New Degree – Integrated Sciences
A new, interdisciplinary sciences degree was developed and introduced into four university physics departments. The course comprises interdisciplinary sciences, with at least one third physics content.
Rationale of Integrated Sciences
- to give access to physics to a greater diversity of people;
- to provide a recognised degree programme incorporating the sciences in an inter-disciplinary way;
- to provide an alternative route into physics;
- to link in with employers needs and link skills to the job market.
Market research and promotion
- A market research company looked at what factors influence and motivate students when they are making their degree and A-level choices – conclusions from this research shaped the way the new degree was created.
- The images used in the marketing material promoted diversity and reflected the target under-represented groups.
The new degree was launched in September 2007, in the universities of: East Anglia; Leicester; London Southbank and Surrey. Leicester’s problem-based learning model was found to be particularly successful and the course is still attracting good student numbers.
- The minimum physics content was established, along with a route to a physics degree for those students who wish to pursue physics at a higher level (this is currently being re-evaluated to allow more flexibility).
- Requisite key skills for graduates of the Programmes were set down, in line with the QAA benchmark recommendations for physics degrees.
- There are requirements for laboratory work.
- As a direct result of Integrated Sciences, the Institute has developed a new level of accreditation called ‘recognition status’ for physics-based degree courses.
- Student numbers at Leicester:
- 2007 intake: 13
- 2008 intake: 12
- 2009 intake: 17
- Cumulative intake for the Integrated Sciences course: 42
- First destination of students at Leicester:
- Postgraduate Medical Training
- IT Consulting
- School Technician
- Masters programmes
The Integrated Sciences degree will be a key activity in the National HE STEM Programme. We will be continuing to work with the universities of Leicester and London Southbank, and are also looking for new partners. We are currently revisiting the structure of the degree to allow more flexibility and to build on individual universities strengths.