Ulster University cutting 53 courses due to budget cuts

By Maggie Taggart
BBC News NI Education Correspondent

media captionThe university has blamed the move on budget pressures, as Maggie Taggart reports

The Ulster University has cut more than 50 of its undergraduate courses, the BBC has learned.

They include the only dance degree in Ireland and a popular housing management course.

Most of the degrees are full-time but the university has said it cannot yet say how many student places will be cut.

It is reacting to the threat of a large budget cut by the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Lecturers are said to be shocked and angry at the extent of the cuts to courses.

They had been expecting reductions, but say these changes have been brought in without consultation, and some of them without good reason.

Universities regularly review the courses they offer, but these appear directly linked to the impending budget cuts.

Forty-three full-time and 10 part-time undergraduate courses have been withdrawn from the Ulster University prospectus.

Eleven of them are history combinations, 20 are linked to film studies and six will go from the faculty of computing and engineering.

But staff have been most shocked by the ending of the only undergraduate dance degree in Ireland - taught at the Magee campus - and the closing of the only degree in housing management.

It was said to have been popular and 90% of its graduates found immediate employment.

The university said it was preparing for cuts to its budget by the Department of Employment and Learning and said it was letting future students know early which courses they can no longer apply for this year.

It said it chose the 53 courses on the grounds of student numbers, employability and student satisfaction.

The University and Colleges Union said it had only just seen the list and was angry it was not consulted on the plans.

It is not yet clear how many student places will go and if any staff posts will be affected.

Clarification added on 16 February, 2015: The Irish World Academy at the University of Limerick offers several dance degree programmes.

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