London Met to trim postgrad courses and prices

London Metropolitan University is set for further immediate course closures after an internal report recommended a "transformation" of postgraduate provision and the setting of relatively low tuition fees.

December 15, 2011

Credit: Corbis
Clean sweep: programmes without 'demonstrable demand' will be closed

London Met, led by vice-chancellor Malcolm Gillies, had already taken radical action in response to the government's changes to undergraduate fees and funding.

It reduced its course offering by 70 per cent to focus on high-demand areas such as business, while setting 2012 fees as low as £4,500.

Now London Met's Review of Postgraduate Education and Research 2011, Interim Report, written by Christopher Sarchet, project leader, says: "A transformation of the university's PG course portfolio and delivery model is needed to avoid further loss of market share."

All postgraduate courses must in future have "demonstrable demand from students, employers and other stakeholders, address skills gaps in the economy, [and] demonstrate good employment and earnings outcomes", it adds.

The report also says: "Courses with low recruitment should be closed immediately and the remaining titles should be merged and re-aligned at the latest by 2013."

The final report, likely to include details of which courses will be closed, is due to be published on 31 January 2012.

Planned changes to the teaching-research balance for staff is also signalled by the interim report, which invites a "broader and more case-sensitive definition of authorized 'research-active' allocation to include 'research equivalent' activities".

The report emphasises the importance of "scholarship", which it defines as "practised subject knowledge, evidenced through the maintaining and demonstrating of currency with intellectual and professional developments in the relevant disciplinary field(s)".

It calls for formal acknowledgement of "the equal importance of scholarship as an integral basis of HE teaching and research activities", while also indicating that staff and postgraduate students should spend more time on enterprise and entrepreneurship activities.

On the issue of postgraduate fees, the report says that at London Met "there is a widely held view that the home postgraduate market is price sensitive and likely to fall".

A typical London Met fee "might be in the region of £8K", it adds.

The report recommends that the university should "consider setting affordable PG course fees that are on average lower than the competition in London, subject to the course-costing demonstrating sustainability".

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