The true cost of a degree Cost of arts degrees dwarfs sciences


As Prime Minister Theresa May prepares to announce an independent review on university tuition fees and student finance, many Brits will be hoping that this will signal a significant reduction in fees for future generations.

With university fees tripling in 2012 from £3,600 to £9,000, has taken a look at which degree costs the least per hour and delivers the most amount of teaching time, to find out what course gives students the least bang for their buck.

The research revealed that those who study an arts degree (history, English literature, theatre, etc.) are paying over three times as much per hour as a student specializing in a science subject.


All students pay the same tuition fees of £9250 per year and all students attend 30 weeks of seminars and lectures each year. However, a biology student will have on average of 22 contact hours per week while a history student has less than half the number of seminars with an average of eight hours per week. As a result, a history or literature student will pay £38.50 per hour while a biology student will pay £18.10 per hour –  a significant difference.

All students pay £308 per week for their degree, however a degree in nursing needs 26 contact hours per week, which means that a nursing student in the UK will pay £8.63 per hour. Meanwhile, a language student will be paying on average £27.50 per hour, with Spanish demanding 10 hours per week and Japanese 13 hours per week.

These findings show that although the arts are often the most appealing subject to students, a degree in science will actually be of much better value. Therefore, a history student should think twice about skipping that Monday morning seminar – it could cost you close to £50.