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STEM interest drives boost in Uni of Adelaide applications

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Source: University of Adelaide

The University of Adelaide has experienced an increase in first-preference applications for its undergraduate degrees for 2020, with strong interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) programs.

First-preference applications from South Australian students for the University’s undergraduate degrees have increased by 8% on the same time last year.

This is based on applications submitted to SATAC (South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre) by the on-time deadline (30 September), representing the majority (around 80%) of applications for study at the University next year.

The increase has been driven by first preferences for a range of degrees in Sciences (up by 24%), Health and Medical Sciences (up by 10%) and Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences (up by 7%).

“It is pleasing to know that in the face of a decreasing number of students in Year 12, more South Australian students are making the University of Adelaide their university of choice,” says Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Mike Brooks.

“It’s especially exciting to see rising interest among young South Australians for STEM-related programs, as we help to prepare the workforce of the future to meet the needs of the State and industry. This is the most dramatic growth in first-preference applications we’ve seen in recent memory powered by interest in STEM.

“Our new strategic plan, Future Making, has challenged the University of Adelaide to provide its high-quality education to a growing community of learners, and directly aligns our University’s research and education mission with key industry priorities.

“Not only does the University of Adelaide attract the best and brightest students in the State, our students know that the campus experience here is second to none. Academic excellence combined with a vibrant campus life helps to shape highly skilled, well-rounded young people for the benefit of the State and the nation,” Professor Brooks says.

Among the many STEM-related degrees at the University of Adelaide that have attracted increases in first preferences for 2020 are:


  • various Science programs, including Biomedical Science, Marine Biology, and Wildlife Conservation Biology
  • the new Veterinary Technology degree.

Health and Medical Sciences

  • Dental Surgery, Nursing, Oral Health, and Psychology (Advanced).

Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences

  • various Engineering programs, including Architectural & Structural, Civil (double degree), Electrical & Electronic (double degree), and Mechanical
  • Computer Science (Advanced), Maths & Computer Science, and Mathematical Sciences (Advanced).

The latest preferences data for the University of Adelaide follows a recent announcement of a State-wide Subject-Based Entry scheme for all school leavers at the University for entry in 2020.

“The response to our new Subject-Based Entry announcement has already been overwhelmingly positive, helping to reinforce our interest in this issue for the benefit of the South Australian community,” says the University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Pascale Quester.

“It is too soon to know whether the announcement about Subject-Based Entry has had any impact on first preferences for next year.

“The University of Adelaide is committed to the success of students at university. We will continue to encourage young South Australians to make the best subject choices that will lead to success, for their benefit and for the benefit of the State,” Professor Quester says.

Professor Quester says the increase in first-preference applications for the University of Adelaide has come at a time of decline in the number of 18-year-old school leavers in the State.

“We know that the number of 18-year-old school leavers has been declining in recent years and is expected to reach its lowest point in 2020 and 2021,” Professor Quester says.

“However, ABS data suggests that the pool of 18-year-old school leavers in South Australia will soon swing upwards again, with 9% more young South Australians in that age group in 2025 than we see today. This, combined with the important need to reskill and upskill mature workers, represents an opportunity for the University of Adelaide and the State to educate a highly skilled workforce for the future.”

The University of Adelaide is the highest-ranked university in South Australia across all three of the major global rankings:

  • QS World University Rankings: 106
  • Times Higher Education World University Rankings: 120
  • Academic Ranking of World Universities: 137

To study at the University of Adelaide in 2020, visit: www.adelaide.edu.au

Media Contact:

David Ellis, Deputy Director – Media and Corporate Relations, The University of Adelaide
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762, david.ellis@adelaide.edu.au