Home News Covid-19 and degree search behaviour

Covid-19 and degree search behaviour

The Covid-19 pandemic has swept the glove, and the facts are startling.

At the time of writing, there were a confirmed 1,920,918 confirmed cases worldwide and 119,686 deaths – a mortality rate of 6.23%.

In the UK alone, there have been 88,621 confirmed cases and 11,329 deaths – a mortality rate of 12.78%, which is more than double the worldwide average.

The University of Chichester have researched Google search behaviour in light of the pandemic, to see how the impact of the virus has altered applicant search behaviour around interest in different degrees.

Of course, it is of no great surprise that the search term ‘NHS’ has seen a significant uplift in applicant interest, since the outbreak:

In fact, searches have seen just under a 400% increase in the middle of March 2020, when comparing to the average over the past 5 years.

Medicine Degree Searches

It would appear that the increase in NHS related searches is transitioning into the future generation seeking to become involved, as the graph below shows:

Searches for medicine related terms are have seen a 33% increase in March this year vs the same period last year – a hefty increase, but perhaps not so surprising given the struggles the world currently faces.

Medicine vs Other Degree Types

It’s useful to compare the trends in searches around some of the more popular degree types and making inferences as to their comparisons with medicine related courses. A good example is shown in the graph below:

Maths degrees typically have a higher interest on Google, with only sporadic occasions whereby the trend data shows medicine above the maths line. However, at the time of writing, searches for medicine degrees are currently 300% greater than for maths degrees, implying a shift in interest from applicants.

And the same applies to another hugely popular course – teaching. You can see the shift in search trends in the graph below:

At one point, there was interest in teaching courses that was more than double that of interest in medicine course. However, as Covid-19 has swept the globe, the data is now showing that the tide has shifted quite dramatically – to the tune of medicine now attracting almost double (+96%) the interest of teaching.

Of course, there is no absolute evidence that search behaviour is a true indication of the direct correlation between the Covid-19 outbreak, and the changing trends aforementioned. But basic data interpretation is indicative that such a correlation does exist.

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