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Last Updated: Monday, 20 December, 2004, 18:16 GMT
University confirms subject cuts
There are fears for the future of degree-level chemistry
Exeter University has confirmed it is to close its chemistry and music departments next summer, following a vote by its governing body.

The plans, aimed at cutting a 4.5m annual budget deficit, are expected to mean 130 job losses.

Exeter's full council on Monday ratified an earlier decision by its senate to stop teaching the subjects.

Parents of existing students have threatened legal action if their degree courses are cancelled.


Dr Wendy Paterson, of Parents Against Cuts at Exeter, said: "It would be our only option and we are going to ensure that the university do actually meet all their contractual obligations to the students in full."

The Conservative Party's higher education spokesman, Chris Grayling, called the university's decision a "tragedy".

A Royal Society of Chemistry spokesman said: "Chemistry is necessarily more expensive to teach but adds more economic value than many other subjects. Hence it is vital to this country that it prospers."

Departments cut/closed
Derby - theology, colour and imaging
Durham - linguistics
East London - French, Spanish
Glasgow Caledonian - public management, consumer and trading standards, information management
Kent - chemistry
Kingston - German, history of ideas
Lampeter - Australian studies, anthropology and religion
Newcastle - pure physics, theology
Queen Mary London - chemistry

Exeter's chemistry department has been given a 4 rating for its research, below the top 5 and 5* ratings.

Under the government's funding formula, this means it gets far less money than leading rivals.

The university argues that this makes chemistry too expensive to teach.

It is offering students who have to transfer elsewhere to continue their degrees up to 2,000 towards relocation costs.

A spokesman for the governing council said: "We have given a commitment to our students that they will receive an equivalent experience to that which they would have had."

The Exeter vote comes as a BBC survey shows one in five UK universities have closed or cut departments during the last year or plan to do so next year.

Some 73 of 120 higher education institutions responded to questioning.

Departments set to close/be cut
APU - pure chemistry
East Anglia - linguistics, German, Scandinavian studies
Exeter - chemistry, music, cognitive science, creative writing,
Huddersfield - geography, environmental science
Kingston - French, Spanish
Imperial - agricultural sciences

Seven were planning to close departments or stop teaching subjects.

Kent and Queen Mary London have also ended chemistry courses, with Anglia Polytechnic University planning to do so.

But 58 universities were looking at setting up new subjects or expanding existing ones.

Glasgow University said it was investing more in both its chemistry and physics departments.

Exeter was investing more in biology and geography provision.

Other universities surveyed were introducing or putting more money into combined science courses, like chemistry with nanotechnology, law chemistry and physics with pilot studies.

The government wants 50% of people under the age of 30 to enter higher education in England by 2010.

Courses being opened or expanded at universities responding to the BBC News survey:

Gaelic, Technology with Education
Abertay Dundee
Environmental Studies, Sociology, Computer Arts, Psychology
Anglia Polytechnic University
Journalism, Media Production, Radio & Sound Production, Film, TV & Video Production Publishing, English Language, Film Studies, Graphic Design, Retail Management, Financial Services, International Business Law, Legal Studies, Crime Investigation, Interior Design, New Media Production, Health Psychology, Veterinary Nursing, Osteopathy, Marine Biology, Ophthalmic Dispensing, Sports Science, Health & Social Care & Assessment of Elderly
Food Marketing, Occupational Therapy, Occ. Physiotherapy,
East Asian Studies, expansion of Physics Department (nanotecholgy)
Biosciences & Engineering
Central Lancashire
Sports, Computing, Technology, Health & Biosciences, Business Studies
City Univ. London
Politics, Social Sciences
Unable to say at this stage.
Physics, Chemistry
East Anglia
Speech and Language Therapy
East London
Health & Biosciences, Digital Arts, Media & Communications, Computer Games
Health & Human Sciences, Biological Sciences, Drama & Theatre Studies
Biology, Geography
Media Technology, Nursing & Health related sciences
Chemistry, Physics, Chinese Studies, Info. Management & Preservation
Glasgow Caledonian
Fashion Marketing, International Business, Health Statistics
Psychology & RPE (religion, philosophy & ethics), Fine Art Photography, Digital Media, Photojournalism, English Language
Financial Mathematics, Robotics, Automotive Engineering, Forensic Chemistry, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Psychology, Sport & Exercise Science
Applied Sciences, Pharmacy, Drama, History, English
Heritage Science, Social Policy, Sociology, Social Research
Landscape Planning, Graphic Communications, Illustration &Animation, Live Arts, History of Art, Business Management, Int. Business With French/Spanish, Computer Information, Computer Biology, Early Years Education
American Studies, Audio Technology, Nursing, Web Design, Web Technology
Evolutionary Anthropology, Archaeology of Ancient Civs., Chemistry with Nanotechnology, Aerospace Engineering, Laser Engineering, Latin American & Hispanic Studies, Comparative Literary & Cultural Studies.
Goldsmiths College London
Unable to say at this stage.
Imperial College London
Environmental Sciences
London Business School
Unable to say at this stage.
Media & Communications, Cold War Studies, Human Rights Studies, Analysis of Risk &Regulation, Applicable Mathematics, Biomedicine, Gender, Development &Globalisation, Global Politics, Politics & Communication, Risk & Stochastics, Urbanisation & Development
Queen Mary London
Business Management
Royal Veterinary College
Unable to say at this stage.
St George's Hospital Medical School
Health & Medical Sciences, Pharmacy
University College London
Crime Science, Geospace & Environmental Management
London Metropolitan University
Chemistry, Biochemistry, Physiology, Nutrition & Dietetics
Health-Related Subjects
Music Technology, Interior Coaching Science, Creative
Life Sciences
Manchester Metropolitan
Robotics & Automation, Consumer Law, Product Design, Lifestyle Retailing, Arts &Cultural Enterprise, Exercise &Sport Science, Health Studies, Education, Law Chemistry, Clothing Design & Technology
Biomedical Sciences
Applied Physics, Nanotechnology, Molecular Engineering
North East Wales Inst. of HE
Art, Early childhood Studies, Radio Production & Media Studies, Product Design, Housing
Uni. of Northumbria, Newcastle
Information not yet available - but university expects to expand in a number of subject areas.
Veterinary Studies
Oxford Brookes
Film Studies, Arts Administration, Science & Society, Biomedical
Forensic Science, Zoology, Pharmaceutical Science, Sports, Events Management
Criminal Justice & Law, Environmental Forensics, Marine Sports Science, Technology& Business
Queen Margaret Univ. College
Declined to answer.
Robert Gordon University
Business Studies, Health Care, Social Care, Computing, Art
Photography, Creative Writing, Managing Equality & Diversity, Dance Anthropology, Translation, Applied Psychological Research Methods, Choreography, Arts Therapy, Health & Healthcare
Physics with Pilot Studies, English Language & Linguistics, Animation, Space Science, Design, Waste Management, Radio Production, Psychology &Criminology, Psychology &Sociology
Nearly 100 new courses planned including Russia, Medical Genetics, Business Management, Mechatronics
Environmental History, Aquatic Science, Knowledge & Mind, Journalism, Community Service Learning
Chemistry, Physics, Physical Sciences
Law, Health & Medicine
Thames Valley
Construction, Technology, Social work, Para-Education (egg. classroom assistants)
Horticultural Research
West of England, Bristol
Criminology, Forensic Computing, Creative Music Technology, Film Studies
Film, Theatre, Television, Law, Dentistry

Why universities are closing departments

Fewer chemistry courses urged
03 Dec 04 |  Education
Clarke calls for degree safeguards
01 Dec 04 |  Education
Dons face chill winds of change
11 Dec 04 |  Education

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