Bologna forces a degree cull in Spain

February 24, 2006

The Spanish Government will cut the number of first degrees offered at its state universities from 140 to 79 as part of its engagement with the Bologna Process.

Arts and technical subjects will bear the brunt of the cuts, although some - such as a combined humanities degree, history of art and Catalan - have won a reprieve after protests.

Language programmes will be cut from 14 to four, though a new combined degree will offer the chance to study two languages.

Technical degrees such as engineering will be standardised: all will be three-year qualifications. Seven teacher training degrees will be reduced to just one degree each for primary and secondary school teachers.

The Government has opted for a three-plus-one format for first degrees. The final year will be spent on practical work or a project. The aim is to provide degrees that will be easily recognised in the rest of Europe, with specialisation generally reserved for postgraduate studies. Some degrees will be on offer from October 2007, with most introduced in 2008.

The new masters degrees will last one to two years and will become regulated. Education Minister Mar!a JesNos San Segundo has pledged that masters will have "public sector prices", bringing to an end the free market.
* Doubts have arisen over the claims of 17 Spanish students who received fake distance-learning degrees from an Argentine state university (Times Higher, January 6). Several students have threatened to sue the Argentine authorities but it is unclear to what extent the students were aware of the nature of the degrees, granted by the Cibernos Institute of Madrid.

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