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MPs and their degrees: here's where and what our UK politicians studied

13th December 2019 For immediate release: The UK General Election on 12th December 2019 saw a landslide victory for the Conservative Party and a huge change in the makeup of the House of Commons.

Studee.com reveals the undergraduate education of the new government, and how it compares to the one that came before.

Key findings

  • There’s been an overall decline in the number of MPs who attended university
  • A smaller percentage of male MPs went to university than female
  • There’s been a decrease in the number of MPs who attended Oxbridge
  • Aberystwyth has dropped out of the top 10 most attended universities for MPs
  • Exeter and Birmingham Universities listed in the 10 most attended universities for MPs
  • Unsurprisingly the most popular subject for MPs to study is Politics

How many MPs attended university?

Our findings show the overall number of MPs who attended university has gone down slightly following the election. Before the election, 86% of MPs had gone to university, but this has now dropped to 85%. There are now 99 MPs who have not had a university education, showing you don’t have to be a graduate to gain a place in the House of Commons.

The number of MPs who didn’t go to university;

99 MPs (15%) who won seats in the 2019 election didn’t go to university 94 MPs (14%) before the most recent election didn’t go to university

Percentage of MPs who went to university;

85% of MPs elected in the 2019 general election attended University vs 86% of MPs who held seats before the general election

Did more male or female MPs go to university?

Our study also found a smaller percentage of male MPs have been to university compared to female MPs. The gap between the two has narrowed however, with the percentage of female MPs who have attended university dropping from 90% to 86%, and the proportion of male MPs staying at 84%.

Percentage of male vs female MPs who went to university 2019 election winners

86% of females went to university 84% of males went to university

vs MPs before the election

90% of females went to university 84% of males went to university

How many MPs went to Oxbridge?

Interestingly, although the number of MPs who have gone to university has dropped by just 1%, those who attended Oxbridge has dropped by 3%, from 22% to 19%. This shows that perhaps the supposed influence of Oxford and Cambridge graduates on UK politics is beginning to slip.

Percentage of MPs who went to Oxford or Cambridge;

19% of MPs elected in the 2019 General Election attended either Oxford or Cambridge University vs 22% of MPs who held seats before the election attended either Oxford or Cambridge University

Which party has the most Oxbridge graduates?

Of the MPs that went to Oxbridge, it’s perhaps no shock to find that 70% represent the Conservative Party, up 12% from the previous government. Labour MPs make up the vast majority of the difference, representing 28%, with the other 2% coming from the Liberal Democrats. Although they now boast 48 seats, not one SNP MP attended either Oxford or Cambridge.

144 MPs with seats before the 2019 election went to Oxford or Cambridge

58% of those were Conservative MPs 33% of those were Labour MPs 0% of those were SNP MPs 2% of those were Lib Dem MPs

123 MPs who won seats in the 2019 election went to Oxford or Cambridge

70% of those were Conservative MPs 28% of those were Labour MPs 0% of those were SNP MPs 2% of those were Lib Dem MPs

Which universities are most popular with MPs?

When it comes to the most popular universities that MPs attend, the top 4 remains unchanged following the election. Oxford, Cambridge, London School of Economics and Manchester still lead the way for providing the most MPs. Further down the list Glasgow, Edinburgh and Durham keep their places in the top 10, but there are now places for Birmingham and Exeter, with Aberystwyth dropping out.

The most popular choice of university for MPs who won seats in the 2019 election were;

  1. Oxford
  2. Cambridge
  3. London School of Economics
  4. Manchester
  5. Glasgow
  6. Durham
  7. Edinburgh
  8. Exeter
  9. Birmingham
  10. Joint = Nottingham, Newcastle, Hull, Bristol

The most popular choice of university for MPs before the election were;

  1. Oxford
  2. Cambridge
  3. London School of Economics
  4. Manchester
  5. Hull
  6. Glasgow
  7. Nottingham
  8. Edinburgh
  9. Durham
  10. Aberystwyth

What subjects do MPs study?

If you dream of becoming an MP, but don’t know which subject to study to get there, then these findings may shed some light. The most popular degrees studied by MPs before and after the election have changed slightly, with the top six remaining politics, law, economics, history and philosophy. Only the order has changed, with history now the 2nd most popular subject after politics, and law and economics slipping one place each.

The most popular subjects for MPs who won seats in the Dec 2019 election

  1. Politics - 20%
  2. History - 13%
  3. Law -12%
  4. Economics - 10%
  5. Philosophy - 6%
  6. English - 4%

Laura Rettie, Vice President of Global Communications at Studee comments: “It’s surprising to see there’s been a decrease in the number of MPs who went to university, especially because historically the perception of Conservative MPs has been different. The typical Conservative MP appears to be evolving.

There isn’t a precise recipe for election success, but our research demonstrates studying certain subjects at a handful of universities still has an overwhelming influence on your chances of becoming an MP.”

Methodology

  • We’ve looked into the undergraduate education of MPs before and after the election on the 12th of December 2019 using online data sources including:
  • We’ve referenced MPs Bachelors degree where possible. If this data wasn’t available we’ve used Masters degree data instead.
  • We’ve used modern/current names for all universities and military colleges have been included in the data.
  • If we’ve been unable to find any information about an MPs higher education online, we’ve attempted to contact them. If we’ve not heard back we’ve assumed they’ve not gone to university.
  • The most popular subjects include degrees with those words in the title.
  • The data for MPs who had seats in Parliament before the general election was captured between 1st of December 2019 and the 11th of December, when parliament was dissolved.

About Studee

Studee makes it simple for international students to find and apply to universities abroad. We’re the only website in the world with a multilingual team of NAFSA qualified advisors who speak to students, guiding them every step of the way from application to enrollment. Studee was co-founded by best friends Chris Morling and Simon Andrews in 2019. Chris has been dubbed in the global media as “Britain’s Best Boss” and recognized as one of the UK’s most successful tech entrepreneurs and philanthropists. Simon has worked in the global higher education sector for over 20 years, collaborating with universities all over the world to help millions of young people with their goals.