UCAS data shows record number of applicants to nursing

18 February 2021

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

UCAS delayed the January 2021 application deadline by two weeks to allow schools and student more time to submit applications in light of the pandemic. Data on the number of applicants to undergraduate nursing courses across the UK ahead of the 29 January 2021 deadline shows an overall increase of 32% compared to last year up to 60,130 applicants. The number of applicants for nursing courses has increased for all age groups and for providers in all nations.

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

“The pandemic has raised the profile of the health and social care sector, highlighting the importance of health careers and the rewarding nature of these roles. The data released today tells a very positive story about the levels of interest in nursing careers, especially across all age groups and from diverse backgrounds with large increases in black, Asian and mixed race applicants and applicants from areas with low participation in higher education. It is particularly encouraging to see significant increases in mature applicants as well as applicants aged 18 years”.

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

“Universities have worked incredibly hard with their health and social care colleagues in 2020 to offer more students places on these courses than ever before and we are delighted to see the increased interest in health careers. To continue to increase student numbers to meet the Government’s growth targets we must now ensure continued investment in clinical placement capacity, technology, infrastructure and teaching staff”.


  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 29 January 2021 deadline
  3. UCAS January 2021 deadline

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