British Born Chinese University Students still choose traditional subjects over creative ones

A recent study by the University of Westminster has found that British Born Chinese (“BBC”) students tend to choose ‘traditional subjects’ such as Business or Computer Science over more ‘creative’ subjects such as Dance or Public Relations.



Data provided by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (“HESA”) shows that in 2011, the top 10 undergraduate courses were dominated with traditionally ‘professional’ courses. With the top 5 undergraduate university courses all scoring over 600 students, it seems that courses such as Computer Science, Mathematics and Accounting have the same lure as doing a creative subject. Design studies, with 783 students and include subjects such as Graphic Design and Fashion within its category, is only beaten with the top choice. The top undergraduate course for the last 5 years has been Business.

Top 10 undergraduate courses chart
Top 10 undergraduate courses chart

Though it seems that the British Born Chinese Students still favour traditional subjects, creative subjects such as Design is gaining favour. With only 137 students exasperating the top two course choices it seems that no longer is the idea that you must do a ‘professional’ subject to get a ‘good job’.

Councillor Thomas Chan for the London Borough of Redbridge says ‘I think things have changed for both migrant children from Hong Kong as well as those overseas Chinese students from China – during the last 10 to 15 years. Yes, they are still doing the “professional” courses at Kings, Queen Mary, UCL, Oxbridge, and so on, but increasingly, they are doing arts, design and other subjects which normally would give the impression that they won’t necessary lead to a job at the end of getting a qualification, especially those “creative” and/or “research” oriented subjects, such as history, geography, social anthropology, chemistry, and so on.’

Though many more overseas Chinese Students do media or arts based subjects than 10 or 20 years ago, it seems that for British Born Chinese students the traditional subjects still have a lure.

16 year old, Mara Sio from Orpington said “I’m aiming to get into a Russell Group University, maybe to do Engineering. If I was going to do an art-type course, it would be Architecture. I want to do something that has more money and would lead me to becoming more qualified” .





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