The number of students applying to undergraduate built environment courses may be down this year according to survey

Will there be fewer built environment undergraduates in 2012?

Applications to study subjects in architecture, building and planning are down 16.3 per cent on 2011 figures, according to UCAS. The impact on landscape courses isn’t yet clear, but early figures from the LI’s accredited universities indicate that undergraduate applications may return to somewhere between 2008 and 2009 levels.

“We are at any early stage in the applications cycle – although the first applications deadline has passed, students can apply up until the end of the summer, so we won’t have the final figures until the autumn,” says Sue Beard, director of Education and Membership at the LI. “In particular, we don’t know for certain how applications will translate into student numbers. What is certain though, is that competition for students, particularly for the brightest and best, is becoming more fierce in landscape as in other subjects.”

The downturn follows the coalition government’s decision last year to allow universities to charge up to £9,000 per year for undergraduate courses. Although there will be no upfront payments, students will repay fees once they are earning above £21,000 per year.

Nationally, there has been a 7.4 per cent fall in the number of students applying to begin university in 2012, with the biggest drop seen by English courses, and in applications to English and Welsh higher education institutions.

The drop in undergraduate applications may not be entirely due to changes in universities fees, however. “We have been aware for some time that the numbers of students of university age are now decreasing. At the other end of the spectrum, we are now seeing people from an increasingly wide range of backgrounds coming into landscape at a postgraduate level or second career,” said Beard.

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