Health educators welcome unprecedented rise in applicants to nursing courses

9 July 2020

The Council of Deans of Health has welcomed data from the University and College Admissions Service (UCAS) showing an unprecedented increase in the number of applicants to undergraduate nursing courses across the UK.

Data on the number of applicants to undergraduate nursing courses across the UK ahead of the 30 June 2020 deadline shows an overall increase of 15% compared to last year. About 7,800 more people applied to nursing courses than in 2019. The number of applications for nursing courses received by providers in England, Scotland and Wales has increased, as has the overall number of 18-year old applicants and applicants aged 20 and above.

Professor Brian Webster-Henderson, Chair of the Council, commented:

“Today’s figures showing an increase in applications to nursing courses are incredibly positive. This increased interest reflects the value of nursing careers and the high esteem in which the profession is held. It is particularly encouraging to see the growth in the number of mature applicants, who have always represented a significant and important part of the workforce.

“Universities have worked hard to promote and recruit to these courses, and with their placement partners to increase capacity. We must now ensure that we continue to have the infrastructure to support and sustain this growth in numbers”.

Dr Katerina Kolyva, Executive Director of the Council, said:

“Over the last few months, the Council has been working very closely with stakeholders in all four nations to support the sector’s recovery from the severe disruption that the Covid-19 pandemic caused and to enable universities to welcome a new cohort of students in September. We will continue to support our members over the summer to expand placement opportunities for this new cohort of healthcare students”.


  1. The Council of Deans of Health is the voice of the deans and heads of UK university faculties for nursing, midwifery and the allied health professions.
  2. Council of Deans of Health briefing on UCAS applications ahead of 30 June 2020 deadline
  3. UCAS June 2020 deadline analysis 
  4. For more information on this press release, please contact Jon Eames, 07496 693 806

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