Vice-Chancellor of the University, Michael Driscoll,;

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Enterprise, Waqar Ahmad,;

Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic, Margaret House,;

Dean of the School of Arts & Education, Ed Esche,

Philosophy at Middlesex University

I write to you to today concerning the decision not to continue all programmes in Philosophy at Middlesex University. As a former student of the undergraduate programme and a current MA student I feel strongly that this decision is a mistake.

The department has performed consistently well in student satisfaction surveys and QAA assessments, as well as having an internationally renowned research department (rated highly by the RAE).

I wonder if you can explain to me the reason behind cutting the department? From what I’ve read, Philosophy is close to the target for contributing 55% of its income to the university, and with its growing international reputation could only be likely to grow in the coming years. Whether this economic contribution is considered significant, there is also the question of prestige (which may be difficult to measure, but is very real). It is important that academic disciplines such as Philosophy remain represented in universities, particularly new universities. A university that doesn’t care about academic excellence is no university at all.

Lastly, I should also let you know that I amongst others will be writing to the press to publicise the plight of Philosophy at Middlesex and to gather support from similarly affected and concerned parties should we not reach a satisfactory resolution to this problem.

Philosophy at Middlesex is too rich a resource to lose, and I hope you and the rest of the university management will reconsider your decision.

Yours sincerely,

Alice Moss


Despite it being the top RAE-rated department in the university, and despite its successful programmes (for MA, possibly the most successful in the UK), Middlesex University management have decided to cut all Philosophy programmes.  Despicable.  If you think what the market offers you is choice, think again.  A university that runs only programmes that make the maximum profit to the detriment of its academic standing is no university at all.

Republished e-mail:

Dear colleagues,

Late on Monday 26 April, the Dean of the School of Arts & Humanities, Ed Esche,
informed staff in Philosophy that the University executive had ‘accepted his
recommendation’ to close all Philosophy programmes: undergraduate, postgraduate and

Philosophy is the highest research-rated subject in the University. Building on its
grade 5 rating in RAE2001, it was awarded a score of 2.8 on the new RAE scale in
2008, with 65% of its research activity judged ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally
excellent’. It is now widely recognised as one of the most important centres for the
study of modern European philosophy anywhere in the English-speaking world.

The MA programmes in Philosophy at Middlesex have grown in recent years to become
the largest in the UK, with 42 new students admitted in September 2009.

The Dean explained that the decision to terminate recruitment and close the
programmes was ’simply financial’, and based on the fact that the University
believes that it may be able to generate more revenue if it shifts its resources to
other subjects – from ‘Band D’ to ‘Band C’ students.

As you may know, the University currently expects each academic unit to contribute
55% of its gross income to the central administration. As it stands (by the credit
count method of calculation), Philosophy and Religious Studies contributes 53%,
after the deduction of School admin costs. According to the figures for projected
recruitment from admissions (with Philosophy undergraduate applications up 118% for
2010-11), if programmes had remained open, the contribution from Philosophy and
Religious Studies would have risen to 59% (with Philosophy’s contribution,
considered on its own, at 53%).

In a meeting with Philosophy staff, the Dean acknowledged the excellent research
reputation of Philosophy at Middlesex, but said that it made no ‘measurable’
contribution to the University.

Needless to say, we very much regret this decision to terminate Philosophy, and its
likely consequences for the School and our University and for the teaching of our
subject in the UK.

· Professor Peter Hallward, Programme Leader for the MA programmes in

· Professor Peter Osborne, Director, Centre for Research in Modern European

· Dr. Stella Sandford, Director of Programmes, Philosophy”