1. ITV Report

Degree subjects to be dropped at University of Sunderland

The University of Sunderland has decided to drop four subjects. Credit: University of Sunderland

The University of Sunderland is to withdraw degree courses in four subjects.

History, politics, modern languages and public health are all set to be dropped.

This follows curriculum changes to make the institution "career-focussed" and "professions facing", which have been approved by its board of governors, who aim for subjects and programmes to be "educationally and financially sustainable".

At the start of this academic year, no students joined modern foreign languages programmes, either at undergraduate or postgraduate level. In history, 14 undergraduate students were enrolled and no postgraduate students; and there were 15 undergraduate students recruited to a combined politics and history degree.

Chair of the board of governors, John Mowbray, said:

While recognising the value of the subjects the University is withdrawing from, the Board of Governors agreed that they do not fit with the curriculum principles of being career-focused and professions-facing. Nor are they of a size and scale to be educationally viable in the medium to long term, given the competition from other institutions, both regionally and nationally.

– John Mowbray, University of Sunderland

The governors also agreed that undergraduate degrees in public health would be withdrawn "because of the relevance of the course, particularly in relation to the workforce needs of regional NHS partners". There were 17 undergraduate students recruited this academic year.

All post-graduate taught degrees across the University will now be expected to have a minimum number of 15 students.

It is anticipated that 34 academic staff will be affected by these changes.

In a message to staff and students, Sir David Bell, the University’s Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, said:

I can assure the whole University community that the withdrawal of subjects will be handled properly and with care. Formal consultation with the affected staff will begin soon. Our students will be looked after in a way that is consistent with the Student Protection Plan that was agreed by the Office for Students.

– Sir Davis Bell, University of Sunderland