The University of East London will not fill any staff vacancies, and staff cuts may follow as the institution faces up to a funding gap of £2.5 million.
The university is due to submit a restructuring plan to the Higher Education Funding Council for England by early April. The plan could include closing courses that fail to recruit a sufficient number of students. The university is looking particularly closely at surveying, languages, environmental science, women's studies and health promotion.
On top of that, a financial framework document says that compulsory redundancies may be on the cards. A spokeswoman said: "Vacancies have been frozen here for five to six weeks, and that has already saved a chunk of money. No figures for redundancies have been announced."
Jenny Golden, regional representative of lecturers' union Natfhe, said: "It is vital that management do not engage in a quick-fix, knee-jerk reaction that will involve slashing jobs, but that they sit down with unions to take a long-term and balanced perspective."
Students held a carnival on Wednesday to protest against the planned cuts. The university's vice-chancellor, Frank Gould, is to retire at the end of this academic year.