Some course student numbers have plummeted by over 50 per cent in two years: might yours be cut next?

Search for your own course’s student numbers in our snazzy table


Earlier this month the Tab Hull exposed leaked documents showing the University of Hull needs to make 10% cuts by 2022 in order to stay afloat. As part of these planned cuts, the Vice Chancellor said that the future of Hull University will be “Not a larger university, but a smaller one of higher quality”.

This dire state of affairs has prompted speculation that languages and philosophy will not be the final courses we see cut from the University over the coming years.

Whilst the University has been coy about what further cuts we may expect, the Tab Hull has compiled evidence of falling student numbers to show what might be for the chop next.

The figures are startling, with total student numbers falling by 15% between 2016 and 2018. However some course in particular have seen a meteoric fall in the past 2 years, suggesting these should be the ones we should pay attention to.

1. Language and philosophy

Why should we pay attention to student numbers? Because since 2016, language student numbers fell by 47%—yes that’s right, not 4.7%, almost half. Philosophy on the other hand fell by a comparatively small 35%.

When we reported on this original story, the University confessed that the fall in students choosing the programmes was what made it unsustainable to continue delivering them, i.e. student numbers are key here.

2. American studies

With a whopping fall of 56%, American Studies has seen the largest student number fall of any department since 2016.

Turns out Trump did build a wall—around the Hull University admissions office.

3. Chemistry and history

One inside source confirmed to the Tab Hull that both chemistry and history have been informally mentioned as potential future departments for closure, with their respective 42% and 36% student number falls supporting this speculation

4. What else?

These are the other courses that have seen a fall of over 25% in student numbers since 2016

• Computer science = -37%

• Geography, Geology and Environmental Science = -33%

• Economics and Marketing = -28%

• Social Work and Welfare = -27%

What is safe?

Beyond a few course that have seen their numbers fall by less than 10%, 4 course in particular have seen a rise in numbers. They are:

• Logistics and Supply Chain: +1.22%

• Film and Digital Media: +1.4%

• Business and Management: +2.2%

• Biomedical and Forensic Science: +13.5%

These further cuts to departments and other areas of the University follow the spending of £28.5 million on The Courtyard accommodation and the ‘Team GB’ partnership which—whilst the university has refused an FOI on the cost—is speculated to have cost millions also.

In a statement to the Hull Tab, the University has said "There are no plans to stop teaching chemistry or history. Our priority is for students to have a high quality academic experience and ensure that their qualification holds value over time. With that in mind and as is normal practice for all universities, we review all our programmes regularly to keep them up to date and to ensure they meet the needs of students and employers."

The University has also defending their choices of spending on new accommodation, saying they "have experienced a shift in demand towards premium, high-quality, on-campus accommodation" and the Team GB partnership that will "bring benefits for staff, students and the region".

Cover image: Immanuel Giel [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)].