The End of Mickey Mouse Degrees? Comment

With tuition fees set to rise, it looks like tough times ahead for courses branded by the media as ‘Mickey Mouse’ degrees. The darlings of clearing, these courses have been at the centre of controversy since their inception.

We take a look at the ones that have caused the most huffing and puffing in the press…

If there’s one thing to get the papers and pressure groups, such as the Taxpayers Alliance, riled, it’s the prevalence of ‘Mickey Mouse’ courses at higher education institutes. But will the tuition fee rise see the end of such courses? Here’s our list of the courses most ridiculed in the press…

Equestrian Psychology – Glyndŵr University

What they say: “The foundation degree and BSc (Hons) Equestrian Psychology courses investigate the unique partnership between horse and rider. To enable this, students develop an understanding of horse behaviour, human psychology and horse-human interdependence.”

Labelled as “daft” by The Sun anda “Mickey Mouse” degree by The Telegraph, the Equestrian Psychology degree at Glyndŵr University is never far from the roll-call of lambasted courses. Glyndŵr University argues that the course will prepare students for a variety of equestrian-related careers, but will it help them understand Black Beauty and Seabiscuit better?

Tournament Golf Foundation Degree – Duchy College

What they say: “Have you been dreaming of becoming a tournament golf professional? Are you thinking `If I don’t do it now will I kick myself for the rest of my life?’, or are you considering taking time out to try and turn professional? Either way you need to take a closer look at the Tournament Golf Academy and the higher education Foundation Science Degree in Tournament Golf.”

Unfortunately, the course doesn’t guarantee a place on the professional tour, neither does it does pledge that it’ll make you as successful as Tiger Woods. However, it does claim to give you, amongst other things, a grounding in media relations and sponsorship, which if you’re aiming to be anything like Tiger Woods, you’ll certainly need.

A spokesman of the college speaking to The Telegraph argued that the course gives “young talented golfers the opportunity to chase their dreams whilst having the safety net of a UK university qualification to fall back on.” Although, just how valued this UK university qualification will be is another matter.

International Football Business Management – Bucks New University

What they say: “General areas covered include: coaching, government policy, and contemporary issues in sport and leisure. More specifically, this course examines football organisations from a functional perspective, considering the roles, operations and challenges impacting on the international sector.”

This course was decried in The Daily Mail (although isn’t everything?), whilst in The Telegraph, Dr Richard Pike, the head of the Royal Society of Chemistry, went as far as to argue that the government should no longer be “paying young people to start courses on…international football business management”.

There’s no denying  that this course has had its fair share of critics. At £7,500 a year from 2012, the course aims to teach the principles of sports management and prepare students for the complexities of international football business. So real-life Football Manager it ain’t.

Celebrity Journalism – University of Staffordshire

What they say: “The course has been designed to incorporate a hands-on, real-world focus and a demanding syllabus that equips graduates with the core journalistic essentials, such as law and shorthand, alongside specialist skills such as interviewing celebrities and writing celebrity features.”

The course information page on the Staffordshire University website features a picture of a Staffordshire University graduate arm-in-arm with Jedward. Need we say more?

So what do you think? Are these courses the victims of academic snobbery? Or are they a blight on the higher education landscape?

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