UCAS data on applications in Classical subjects, 1998-2000

Graham Shipley

In September 2001 CUCD commissioned a data search from UCAS on applications in classical subjects for the years 1998-2000. (It was agreed not to ask for data before 1998 as methods of recording had changed and comparability was not assured.) The data was received in the form of an Excel table with 18,787 rows of data measuring nine variables by year:

I then did some further analysis of the data received in the UCAS tables, and for comparison analysed the aggregate data for humanities and language subjects available from the UCAS website. (Unfortunately it is not possible to get education sector data by subject in this way - which is why CUCD commissioned its own data search.) The tables and charts following represent a preliminary analysis of the data.

UCAS code groups

I researched all UCAS degree codes (several hundred) with classics, classical, ancient history, or modern Greek in their titles. Often the same code covers degrees with slightly different titles and, presumably, content. (The data also include a few non-classical joint degrees with the same UCAS codes as joint degrees with Classics or Ancient History.) In order to satisfy UCAS's requirements about confidentiality, degree codes had to be grouped so that it would not be possible to make inferences about particular universities with distinctive courses attracting small numbers of applicants. Fifteen groups ('C_groups') were agreed between CUCD and UCAS:
  1. Classics or classical combinations (no ancient history in title)
  2. Ancient History, and Ancient History in classical combinations
  3. Classics and science
  4. Ancient History and science
  5. Classical and social science etc.
  6. Ancient History and social science etc.
  7. Classics and English
  8. Ancient History and English
  9. Classics and French/German/Italian/Spanish
  10. Ancient History and French/German/Italian/Spanish
  11. Classics and other languages/cultures
  12. Ancient History and other languages/cultures
  13. Other Classical non-AH combinations
  14. Other Ancient History non-classical combinations
  15. Modern Greek studies without classical component


Significance of the data

Jim Wilkins (Department of Data & Analytical Services, UCAS) advises:

Count of Applicants is based upon a student having made at least one application to the "C_Group" being examined. For example a student who applied (original choices on the application form) 3 times to C_Group1 courses, 2 times to C_Group2 courses and once to a C_group3 course would be counted as a single applicant to each of the C_Groups 1, 2 & 3. Caution should be exercised, as clearly some students will be counted in more than one C_Group.
Thus we cannot unravel exact numbers of applicants from the data supplied, but only numbers of applications,. A typical row of the data reads: '[group] 14, [age] 18, Male, Intermediate, Home, Sixth Form College, H Further/Higher Education, White, H South East, 1999, 9 [applications]' - i.e. there were nine applications from students of that description in the South East in 1999. There were therefore not 18,787 applicants, or even applications, between 1998 and 2000, but a larger number of applications (actually 27,856) and an unknown number of applicants (presumably fewer than 18,787).

Note that in the tables percentages usually add up along rows, except in the last column, where they add up down the column.


I. Analysis of UCAS Data Search

1998 home applications by classical element

Maint%Indep%GM%FE/HE%oth/unk%Total%
ClCl/AH178175144910610174168581,057
AHAH/Cl239341572267918226659710
4172467138173103562015081,76720
Clsci6146522
Clsoc1510215547
ClEn6180257116253
ClML1939810884
Cllang1171013413037419
Clnon-AH1471474511457510
3652737828118934626128101,33515
AHsci347533887
AHsoc4611551394661561,377
AHEn10524359136291
AHML14481297115340
AHlang11625106425240
AHnon-Cl9633873329232712,876
1,8233567913550111,64832511105,21159
MGnon-Cl1623186165611182344285286
2,767311,81421897102,5322983198,841100

1999 home applications by classical element

Maint%Indep%GM%FE/HE%oth/unk%Total%
ClCl/AH173174964910110176177671,022
AHAH/Cl2273215622711018126659700
4002365238172103572114181,72220
Clsci7227119
Clsoc139518348
ClEn6481296019253
ClML143529464
Cllang991033913536412
Clnon-AH1141525613961522
3112438229133103682812491,31815
AHsci278237781
AHsoc4601561404041421,302
AHEn110303110929309
AHML13496475317347
AHlang11426114916216
AHnon-Cl8843733268563012,740
1,7293568914557111,50830512104,99559
MGnon-Cl1603488196814121263574726
2,600311,81121930112,35428812108,507100

2000 home applications by classical element

Maint%Indep%GM%FE/HE%oth/unk%Total%
ClCl/AH16518431471111214115657913
AHAH/Cl2263415523641016324599667
3912558637175113041912481,58018
ClEn6278375421252
ClML1842514786
Cllang8992418833343
Clsci5522216
Clsoc151359244
Clnon-AH1601586713870593
34926388291571230523135101,33416
AHEn13525268119286
AHML16483356114357
AHlang14332197522291
AHsci213326760
AHsoc5171831324141281,374
AHnon-Cl1,0144002998672842,864
1,9943872614514101,5242947495,23261
MGnon-Cl1453288195412125284094525
2,879331,78821900102,2582677398,598100

1998 home applications

MaintIndepGrantMFE/HEoth/unkntotal
pure Cl/AH 4176711733561501,767
oth Cl comb 3653781183461281,335
oth AH comb 1,8236795501,6485115,211
MG non-Cl 162865618242528
2,7671,8148972,5328318,841

1999 home applications

MaintIndepGrantMFE/HEoth/unkntotal
pure Cl/AH 4006521723571411,722
oth Cl comb 3113821333681241,318
oth AH comb 1,7296895571,5085124,995
MG non-Cl 160886812135472
2,6001,8119302,3548128,507

2000 home applications

MaintIndepGrantMFE/HEoth/unkntotal
pure Cl/AH 3915861753041241,580
oth Cl comb 3493881573051351,334
oth AH comb 1,9947265141,5244745,232
MG non-Cl 145885412540452
2,8791,7889002,2587738,598
25,946





By gender

F%M%total
1998 5,517583,988429,505
1999 5,385593,748419,133
2000 5,310583,908429,218
27,856

By age

U-20%20-24%25-29%30-39%40+%total
1998 7,570801,039112923385421929,505
1999 7,44181921102723312318729,133
2000 7,628831,001112002231315829,218
27,856

By ethnic group

Asian%Black%White%Other%Unkn%total
1998 20329717,8788312311,204139,505
1999 21628317,6998412511,010119,133
2000 22829517,6988415021,047119,218
27,856

By region

NEYor/HumMersNWE MidW MidE EngG LonSESWWalNIScoEUOStotal
1998 2504933006723827218031,2781,6337784424336564821829,505
1999 2174792556233866658041,3161,5647894333576194391879,133
2000 3025342356703756597571,2631,4787894934406034072139,218
27,856

By larger region

NorthMid/EGLon/SESWWalNIScoEUOS
1998 1,7151,9062,9117784424336564821829,505
1999 1,5741,8552,8807894333576194391879,133
2000 1,7411,7912,7417894934406034072139,218
27,856

1998 overseas applications by classical element

A
Maint.
B
Indep
G
Grant Maint'd
H
FE/HE
x
Other
y
Not known
Grand Total%
ClCl/AH19214 2450 
AHAH/Cl23 10 1631 
8112
Clsci2  2 15 
Clsoc6121032 48108 
ClEn2 27 2031 
ClML310410 1643 
Cllang12211 1834 
Clnon-AH815748167146 
36755
AHsci12 2 38 
AHsoc 4 521627 
AHEn1    34 
AHML 521411436 
AHlang36220 2253 
AHnon-Cl812112912788 
21633
MGnon-Cl-
3880422045295664100

1999 overseas applications by classical element

A
Maint.
B
Indep
G Grant Maint'dH
FE/HE
x
Other
y Not knownGrand Total%
ClCl/AH19413 1845 
AHAH/Cl3628 1029 
7412
Clsci11 1 14 
Clsoc391621 4190 
ClEn3333 1527 
ClML24813 1643 
Cllang1415 920 
Clnon-AH11141847182173 
35757
AHsci 112 15 
AHsoc 226 313 
AHEn 212  5 
AHML35 12 1030 
AHlang11371113164 
AHnon-Cl1932414078 
19531
MGnon-Cl-
3082661683277626100

2000 overseas applications by classical element

A
Maint.
B
Indep
G Grant Maint'dH
FE/HE
x
Other
y Not knownGrand Total%
ClCl/AH11239 3055 
AHAH/Cl1425 719 
7412
Clsci  1  23 
Clsoc 3 1 26 
ClEn 1 4 27 
ClML 2 5 411 
Cllang1627 1329 
Clnon-AH212310 3158 
11418
AHsci1 15 29 
AHsoc313633 48103 
AHEn4316 1327 
AHML12313 1837 
AHlang3518 926 
AHnon-Cl920744 65145 
34756
MGnon-Cl218526 348514
2810135176-280620100
Some preliminary observations
  1. There was a slight drop in many sectors in 1999, partially regained in 2000. There is a fall in numbers applying to 'pure' Classics/Ancient History degrees in 1999 and 2000 in all education sectors except grant-maintained (c. 10% of the total): overall, 1,767 to 1,722 (2.5% down on 1998) to 1,580 (8.2% down on 1999); a total fall in two years of 10.6%. On the other hand, Classics and Ancient History non-Classical joint degrees, after a drop in 1999, are exactly where they were in 1998 (0% down).
  2. Non-classical joint Ancient History courses dominate heavily in all three years (59-61%). In terms of social class, relatively much greater numbers of Intermediate, Skilled Non-manual, and Skilled Manual applications are made to non-classical joint Ancient History courses than to 'pure' Classical courses or Classical joint courses.
  3. There is a remarkable consistency across the three years in the proportions of applications from gender groups, ethnic groups, and different educational backgrounds:
  4. There is an apparent decline in Modern Greek applications in 1999 and again 2000 (in all, 14% down); and an apparent sudden shift of EU/OS applications in 2000 from classical courses to joint Ancient History (and possibly Modern Greek?).


II. Analysis by age, gender, class, domicile, sector, ethnicity, region

For the following analysis, degrees have been grouped into (A) pure classics, (B) joint classical non-Ancient History, (C) joint Ancient History non-classical, and (D) modern Greek non-classical.

All applications, 1998-2000 by degree group and age

(Includes non-UK applications)
17-2021-2425-2930-3940+total
A4,8172359090665,298
B3,8412479697654,346
C13,90395953970340516,509
D1,4841143938281,703
total24,0451,55576492856427,856

Percentages
A914221100
B886221100
C846342100
D877222100
Group A receives the fewest, and group C the most, applications from students aged 21 or over (9% and 16% respectively).

All applications, 1998-2000 by degree group and gender

(Includes non-UK applications)
F%M%total
A2,872542,426465,298
B2,901671,445334,346
C9,270567,2394416,509
D1,16869535311,703
total16,2115811,6454227,856

* Includes non-UK applications

Perhaps surprisingly, whereas groups A and C receive a little over half their applications from females (54% and 56% resp.), groups B and D (joint classics non-AH, and modern Greek) are much more female-led (67% and 69% respectively).

All applications, 1998-2000 by degree group and social class

(Includes non-UK applications)
ProfIntermedSk non-MSk ManPartly SkUnskillednot knowntotal
A1,0852,303602518230585025,298
B7641,834484438216485624,346
C2,2706,5012,0222,1361,0812792,22016,509
D24068615121892242921,703
total4,35911,3243,2593,3101,6194093,57627,856

Percentages
A20431110419100
B184211105113100
C143912137213100
D14409135117100
164112126113100
There is a significant variation in the class backgrounds of applicants: e.g. 63% of applications to pure classics degrees come from Professional or Intermediate (the 'top' two social classes), 60% of joint classical non-AH, 53% of joint AH non-classical, 54% of modern Greek (there is, however, a large proportion of 'unknown' in this dataset, from 9 to 17%). It is clear, however, that joint AH non-classical degrees receive relatively twice as many applications from the 'lowest' two social classes, partly skilled and unskilled (if the figures are to be believed and the 'unknowns' are discounted): viz. 9% compared with 5%.

All applications, 1998-2000 by degree group and domicile

UK%non-UK%total
A5,0699622945,298
B3,9879235984,346
C15,438941,071616,509
D1,45285251151,703
25,946931,910727,856
Pure classics attracts relatively the fewest applications from non-UK students (4%), joint classics twice as many (8%), joint AH in between (6%), and modern Greek the most (15%) - though there is a suspicious shortfall in the modern Greek non-EU figures, which are probably seriously under-counted in two of the three years.

All applications, 1998-2000 by degree group and educational sector

MaintainedIndependentGrantMaintFE/HEOthernot knowntotal
A1,2171,9525331,076125085,298
B1,0371,2124291,120145344,346
C5,6102,2111,7114,989711,91716,509
D47830119750782121,703
8,3425,6762,8707,6921053,17127,856

Percentages
A23371020010100
B24281026012100
C34131030012100
D28181230012100
30201028011100
Pure classics attracts the largest proportion of independent sector applications (37%), followed by joint classics non-AH (28%), modern Greek non-classical (18%), and joint AH non-classical (only 13%)---a really striking difference, especially when one considers that the last group represents three-fifths of all applications to classical courses. Similarly, pure classics attracts the smallest proportion (20%) of its applications from the FE/HE backgrounds, joint AH non-classical and modern Greek both attracting many more (30%) with joint classics somewhere in the middle (26%) [of all FE/HE applicants, 42% are from sixth form colleges, 35% from 'Art Design & Performing Arts', 14% from 'further education', and 7% from 'tertiary colleges']. All groups of degrees attract roughly equal proportions of their applications from grant-maintained schools (10-12%).

All applications, 1998-2000 by degree group and ethnic group

Asianblackwhiteotherunknowntotal
A111324,628734545,298
B116573,532825594,346
C37115813,8572151,90816,509
D49281,258283401,703
64727523,2753983,26127,856

Percentages
A218719100
B3181213100
C2184112100
D3274220100
2184112100
Joint non-classical and modern Greek attract slightly more black and Asian applicants than the rest (4-5% as against 3%), though there is a large and variable number of applicants of unknown ethnic group (from 9% to 20% of applications)

All applications, 1998-2000 by degree group and region

A
NE
B
Yo/
Hum
C
Mers
CNWD
E Midl
E
W Midl
F
Eastn
G
G
Lon
H
SE
I
SW
J
Wal
K
NI
L
Sco
W
EU
X
oth OS
total
A142250993491763424699151,031509226325236165645,298
B103232552491403174097818003091012162752461134,346
C4639015491,2497611,2771,3711,9592,5581,4079626651,31672234916,509
D611238711866109115202286131792451195561,703
7691,5067901,9651,1432,0452,3643,8574,6752,3561,3681,2301,8781,32858227,856

Percentages
A352736917191046431100
B25163791818725663100
C35385881215964842100
D475746712178513113100
35374781417854752100

Percentages of each region
A18171318151720242222172613121119
B131571312161720171371815191916
C60606964676258515560705470546059
D8811665556662315106
100100100100100100100100100100100100100100100100
  1. Pure classics is dominated more strongly than the rest by the South-East (19%), London (17%), the South-East (10%), eastern England (9%), followed by the North-West (7%), the West Midlands and - perhaps interestingly - Northern Ireland (6%) each.
  2. Joint classics non-AH has a similar proportion from the London and the SE (18% each), but other applications are more evenly spread over the country (9% Eastern England, 7% each from W Midlands and South-West; 6% each from North-West, Scotland, and the EU)
  3. Joint AH non-classical is even less strongly dominated by London and the SE (12% and 15% resp.), with 9% from the SW and 8% each from the NW, the W Midlands, E England, and Scotland
  4. Modern Greek non-classical attracts 17% from the SE, 12% from London, 11% from the EU, and 8% from the SW, with 7% each from Yorks/Humber, the NW, and E England
  5. Some observations on the applications from each region (of course dominated by joint AH non-classical in each region):


III. Comparative data from all humanities & languages (2000)

Only data for 2000 has been analysed, as the classical data were so consistent across three years.

2000 applications by gender

MFtotal
V5,3216,02311,344
QRT5,29713,37618,673
10,61819,39930,017
V%4753100
QRT%2872100

2000 applications by social class - Home (UK) applicants only

ProfessnlIntermedSkilled ManSkilled NMPartly SkUnskilledUnknowntotal
V190043641138116854817290010190
QRT17304386109412325621607809944
36308750223224001110332168020134
V%19431111529100
QRT%17441112628100

2000 applications by age

171819202122232425-2930-3940+total
V2086,5142,340550271161987930044038311,344
QRT37111,1783,81098343129720615544249031018,673
total57917,6926,1501,53370245830423474293069330,017
V%2572152111343100
QRT%2602052211232100

Grouped figures for under-20s and 20-24s:

U-2020-24
V9,0621,159
QRT15,3592,072
total24,4213,231
V%8010
QRT%8211

2000 applicants by ethnic group - Home (UK) applicants only

TotalAsianBlackWhiteotherunknowntotal
V174709,33811649210,190
QRT2681048,9101784849,944
Total44217418,24829497620,134
V%219215100
QRT%319025100

2000 Home/EU/OS applicants

UKEUOStotal
V10,83927722811,344
QRT17,34587345518,673
28,1841,15068330,017
V%9622100
QRT%9352100

2000 applications by educational sector (all subjects)

MaintIndepGMaintFE/HEothunknowntotal
102,79435,16031,592144,0891,68173,775389,091
%269837019100

Some observations from the comparison of the data for classical subjects with the above figures for humanities and languages as a whole:

  1. Classical degrees generally have much higher independent sector applications than all subjects (21% in the year 2000, as against 9% generally); 'pure' classics degrees have a much higher proportion of independent sector applications (37%) than joint classics (29%) or joint ancient history degrees (14%).
  2. The percentage of female applicants (58% in 2000) is higher than the figure for all 'V' degrees (humanities, including most joint AH courses), which have 53%, but much lower than for 'QRT' degrees generally (language-based, including most classics and joint classics courses) which have 72% female; this could be because of the predominance of joint AH applications in our dataset.
  3. Applications by age are in line with humanities generally. V degrees generally attract slightly more applications from those aged 25+ than language-based degrees; further analysis of our UCAS datasearch would be needed to clarify this, but again it seems likely that the joint AH numbers are bringing the total into line with V degrees, and it is possible that classics degrees are attracting fewer mature students.
  4. Applications by ethnic group are also in line with humanities generally, though one would expect slightly more applications from ethnic minorities in language-based studies than in humanities on the basis of the national data.
  5. 407 out of 8,598 applications to all classical degrees in 2000 were from the EU, or 5%; 213 were from non-EU countries, or 2%; this is close to language-based degrees generally, which recruit the same, whereas humanities degrees generally recruit only 2% EU and 2% OS; so in this case it is likely that the numerically dominant joint AH applications are themselves recruiting more EU students than subjects in general.

Graham Shipley

University of Leicester


CUCD Bulletin 30 (2001)
© Council of University Classical Departments 2001

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