University of Aberdeen launches major curriculum change to potential new students

University of Aberdeen launches major curriculum change to potential new students

Sweeping changes to the Aberdeen student experience - including the reform of the undergraduate curriculum from 2010 - are being unveiled at today’s University Open Day (September 1).

Prospective students will hear how the University has modernised the structure, content, delivery and flexibility of its degrees to ensure they match the needs of graduates and employers.

They will also be told how Aberdeen is recruiting more top scholars and making unprecedented investment in its buildings and infrastructure.

Aberdeen is the first university in Britain to undertake a comprehensive review of its curriculum and to implement changes. It will be the most important educational development at the University of Aberdeen in decades.

The move places the University firmly in the vanguard of progressive higher education in the world alongside Yale, Harvard, Melbourne and Hong Kong universities. Aberdeen is now advising other UK institutions who are considering following a similar path.

Aberdeen’s curriculum reform has resulted in restructured and enhanced degree programmes including dynamic new study options pertinent to today’s society.

The changes follow 12 months of consultation with employers, professional bodies, current students, prospective students and their parents, government, political parties, schools and other interested parties.

From 2010 new first-year undergraduates at Aberdeen willhave a series of new advantages, including Enhanced Study options.

This will make Aberdeen distinctive within the UK and aligned with developments at major international universities. Second year students – already at Aberdeen – will also have increased choice.

One of these new options - Sixth Century Courses -  offers 11 thought provoking new study choices tackling big topics such as risk in society; science and the media, health and wealth of nations and sustainability.

A second, Sustained Study Programmes , will for the first time, allow undergraduates to learn about subjects outside their core subject. Students will have the opportunity to study one of six languages, including Arabic or Mandarin Chinese, business, or a series of other subjects, intensively for two years alongside their main subject.

The third, Discipline Breadth Courses, will allow students to choose a wide range of courses, from those close to their intended discipline to those in subjects far removed from it.

Other Curriculum Reform related changes include:

  • More flexible entry and exit points at each level,  including increased support for study breaks
  • Wider opportunities to broaden experience and skills through overseas study, work placements and voluntary work
  • Better student support and facilities including new ‘one stop shops’ for student support, more scholarships and new learning spaces on campus

To support this launch the University has embarked on a new global marketing campaign with the theme The Difference.

Infrastructure investment is making a major difference to the campus with new facilities such as the Aberdeen Sports Village and the Suttie Centre for Teaching and Learning in Healthcare and the development of the £57M Library and Special Collections Centre – the largest capital fundraising project undertaken by the University.

Professor Sir Duncan Rice, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen, said: “There has never been a more dynamic and exciting time to be a student or scholar at the University of Aberdeen.

“Reform of our curriculum is the single most important intellectual step that the University of Aberdeen has embarked upon in its modern history.

“This review, together with recruitment of the best scholars and major investment in our infrastructure, places us well on the way towards our ambition of becoming one of the top 100 universities of the world.”

Professor Bryan MacGregor, Vice Principal for Curriculum Reform, added: “The increasing pace of change in the world means graduates will have to be flexible in the way that they approach problems.

“Curriculum Reform is about delivering graduates who are academically excellent, intellectually flexible and critical thinkers, who can see thewider intellectual context of what they are studying.

“It is about ensuring our graduates are equipped to take on the 21st Century and are more employable as they meet the needs of employers and wider society.”

Rachel Sandison, Head of Student Recruitment and Admissions, said: “Thousands of potential students attending our Open Day will see and hear about the University of Aberdeen’s drive to ensure we offer the best student experience and provide them with opportunities that will differentiate them from other graduates.

“The reform of our curriculum will deliver graduates who are even more employable because their range of skills will be so relevant to today’s society.

“The University of Aberdeen is also an incredibly attractive place to study because of the massive investment we are making in new facilities such as the Aberdeen Sports Village and the Suttie Centre for Teaching and Learning in Healthcare. Those considering a place at the University of Aberdeen will see that ongoing transformation really is making The Difference.”

Iain M McMillan CBE, Director of CBI Scotland, said:  “Graduates face unprecedented challenges in the global economy over the next few years, but also great opportunities.

“There is no doubt that breadth of skills and personal attributes will be of huge importance, as will the benefits of work placements and other opportunities to engage with business as part of the student experience, flexibility to accommodate the needs of talented students, and more opportunities to study abroad.

“I am delighted that a Scottish university is leading the way in offering the opportunity for a student experience designed specifically for the world today, and I am sure this will prove extremely attractive not only to prospective students but also to parents, careers and education staff, and to employers throughout Scotland, the UK and beyond.”