In time for International Women’s Day, we’re focussing on female domination! Using the latest stats from the Higher Education Statistics Agency, we’ve found which are the most popular degrees for females, according to the highest female to male ratio for university students in the UK. While many male dominated degrees surround maths and science, female dominated degrees are wide and varied. So here’s our list of the most female dominated degrees*, ranked by degrees with the highest percentage of female students.

(*Most recent data as of Feb 2024)

The top 15 female dominated degrees in the UK

From working with animals to medicine, to education and geography, female dominated degrees lead to some of the most important careers. Here we list the top 15 degrees where females outrank males.

1. Veterinary Sciences: 82.6 %

degrees with highest percentage of femalestudents - veterinary sciences
Source: Studying-in-UK

Despite the high percentage of women studying veterinary sciences, there is still a gender disparity in the profession. According to the University of Lancaster, women are disproportionately more likely to be assistant rather than a director or partner of a veterinary practice, so there is still inequality here that needs to be addressed.

2. Psychology: 81.2% 

highest percentage of female students - psychology female dominated degrees

There is a similar pattern in Psychology, where despite lots of women studying the subject, men still dominate the top echelons of the field. However, with lots more girls studying the subject, hopefully, this will change, and they can regain their top position.

3. Subjects allied to medicine: 79.6%

female studying physiology

This includes subjects related to medicine, such as anatomy, physiology and pathology. It’s the third most female dominated degree in the UK, according to the latest stats! Women and science clearly go hand-in-hand.

4. Education and teaching: 77.7%

highest percentage of female students - teaching female dominated degrees

Teaching, at a secondary or primary level, is highly female-dominated, with just under 23% male students. This is the same across all ethnic groups with women, with 85% of teachers identifying as white-british. Clearly, there is a disparity in race and gender in schools which needs to be addressed; children need to have diverse role models whilst growing up, and not just in the media.

5. Languages: 72.3%

highest percentage of female students - languages

This percentage is unsurprising if we consider that a 2020 report from the British Council revealed that girls are twice as likely to achieve a pass in a modern languages GSCE. It’s time to say ‘au revoir’ to the boys and ‘bonjour’ to becoming the real-life ‘Emily in Paris’, as a language degree still has the highest percentage of female students.

6. Social Sciences: 66.5%

most female dominated degrees uk

Most of the male-dominated degrees are science based so it is no surprise that females dominate the humanities and social science degrees.

The social sciences encompasses subjects such as sociology and psychology. As we have previously discussed, psychology is almost 70% females. If we consider that 77% of students taking A-Level Sociology were female in 2017, it makes sense that the majority would study social sciences at university.

Although we have discussed the gender gap in most subjects, it is worth noting that changes need to happen across the board to achieve more gender equality in university courses and beyond. However, it is also important that we celebrate the advancements in men and women choosing to study at university, and starting to dominate the degrees we’ve mentioned in both of our lists.

7. Agriculture, food and related studies: 64%

most female dominated degrees uk

Studying agriculture can be a rewarding and challenging experience for those who are passionate about sustainability, environmental conservation, and food production. Agriculture is a critical field that plays a significant role in meeting the world’s growing demand for food, fibre, and fuel while minimising negative impacts on the environment.

It’s one of the most dominated female degree areas, where many females are drawn to agricultural studies because of their interest in sustainable agriculture and food security. These issues have become increasingly important in recent years, and women are often at the forefront of efforts to address them. Women are also more likely to be involved in small-scale agriculture and farming, which are crucial to local food systems and rural development.

8. Design, and creative and performing arts: 63.8%

most female dominated degrees uk

There’s clearly more female students at 64.3%, but it’s unclear why. Some theorise that girls are socialised into being creative from a young age (compared with guys who are socialised to be more competitive). Others argue it’s biological, where one study found that estrogen is an asset to creativity? So, maybe it’s both?

These fields of study offer a wide range of career opportunities for those who are interested in pursuing a career in the arts, as well as for those who wish to express themselves creatively. However, the gender gap in design and creative arts fields has been a topic of concern for many years. Despite the fact that women make up a significant portion of students in these fields, they are often underrepresented in leadership positions and higher-paying roles.

9. Law: 63.7%

law is a female degree, gender gap

Women have made significant progress in recent years in attaining leadership positions in the legal profession in the UK. However, there is still a significant gender gap in leadership positions in the legal industry, particularly in the most senior positions.

According to the Solicitors Regulation Authority, women make up approximately 49% of lawyers in law firms in the UK. However, only 33% of partners in private law firms are women, and only 28% of QCs (Queen’s Counsel, the most senior barristers) are women. So despite law being a heavily female-dominated degree, with higher percentages of females than males in the UK, there’s still gender imbalance in the workforce.

10. Medicine and Dentistry: 62.6%

highest percentage of female students - medicine

Again, despite increases in women studying medicine and the fact that the majority of GPs are women, there are great gender disparities in senior roles and pay. However, with the increased amounts of women in subjects such as biomedical science and medicine, this could change in the future, and it is still considered to be a degree with the highest percentage of female students – let’s not forget!

Despite the higher number of female medical and dental students, there are still gender disparities in the medical and dental professions, particularly in terms of leadership positions and pay. However, the trend of more female medical and dental students is a positive development that could lead to greater equity and diversity in these professions in the future. In 1995, there was only 37% of students. Now that number has grown, and the degree is mostly populated by female students!

11. Combined and general studies: 61.9%

combined and general studies

Some combined and general studies programmes may be designed to promote interdisciplinary thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills, which are highly valued in many professions. Female students may be drawn to these because of their interest in fields such as social sciences, humanities, and business, which can be integrated into these programmes. It’s currently the 11th degree with highest percentage of female students in the UK.

12. Media, journalism and communications: 60.2%


Although female students are proportionately higher in numbers than male students, media careers are still heavily dominated by males. There is a lack of representation of women in leadership positions in these fields. Women are often underrepresented in senior roles in media organisations, and this can limit their opportunities for career advancement and success. Fortunately, in areas such as sports for example, more female presenters and journalists are being appointed.

13. Geography, earth and environmental studies (social sciences): 57.3%

geography social sciences

Geography, earth, and environmental studies are social science disciplines that explore the relationships between humans and their environment. These fields of study provide a critical framework for understanding the complex and dynamic interplay between the natural world and human society. Although this is one of the more gender-balanced degrees, there’s still more female students than males.

14. Historical, philosophical and religious studies: 55.3%


When you think of famous philosophers and historians, they’re typically male. Plato, Socrates…David Attenborough. But maybe the face of these disciplines will change, as more female students are taking up these degrees than males. It’s the 14th degree with highest percentage of female students in the UK.

If you’re thinking of studying religious studies but not sure what you can do with it, here’s the best careers with this degree.

15. Geography, earth and environmental studies (natural sciences): 53.1%

geography natural science

Differing from the social science field of study, the natural science outlook focuses less on impacts on humans and more on the physical, chemical, and biological systems that shape the Earth’s natural environment. Given it’s more of a scientific subject, it’s less surprising that it’s fairly balanced between female and male students.

Bridging the gender gap in traditionally male-dominated degrees

The predominance of men in fields like engineering, computer science, and physics is a multifaceted issue. In the UK, as in many parts of the world, these fields have historically been seen as ‘masculine’, a perception that is slowly changing but still prevalent. For instance, in engineering, women make up only a small percentage of the workforce. This is not just a reflection of current choices but also of educational pathways that have been less accessible or appealing to women due to various societal and cultural factors.

The reasons behind this gender disparity are deeply rooted in the way these subjects are taught and perceived. From early education, there is often an implicit bias that steers girls away from subjects like mathematics and physics. Additionally, the lack of female representation in these fields perpetuates a cycle where young girls and women see these careers as less attainable or desirable.

Challenges faced by women in male-dominated fields

  1. Stereotypes and bias: Women in fields like engineering and computer science often confront stereotypes that question their abilities and suitability for these roles. These biases can manifest in various ways, from subtle doubts about a woman’s technical skills to overt discrimination. Such stereotypes not only affect the choices women make in their education and careers but also impact their day-to-day experiences in classrooms and workplaces.
  2. Lack of role models: The scarcity of female role models in STEM fields is a significant barrier. When women do not see others like themselves in senior, successful positions, it can reinforce the notion that these careers are not for them. This lack of representation can also mean fewer mentors for young women entering these fields, which is crucial for career development and confidence building.
  3. Workplace culture: For women who enter these fields, the workplace culture can be challenging. In environments where men significantly outnumber women, issues of gender discrimination and bias are more prevalent. Women may face challenges in being heard and respected, and may also encounter difficulties in accessing the same opportunities for career advancement as their male counterparts. This can lead to a feeling of isolation and a sense that they do not belong, which can further discourage women from entering or remaining in these fields.

Addressing the gender gap

Despite more female students in the areas listed above, there’s still big gender gaps at uni – find out which universities have the biggest gender gaps and which ones are making effort to tackle gender inequality. To address these challenges, there needs to be a lot of change. This includes reforming educational practices to encourage more girls to pursue STEM subjects, creating more visibility of female role models in these fields, and fostering a more inclusive workplace culture. Additionally, policies and initiatives that specifically support women in male-dominated fields can make a significant difference. These might include mentorship programs, networking opportunities, and targeted recruitment efforts.

Diversity and equality are important at unis, not just with gender, but race, ethnicity, nationality. We’ve also compiled a list of the least diverse unis in the UK, according to number of international student enrolments. As a student, it’s critical to know what kind of uni you’re going to and what is important to them.