Concerns have been raised over so-called "softer" science subjects being included with overall STEM subjects.
A House of Lords report published on Tuesday warned of the dangers of such a broad definition of STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths). The sub-committee explained how the growth in the numbers of students studying science and maths-based subjects is being fuelled by a rise in those studying courses that have "little science content".
The report reveals around 8,120 people graduated with a degree in sport science in 2009/10, up 120% from 3,650 people in 2002/03.
And the numbers of students awarded a degree in forensic and archaeological science has risen from 360 to 1,615 in the same eight year period - up a massive 349%, the report by a House of Lords sub-committee found.
At the same time, between 2002/03 and 2009/10, the number of UK students qualifying with a degree in engineering has fallen by 3%, while computer science numbers are down 27% and chemistry has remained static.
Sub-committee chairman Lord Willis said that there had been a rise in the numbers of students doing subjects like maths and physics at university, but added that these increases had been "really quite small".
"When you compare it with what has happened in other soft science subjects, particularly areas like sport science, which is topical at the moment, it pales into insignificance," he said.
The report adds there is a problem with the process, known as the joint academic coding system (JACS), used for defining different types of courses.
"The problem in defining STEM using JACS is that it leads to the inclusion of some degree subjects that traditionally have not been considered STEM (and where the direct STEM content may be small) such as some complementary medical courses or some sports science courses," it says.
"In terms of the overall numbers of students studying, and graduating from, STEM, such courses are then given the same value and weight as subjects such as engineering or chemistry, even though they may not be considered by many to be STEM and graduates from these courses may not have sufficient STEM skills to satisfy the demands of the employment market for STEM graduates.
Lord Willis said: "There are a significant number of what our report calls softer STEM subjects which are included within the JACS classification which have very little actual hard science or hard maths within them. And yet when you talk to business and talk to industry they are still really keen that graduates come out of university with hard science and hard maths in terms of their degrees. They are the people who are most employable."
He said that some graduates who have done a STEM degree may be finding that they are unemployed because they "do not have the skills they need to enter a particular area".
Forensic science was a "classic case," Lord Willis said.
He said they had heard evidence that firms working in this area do not want graduates with forensic science degrees but those who have studied chemistry instead.