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Not the Age of STEM: What students’ subject choices tell us about British education since 1945

Lecture by Professor Peter Mandler, University of Cambridge.

University of Suffolk at West Suffolk College are excited to announce a brand new public lecture series with speakers covering a wide range of topics. For further info email

Wednesday, 8 November 2017,
18:00 to 19:00
Room E1.01 in the University building, West Suffolk College, Out Risbygate

The expansion of higher education from 5% of the population in the 1950s to nearly 50% today has not witnessed, as is often suggested, ‘the Age of STEM’.  

To the contrary, every wave of expansion in the higher education system over the past half century has seen a further drop in the proportion of students taking science subjects. 

This lecture shows this to be the case, explains why, and asks whether recent developments, which may be reducing higher education participation, might also be reversing the ‘swing away from science’.

Peter Mandler is Professor of Modern Cultural History at the University of Cambridge and Bailey College Lecturer in History at Gonville and Caius College. 

He writes on the cultural, social and intellectual history of Britain since c. 1800 and on the history of the humanities and the social sciences in the English-speaking world.  

From 2012 to 2016 he served a four-year term as President of the Royal Historical Society. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.