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'Sharp drop' in degree courses

The number of degree courses on offer at UK universities has been slashed by more than a quarter in the past six years, new research suggests.

It reveals that there are almost 20,000 fewer full-time undergraduate courses available now than there were in 2006.

The study, by the University and College Union (UCU) found cuts across a range of subjects, from the sciences to arts and humanities.

England, which will see tuition fees rise to a maximum of £9,000 per year from this autumn, has been the hardest hit, with almost a third fewer courses on offer, it claims.

UCU said that the findings show that funding cuts are affecting course availability, which could be damaging to students.

The report authors analysed official course data, and a sample of single subject degree courses to investigate whether there had been any noticeable change to what was on offer.

It found a "sharp" reduction in the total number of full-time undergraduate degree courses in the UK - falling by 27% between 2006 and 2012.

In total, there are 51,116 degree courses available this year, compared to 70,052 in 2006.

Within the UK, England has seen a 31% reduction in courses, while Northern Ireland has seen a drop of 24%, Wales 11% and Scotland 3%.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: "While successive governments have been dreaming up new ways to increase the cost of going to university, the range of subjects available to students has fallen massively."

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