has the highest number of dropouts in the UK?

Latest figures from HESA show a large number of Undergraduate dropouts in their statistics published for the year 2016/2017.
  • “Computer science” is the degree with the highest numbers of drop-outs.
  • 43% of students say their universities haven’t offered them psychological support when needed.
  • 38% of university students can’t keep up with their workload.
  • 35% of University students felt pressured to continue their studies by their families.

There has been a constant decrease in university applications over the past 5 years, as revealed by the latest stats released by UCAS. In fact, from 2015 to 2019, there has been an 8.59% decrease in people enrolling in University.

This could be due to increasingly higher University fees but also due to the rise of apprenticeships, entrepreneurial spirit and other on the job training opportunities.

As a result, has decided to investigate the matter further, by finding out what courses have the highest number of dropouts, and asking those who decided to leave university how they felt about their situation. 

Firstly, had a look at the latest data by HESA regarding the number of dropouts for all courses and noticed the latest figures show that the 5 courses with the highest dropout rates are: Computer sciences (9.8%), Business & administrative studies (7.4%), Creative arts & design (7.2%), Engineering & technology (7.2%) and Mass communications & documentation (7.2%). 

Finally, asked 1,238 students and former students about their university experience and whether their Universities offered them the psychological support they needed.

The results revealed that 72% of students have considered dropping out of university at some point – this mainly occurs in 2nd year (49% were close to leaving this year). Many participants though it was fairly difficult to get psychological support at university (30%) and even more felt pressure from their family to stay at university (35%).

Victoria, dropped out of Newcastle University after the first year: 

“Fairly soon after I started my degree I could feel my mental health deteriorating considerably. When I first started, I was very excited to meet new people, get stuck into societies and learn more. However, after a few weeks had passed, I noticed my feelings towards university were becoming increasingly negative. I would regularly break down in tears, and often for no reason at all. 

My boyfriend and parents were really worried about me. I went from being a happy, excitable and sociable sixth form student ready for the future, to a complete recluse who couldn’t stop crying. I began to think that this isn’t okay, and I needed to seek help from my university’s student services for my problems. After a few weeks, I was given an appointment time and date – much faster than I had anticipated. 

Despite being happy to be seen and to begin counselling to get back on track, it was the student services that, in fact, made me feel worse. At my first appointment to find out if I was eligible for counselling, the counsellor insisted that everyone else was feeling the same and there was nothing wrong with me. She even suggested I was making it up. Despite this woman making me feel “crazy”, I was actually offered psychological support from my university in the end. I met with a counsellor every week, who was lovely and tried her best to help me, but after a lot of perseverance and deliberation, I figured that university was not right for me – at least not at that time.”