The number of applications to journalism degree courses starting this autumn has risen by almost a quarter on the previous year.
Newly released data from Ucas, the university admissions service, has revealed that journalism degrees are among the fastest growing courses in terms of popularity.
By the deadline of 15 January, Ucas recorded 13,229 applications to journalism courses. Each student can choose up to five courses on their application form.
Applications were up 24 per cent on last year – at a time when the journalism jobs market is contracting due to the economic downturn.
The National Union of Journalists estimates that at least 1,000 editorial jobs have been lost across the industry since last summer – including about 700 in the regional press.
Press Gazette’s own estimates, compiled each month by Media Money writer Peter Kirwan, put the figure at more than 4,000 since last July – but this includes all UK media staff and is not limited to journalists.
Ucas chief executive Anthony McClaran said: “There has been considerable speculation about the effect of current economic conditions on applications for higher education but these figures give some assurance that demand remains strong.”
According to Ucas, there are currently 774 degree courses in the UK offering an element of journalism – although many of these are combined with other subjects such as creative writing, English or media studies.
There are also a number of specialised journalism degree courses covering fashion, science and sport.
Most of the students beginning an undergraduate journalism course this September will graduate in summer 2012.
Among the other courses reporting an increase in demand this year are biotechnology, biological sciences, combined engineering and technology, and mathematical and computer science.
According to the National Council for the Training of Journalists, 1,721 students attended accredited journalism courses in the 2007-08 academic year – up from 1,611 in the previous year and 1,326 in 2005-06.