Recruitment problems kill off CAM courses

Not long ago, universities were clamouring to set up complementary medicine courses, but now it seems they cannot offload them quickly enough.

The universities of Westminster and Central Lancashire are the latest institutions to announce that they will suspend or close BSc degrees in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), blaming low student interest for the move.

Westminster - the largest provider of CAM degrees in the UK - confirmed that it had suspended its BSc in homoeopathy and its BSc in remedial massage and neuromuscular therapy.

Westminster said its two courses "struggled to remain viable". They attracted a total of 14 full-time equivalent students last year.

"The university will make provision for students already part way through these degrees to enable them to complete their courses," it said.

Westminster's School of Integrated Health, which runs the courses, is preparing to merge with the School of Biosciences. The university had already announced it was overhauling its BSc degrees in CAM to boost their scientific content.

Uclan confirmed it had decided to discontinue three degrees: BSc courses in herbal, homoeopathic and complementary medicine.

It said it had not met its target to recruit 20 students to each of these courses since 2005. It added that students already enrolled would be able to complete their degrees.

Uclan, which still offers postgraduate provision in homoeopathy as well as undergraduate and postgraduate acupuncture, said its decision was independent of an ongoing review of CAM courses expected to report later this month.

In January, the University of Salford announced that it would drop its undergraduate degrees in acupuncture and complementary medicine.

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