The number of students completing a first degree in science increased last year despite fears that young people are turning their backs on the subject.
Forty-three per cent of those graduating in 2003-4 did so in a science subject, compared to 42 per cent the previous year.
The number of graduates in physical sciences, physics, chemistry and related subjects increased to 180,000, the same as in 2000-1, though still fewer than four years ago.
Overall, the number of students completing first degrees in 2003-4 increased by 8,700 from the previous year to 282,100.
One in nine of these was awarded a first-class degree, up from one in 10.
More than 100,000 students gained other undergraduate qualifications such as diplomas and health and social care qualifications.
About 3,000 were awarded foundation degrees, the vocational higher education qualifications introduced in 2001.