English, law and PGCE courses have been revealed as the subjects with the highest number of dropouts at Oxford University, an investigation has found.
The three subjects saw more Oxford University students drop out because of mental health and illnesses than any other subject taught at Oxford’s world-renowned education establishment, according to figures obtained through a Freedom of Information request by the Guardian.
A total of 11 per cent of all students that dropped out of the university over the last four academic years were academics studying English.
The last academic year, 2014/15, saw seven English students drop out of the education facility, the highest figure of all subjects taught at the university over the last four academic years.
The dropouts were for medical reasons including stress and sickness.
Alasdair Lennon, vice-president for Welfare and Equal Opportunities at Oxford University Student Union, said it was difficult to conclude if it was because those are the subjects students found the hardest.
He said: “I think everyone at the university would say that their subject is the hardest and it’s a difficult to think about how you’d measure that.
“I took law, so of course I would say that it’s the hardest, however a lot of students take English and law so that might be a reason behind the figures.”
It also has one of the lowest drop-out rates in the county according the Higher Education Statistics Agency, with only 1.6 per cent of Oxford students dropping out, with the national average at about seven per cent.
A total of 155 students dropped in the last four academic years with Oxford taking in around 3,200 undergraduates each year.
A spokesperson for Oxford University said: “The decision to withdraw from studying for medical reasons is never taken lightly, and students may experience a wide variety of circumstances that lead to a medical withdrawal.
“Oxford’s high student retention rate reflects the personalised support students receive.”
Around 18,300 people applied for entry places at Oxford in 2015, meaning that on average there are around five applications for each available place.
In last year’s figures, five students dropped out of their PGSE course in comparison to law’s three.
Nearly 655 people per year take on the 12-month PGSE course whilst 192 students started a law degree at Oxford last year.
Almost 300 students start their undergraduate in English each year.
Only one politics student and one medicine student dropped out of the university in the last four academic years.
Beth McAllister, spokesperson for mental health charity Oxfordshire Mind said: “There are lots of cause of stress for different people; for students this can be their exams, deadlines, or the pressures of living away from home.
“Students can often talk to a university counselling service or get some peer support through their university.”