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IT's loss is civils' gain in universities

BURSTING OF the dotcom bubble may have been very bad news for the IT sector but it seems to be having positive effects for civil engineering in the UK.

Provisional figures released by university admissions service UCAS last month showed 2,318 students have so far accepted places on civil engineering degrees in 2002, up 2.4% on last year.

Last year the final count was 2,484, but 2002 could reverse the downward trend from more than 4,000 eight years ago.

A marked downturn in the number of students beginning computer science courses has resulted in a rise in civil engineering admissions, said Institution of Civil Engineers senior vice-president Professor Adrian Long.

'There are definitely a number of students not taking computing who are taking civil engineering and physics instead, ' said Long, who is dean of the faculty of engineering at Queen's University Belfast.

'The bottom has simply dropped out of the IT market. We have 350 IT graduates this year, all who are struggling to get a job.' UCAS figures show that acceptances on to mathematical and computer science degrees are down 23.1% on last year. Software engineering is also down 4.5%.

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