05 Oct 2007

New formula for a science degree

A groundbreaking new scheme by seven universities is providing opportunities to people who don’t meet traditional entry requirements, or have considered doing a degree but were put off by the cost of full-time study.

The 2+2 scheme will enable chemistry and physics students to study two years part-time through supported open learning with The Open University (OU) and then complete their degree by studying two years full-time at one of six partner universities.

The full-time partners are the universities of Lancaster; Loughborough; Nottingham Trent; Reading, Salford and Sheffield. Upon completion of the scheme, a BSc(Hons) Physics or a BSc(Hons) Chemistry degree will be awarded by the full-time partner university.

The new scheme aims to encourage more people into chemistry and physics, which were identified by the Government as strategically important, but vulnerable due to insufficient applicants.

Students will be able to start the scheme by joining the OU with no formal qualifications. Progression to the full-time institution is conditional upon successful completion of their OU studies.

Dr Hazel Rymer, Associate Dean of Science at The Open University, said students who join the scheme will begin by studying at home with support from OU tutors. “This means students can study when and where it suits them,” she said. “We expect many students will be in full-time or part-time work while they study with The Open University.”

During the OU study students will maintain a link with their chosen full-time university by attending their open days and special events.

The scheme is backed by the Institute of Physics and The Royal Society of Chemistry.

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