Universities are autonomous bodies, independent from government, and they have control over decisions about who to admit to their courses. However, overall numbers of students studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are rising. We are encouraging more students into STEM, at all stages of their education, and in 2019 there were 54,000 more entries to STEM A levels than in 2010 – a 26% increase. Data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) also shows that the share of students studying science subjects at English higher education institutions has increased from 41% in 2010/11 to 46% in 2018/19.
In 2018/19, there were 3,020 full-time undergraduate enrolments to pharmacy, up from 2,715 in 2010/11.
Despite rising STEM student numbers, we are far from complacent and we know that employer groups continue to point to an unmet demand for higher level STEM skills. Effective careers guidance and advice is key to supporting young people in their education and career choices to undertake learning and develop skills in the areas employers are looking for. The government’s Careers Strategy sets out a long-term plan to build a world class careers system to achieve this ambition. We are increasing the information available to students to ensure they can make informed choices about what and where to study. The delivery of the Careers Strategy also ensures that STEM encounters, such as with employers and apprenticeships, are built into school career programmes.
 Department for Education's analysis of HESA student record