An analysis of application rates to programs in information technology, science, and engineering
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A shift away from generic undergraduate degrees toward an emphasis on vocationally oriented qualifications has been evident in the awards offered by higher education institutions in Australia over the past few years. This has included those in information technology, science and engineering, where the growth in the number of, and variation in, awards has been particularly evident. The past few years have also seen a general, and in some cases significant, decline in the application rates for some forms of science and engineering. This has prompted many institutions to look at their awards with a view to making them more attractive, both to students and industry, often through the development of more highly specialized awards. In this paper, the authors investigate application trends for information technology, science and engineering awards from a number of perspectives, including the market perceptions of the institution offering the degree. Although the paper focuses on three broad categories of awards - information technology, science and engineering - some lessons may be appropriate for other disciplines. Moreover, although this study takes advantage of the centralized admissions systems used in Australia, available indicators show that the results may well be applicable in the United States and the U.K. and possibly elsewhere.