Computer science courses on offer in UK fall 18 percent

The number of full-time undergraduate computer science courses offered by UK universities has fallen by nearly a fifth since 2006, a report has revealed.

The University and College Union (UCU) report, which is based on data from universities admission service UCAS, found that 169 computer science courses were available in 2012, down 18 percent from 2006, when 207 courses were on offer.

Overall single subject STEM courses were down 15 percent, with the number of mathematics courses falling nine percent, from 75 in 2006 to 68 this year.

The report found that the total number of courses available at UK universities has fallen by 27 percent since 2006, with those in England cutting the highest proportion of courses (31 percent), compared to just a three percent reduction in Scotland.

Students in England will be expected to pay annual tuition fees of up to £9,000, from this autumn, while Scottish-domiciled undergraduates studying in Scotland do not have to pay any fees.

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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. As student numbers have continued to rise, choice has fallen across almost all disciplines, including STEM subjects, which governments have pledged to protect."

Neil Crockett, managing director of London 2012 at Cisco, said that UCU's findings were disappointing, and potentially "devastating".

"[STEM subjects] are the very subjects that have previously been called out as critical for UK growth and innovation, and with student uptake falling year-on-year, the future looks bleak for the UK tech industry.

"Although it may make economic sense in the short-term to make cuts, with a deficit of around 60,000 skilled workers in the UK technology and engineering sector, it is clear that the long-term result could be devastating."