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Science: Higher Education

Volume 461: debated on Monday 18 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many university science departments closed in each of the last 10 years; and what steps he is taking to seek to prevent further closures. (143561)

Information on the closure, merger or opening of particular university departments is not collected by the Department. However, some science subjects are starting to become more popular and the measures we are taking to increase demand and the extra £75 million announced last year should help to sustain capacity as demand increases. We have consistently made clear that if a science department closes at one institution, the Higher Education Funding Council for England should seek to maintain capacity elsewhere and we announced last year that the Council should report to us on how provision can be maintained in this way.

The latest figures from UCAS for students applying to enter full-time undergraduate courses in 2007 show that applications for the main science subjects have risen significantly: Physics is up by 12 per cent., chemistry by 11 per cent. and biology by 6 per cent.