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Higher Education: Closures

Volume 469: debated on Monday 10 December 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills which UK university (a) mathematics, (b) chemistry and (c) science departments have closed since 1997; and if he will make a statement. (170440)

Information on the closure, merger or opening of particular university departments has not been collected by the Department and not all science teaching is organised on a departmental basis. However, we have consistently made it clear that, if a physics or chemistry 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. Some science subjects are starting to become more popular and the measures that we are taking to increase demand and the extra £75 million announced last year should help to sustain capacity as demand increases. Physics and chemistry are also taught as major subjects at some 50 and 70 UK institutions, respectively. The latest figures published by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service show that the number of students who have been accepted for entry to full-time undergraduate courses in chemistry in autumn 2007 is up by nearly 13 per cent. compared to 2005, while the figures for physics have increased by 10 per cent. over the same period.