UCL News


Press cutting: Has university really changed?

16 February 2007

University science is now in real crisis - particularly the non-telegenic, non-ology bits of it such as chemistry.

Since 1996, 28 universities have stopped offering chemistry degrees, according to the Royal Society of Chemistry.

The society predicts that as few as six departments (those at Durham, Cambridge, Imperial, UCL, Bristol and Oxford) could remain open by 2014. Most recently, Exeter University closed down its chemistry department, blaming it on "market forces", and Bristol took in some of the refugees.

The closures have been blamed on a fall in student applications, but money is a factor: chemistry degrees are expensive to provide - compared with English, for example. …

The upshot is that Britain is turning out fewer and fewer chemists - even though there are jobs for them. Against this backdrop, it seems quite important that chemistry teaching is making an attempt to pull itself into the present; that it is as engaging as it can be; that it is no longer quite the dusty experience that it was in the early 90s.

Emily Wilson (Bristol Chemistry 1991), 'The Guardian'