Students on threatened courses at the University of Exeter have been reassured by bosses they can finish their studies.
The last chemistry students will graduate in 2007
The university is ending some degrees in music, biological and chemical sciences and modern languages.
Up to 130 staff are to be made redundant from next July, although many will be retained on short-term contracts as courses are wound down.
The university said it has to plug a funding shortfall.
The university's projected deficit had ballooned from £1.5m this year to £4.46m.
Science subjects alone are losing more than £3m a year, the university said.
About £4m will be used to fund any pay-offs and talks about the terms of redundancy have already started.
A university spokesman said: "The redundancy money is a one-off payment, but we could not continue losing money year after year.
"We are not closed to alternative suggestions, but they have to be based on good evidence."
The chemistry department has suffered from the funding formula, which means that as a four star course it receives £21,000 per academic, compared with £46,000 per academic on the five star physics course.
"That makes physics viable," said the spokesman.
"Other universities are facing the same problems."
All courses are graded from one to five stars, by the Higher Education Funding Council for England.
The Royal Society of Chemistry fears more closures and predicts that of the 40 chemistry departments in British Universities, only 20 will remain open in 10 years.