It’s Undergraduate Admissions time again – sleepless nights for admissions teams and Pro-Vice Chancellors!
Last year we did very well, managing to exceed our ‘ABB+’ numbers target. This year we have also done extremely well. Numbers to date for SAgE suggest that we have exceeded our ‘ABB+’ target numbers by close on 100. As I write we are within a whisker of our ‘core’ numbers as well. This means that in effect we have raised the bar on quality, which is of course one of our strategic aims.
By any measure this is a fantastic performance, and I’d like to congratulate all the admissions teams for their hard work and determination. As I mentioned last year, exceeding our target is particularly noteworthy because demographics work against achieving our target, which in itself was greater than last year’s. Moreover, this year the cap on student numbers was removed completely, meaning that Universities can recruit as many students as they wish, resulting in increased competition.
Many will be aware that we have introduced an honours degree in Physics, or should I say re-introduced, following its closure in the last decade. Recruitment has been very strong, again exceeding target of ‘ABB+’ students. It’s easy to say in hindsight, but I feel there is a valuable lesson here, namely that one should think long and hard about closing down a discipline that is not profitable. Universities need their fundamental disciplines, so if things go awry then closure should be a very last resort. We will now need to focus our attention on building Physics as a standalone department. We don’t have plans to return Physics in the next REF, but we certainly should seriously consider doing so in any subsequent exercise. This will require building up staff numbers, which should not be problematic given the popularity of the degree programme.