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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 October, 2003, 11:32 GMT 12:32 UK
Little interest in Geordie degree
Angel of the North
Culture is one of the topics covered by the course
The first university degree studying everything Geordie has attracted just ten students.

The University of Sunderland's BA in North East Studies was launched in June but the apparent lack of interest has caused some critics to question the value of the degree.

Councillor George Howe, of Sunderland City Council, told the BBC: "I think you can get a degree for anything these days and I think it's undervaluing the degree process and the achievements that a degree is supposed to give young people.

"I think it's a situation of overkill. I would have thought that North East studies would have been able to be incorporated in a much broader degree, for instance a history degree.

"I don't see it's a degree course at all."

I am delighted we have got those students all of whom are very keen to further their studies on the region
Dr Simon Henig, course leader
But course leader Dr Simon Henig defended the programme.

"We only validated the degree in the late summer and it was too late to be in any of the official listings," he said.

"Given that problem I don't think it was particularly surprising we only had the number of students that we had.

"I am delighted we have got those students all of whom are very keen to further their studies on the region."

He argued that the programme has already had support from regional employers including the Government Office in the North East, Sunderland City Council and Beamish Museum.

"Given that these organisations are supporting the degree I'm sure they would look very favourable on this degree qualification."

And Carol Cook, from the University of Teesside, said: "It might be an opportunity to talk up what we've got. We've got a really rich heritage and we don't say enough about it.

"I would welcome it if it is not inward looking and appealed to people from all over the world."

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