The university states that Philosophy has ‘only 12 students each year’. This figure is the three-year average for the BA Hons undergraduates only (a programme on which applications were up 118% prior to suspension in March 2010).
However, Philosophy mainly teaches postgraduate students. We also teach Philosophy to students on other degrees. In 2009-10, overall, Philosophy taught the equivalent of 112.5 full-time students.
The university states that Philosophy has ‘only six acceptances for 2010-11’: again, this refers only to the BA Hons students, and only to a specific application status. It is usual in undergraduate recruitment to Philosophy at Middlesex for confirmation of acceptances mainly to occur later in the year, after the announcement of A-level results. In March, at the point of suspension, applications on this programme were actually were up 118% on 2009-10 (against an average national rise in Philosophy of 7.6%).
More importantly, this figure excludes all three MA programmes and also the research degree applications (MPhil/PhD), which were also suspended on 8 March. In 2009-10, Philosophy at Middlesex had more postgraduate than undergraduate students.
All universities practice a variety of ‘cross-subsidization’ – eg, from 2003-09, a significant portion of Middlesex Philosophy’s research income was used to support research in Business and Management, which performed very poorly in RAE2001.
No such explicit subsidy is identifiable in the 2009-10 spreadsheets for Philosophy produced by the School of Arts & Education. However, it is true that some other teaching areas such as Business generate significantly more income for the university than others.
Presumably, after the closure of Philosophy, its entire annual Research Assessment Income (£173,260 in 2009-10), which the university will continue to receive from HEFCE, will be used to ‘subsidize’ other parts of the university.
[See also our previous FAQ on finance]