Proposed cuts to the number of humanities courses at the University of Gloucestershire are being challenged.
The university has said the courses have struggled to recruit enough students for "several years".
Course leader in creative writing, Dr Angela France, said staff were "all working to capacity and above" and it would mean larger class sizes.
The university said it aims to "bring financial viability" back into balance by the end of this financial year.
The university has around 10,000 students across its three campuses, which are based in Cheltenham and Gloucester.
"In a way it's a war of attrition because if you cut staff when the department is working to capacity then you've either got to cut modules or increase group sizes for discussions and work shops so that will affect the student experience," added Dr France.
"It will then affect recruitment and as our reputation drops because of the changes we have to make, so it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Creative writing Masters student, Claire Harrison, said: "If I didn't have the opportunity to do this in Gloucestershire, because I live in Cheltenham, I'd have to be going to Bristol or Birmingham which is just not feasible for people like me who live locally.
"We're in the town with the biggest literature festivals and jazz festivals in the country, how can our university not be offering humanity subjects, it just seems bizarre."
A university spokesperson said: "Courses in humanities have faced particular challenges in student recruitment for several years.
"So we are consulting with the staff in humanities about where best we can now make savings to bring financial viability back into balance for 2020/21 while maintaining the range of courses we offer.
"In the autumn we will be undertaking a fuller review to assess our options in seeking to establish the longer-term place of the humanities within our thriving portfolio of high-quality, high-demand subjects."
Regional official for the University and College Union (UCU) Anne O'Sullivan said four jobs were at risk in the humanities department.
She added:"The university has also said it will be conducting a wider review of the place of humanities within its curriculum offer in the autumn.
"We fear this means it already has further job losses in mind.
"We will fight any cuts that negatively impact staff and the university's academic capacity."