Middlesex University is to close its philosophy programmes – despite the subject earning the institution its highest research ranking.
Middlesex will phase out undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the subject, which many fear could spell the end for the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy (CRMEP) – the university’s best performer in the 2008 research assessment exercise.
The decision has been condemned by academic philosophers across the UK and further afield, as well as by Middlesex students.
There are currently 63 philosophy postgraduates at the institution, with about 45 undergraduates – including those on its honours degree courses and electives – receiving teaching.
The university says in a statement: “Following lengthy and detailed consultation with the dean of arts and education and philosophy staff, the university has decided to phase out the teaching of philosophy over the next few years. Current undergraduates and postgraduate research students will continue their studies at Middlesex.
“The decision is regrettable but unavoidable in light of continuing constraints on the public funding of higher education. The university follows rigorous criteria to assess the sustainability of its courses.”
A university spokesman said “a decision has not yet been made on the CRMEP”.