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Page last updated at 08:16 GMT, Thursday, 23 February 2012

'Worry' over fall in university courses

A study by the University and College Union (UCU) suggests that the number of degree courses on offer at UK universities has fallen by more than a quarter in the past six years.

The research reveals that there are almost 20,000 fewer full-time undergraduate courses available now than there were in 2006.

General secretary of UCU Sally Hunt said that a reduction in university subjects "can't be a good thing" when student numbers have expanded and that a lack of choice across the disciplines in college courses is "not in anyone's interest."

She told the Today programme's John Humphrys that as a result of this universities "are becoming risk averse" in the courses that they choose to provide.

However, research director at the centre-right leaning think tank Reform, Dale Bassett, said that the UCU's figures are misleading because universities are offering more joint honours degrees and flexible provision in response to student demand.

He maintained that the figures "don't reflect reality" but Sally Hunt insisted that a 15% reduction in single subject stem courses of maths, science and engineering, technology is "not a cause for celebration it's a cause for worry."

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