Students may be customers now, but in these days of sliding standards it seems some departments have no qualms about offering a service that is more Woolworths than Harvey Nichols. An official memo doing the rounds in one Middlesex University department offers an insight into the scientific process of matching masters degree students with a supervisor who will really understand their topic. It begins: "Congratulations! Our computer has selected you at random to supervise another MSc project student." All the lucky academic has to do is scan the list of candidates and "select a prize project". Any will do.