Is this a more workable model ?
David Latchman, master of the college, said shorter part-time degree programmes, which usually last at least four years, had been vital to his institution’s success.
For the first time in its 191-year history, Birkbeck this year admitted more part-time undergraduates studying over three years than students studying over four years.
Next year, Professor Latchman expects about 1,100 students to enrol on three-year courses, up from about 850 this year. All courses taught over four years will also be available over three years in 2014-15 – up from just three subjects offered in the shorter format when it was launched in 2010-11.
The three-year programmes are attracting different types of students from the mature learners who typically apply to Birkbeck, Professor Latchman toldTimes Higher Education. “We’re starting to appeal to 18- to 20-year-olds who ask ‘why should I go to university full time and spend my Saturdays stacking shelves in Tesco when I could study in the evening and apply my learning to my employment?’,” he said.
“We are also getting a lot of 21- and 22-year-olds who may have gone straight into work from school, but are now seeing graduates entering the workplace and being promoted ahead of them,” he added.
Part-time degrees over three years are also attractive because those doing the courses are eligible for maintenance loans, worth up to £7,751 a year in London next year, unlike traditional part-time students, Professor Latchman said.
The courses, held in the evenings, are also advertised by Ucas, unlike other part-time courses, which opens Birkbeck up to a wider audience, although such students will count towards its places quota until caps are scrapped in 2015-16.