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Education: These are the most popular courses for Central European university students

Budapest, Hungary – Approximately 4.7 million students graduated from tertiary education establishments in the European Union in 2016, according to Eurostat, accounting for slightly less than 1% of the bloc’s total population.

More than a third of them (34%) graduated in social sciences, journalism, information, business, administration or law. The other most popular study courses among young Europeans were engineering, manufacturing and construction (15%), health and welfare (14%), arts and humanities (11%), followed by natural sciences, mathematics, statistics and ICT (11%) and education (9%).

How do Central European tertiary graduates compare to the rest of their European colleagues?

In the Czech Republic, around 90.700 students graduated from tertiary education establishments in 2016. The most popular fields of study were business, administration and law (20,1%), engineering, manufacturing and construction (14.9%), health and welfare (10,8%), social sciences, journalism and information (10,7%), followed by education (9,8%) and arts and humanities (8%).

In 2016, a bit more than 68.000 Hungarians graduated from tertiary education establishments. An important share of these students also graduated from business, administration and law (23,4%), far outranking other popular fields in Hungary like education (16,6%), engineering, manufacturing and construction (14,3%), social sciences, journalism and information (9,8%) and arts and humanities (9,7%).

In Slovakia, 56.280 students became tertiary education graduates in 2016. Once again, the most popular field of study was business, administration and law (20,3%), followed by health and welfare (17,8%), education (13,1%), engineering, manufacturing and construction (12,5%), social sciences, journalism and information (11,9%) and arts and humanities (7,5%).

And last but not least, Poland reported 487.640 new tertiary education graduates in 2016, mainly focusing in the fields of business, administration and law (24,2%), engineering, manufacturing and construction (15,6%), education (13,6%), health and welfare (12,8%), social sciences, journalism and information (10,5%), services (7,3%) and arts and humanities (7,2%).

So what can we take out from these figures? What are the overall trends?

In all four Central European countries, the most attractive subject area for tertiary education students is business, administration and law: between a fifth and a fourth of all students choose that line of study – with the highest rate recorded in Poland – in line with the rest of the EU (average of 24%). The share of graduates in engineering is also pretty constant among Visegrad Group countries (between 12.5% and 15% of overall graduates), also similar to EU average.

But then, diverging trends can be observed. Hungarians choose much more than their neighbors to study education – even though the rate of education students in all Visegrad Group countries surpasses the rest of Europe – and reports among the highest share of graduates in that category throughout the bloc, with more than 7 percentage points above the European average. A similar observation can be made regarding Slovak tertiary education graduates in the field of health and welfare, the second most attractive line of study with a share of students several points higher than in neighboring countries.

The fields of social sciences and arts and humanities, although often among the top 5 most attractive fields of study, barely make up more than 10% each of the tertiary education students in all Visegrad Group countries.

1 comment on “Education: These are the most popular courses for Central European university students

  1. Pingback: Why do students from Central Europe study business in Western countries? – Kafkadesk

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