Brussels, 29 Mar 2004
A report by an advisory group to the UK government has claimed that thousands of students are opting for 'fashionable' science degrees which will not necessarily lead directly to employment.
The report, by the Sector Skills Council for science, engineering and manufacturing, claims that students are being influenced by crime television dramas, and are choosing courses such as forensic science, instead of the more traditional chemistry, physics or biology.
Forensic science graduates tend to lack the basic knowledge taught in pure science courses which are necessary to work for the police service and courts, and would be better off studying for a more academic degree and then training on the job, claims the report.
'The recent proliferation of forensic science degrees indicates that the rise in higher education participation may now be reliant on newer, 'sexier' courses that can more easily attract young people,' says the report.
The report highlights the drop in the number of students starting chemistry degrees - from 5,400 in 1997 to 3,500 in 2003. The threat of closure facing many university science departments means that these figures are likely to fall still further, the report states. Over the same period, the number of forensic science courses increased from five to over 40.
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