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Brian Cox: too few science degree courses
Entry requirements for degree courses in science are reaching new heights because the government is not sponsoring enough places to meet soaring application levels, Brian Cox has said.
The Wonders of the Universe presenter said university budgets were not sufficient to cater for the explosion in popularity in science and engineering courses among young people. Higher grade targets for A-level pupils applying to read science at University are not a sign of higher standards but of a shortage of places on offer, he added.
Professor Cox, who will teach a first-year undergraduate physics module at Manchester University next year, said: "We seem to have turned a corner in this country. It was the case for years that the number of kids interested in science was going down. The problem is that there are so many wanting to do science now that we don’t have university places for them, and you can see that as evidenced by the entry grades they need to do science, which are going up and up.”
The number of teenagers studying science and maths at A-level has risen dramatically in recent years, with entries in physics and chemistry up by a fifth in just five years.
This year universities including Bath and Nottingham made an elite A* grade at A-level a requirement for pupils wishing to study certain science courses for the first time.
The physicist called on ministers to raise investment and meet demand for science courses. He said: "My challenge to government is, you’ve been saying for years you want more scientists and engineers in the economy – what are you going to do about it?”