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Dumbing down in Universities and Colleges

For discussions related to education and educational institutions.
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Alan H
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Dumbing down in Universities and Colleges

#1 Post by Alan H » October 24th, 2008, 6:10 pm

Universities warn of 'dumbing down' is the title of an article in The Scotsman yesterday (included in the MediaScan) that talked about Universities being under pressure to award higher marks. In the readers' comments, I took the opportunity to mention another form of dumbing down [---][/---] courses in all sorts of pseudo scientific quack nonsense. I found the following at Scottish Universities and Colleges:

Napier University

Bachelor of Arts:
Complementary Healthcare (Aromatherapy)
Complementary Healthcare (Reflexology)
Complementary Therapies Practitioner Conversion Course - Aromatherapy

Bachelor of Science:
Herbal Medicine


UHI Millennium Institute

HND and HNC in Complementary Therapies (including aromatherapy and reflexology)


Central College in Glasgow

HND Complementary Therapies
VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Holistic Therapies
Certficate In Reflexology
Certificate in Clinical Aromatherapy
Certificate in Thai Herbal Compress Massage
HN Unit Stone Therapy
Intro To Mind & Body Therapies
Introduction to Aromatherapy
Introduction to Reflexology
Reiki 1


Then in England, there is:

Thames Valley University

MPhil Complementary Medicine
Associate Student Scheme Survival Skills for Happiness (?)
BSc Nutritional Medicine
BSc (Hons) Complementary Medicine in Healthcare
BSc (Hons) Nutritional Medicine
CertHE Complementary Approaches to Health - Body Massage and Reflexology
Certificate Holistic Therapies (VTCT) - Level 2
CPPD Complementary Therapies in Midwifery Practice.
CPPD The Use of Complementary Therapies in the Maternity Service
CPPD Autogenic Training
CPPD Shiatsu Massage Theory and Practice
CPPD Advancing Perioperative Practice
CPPD Diagnostic Tools in Healthcare
CPPD Principles of Holistic Healthcare
CPPD Human Microflora in Health
Diploma Holistic Therapies (VTCT) - Level 3
Diploma Indian Head Massage (VTCT)
FdSc Complementary Approaches To Health (Body Massage, Reflexology and Aromatherapy)
MPhil Complementary Medicine
PhD Complementary Medicine

The University of Central Lancashire did propose some quack courses, but a campaign dissuaded them. Let's be on the lookout for more!

Is there a University near you or that you know about that offers similar courses? Please note them down in this thread.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

tubataxidriver
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Re: Dumbing down in Universities and Colleges

#2 Post by tubataxidriver » October 24th, 2008, 7:16 pm

You forgot Theology, available almost everywhere.

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Emma Woolgatherer
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Re: Dumbing down in Universities and Colleges

#3 Post by Emma Woolgatherer » October 24th, 2008, 7:17 pm

By coincidence, I've just discovered that Kingston University offers a BSc in Acupuncture, which is taught at the College of Integrated Chinese Medicine in Reading. There are also posters up all over the university advertising the complementary therapies provided by the university medical centre, which include:
  • acupuncture – a holistic therapy developed over 2,000 years ago that inserts fine needles at selected points around the body; ...
  • homeopathy – the treatment of like with like, using a much diluted substance to help the body to heal itself; ...
  • reflexology – a gentle pressure massage on the feet or hands, which is non-invasive, enjoyable and, above all, relaxing; and
  • Reiki – the Japanese for 'universal life force', Reiki is an ancient method of healing through the hands and works on the points of energy know as chakras.
Emma

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Alan H
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Re: Dumbing down in Universities and Colleges

#4 Post by Alan H » October 24th, 2008, 10:34 pm

Ah ha! An easier way of finding all the quack courses is through UCAS. Although this doesn't look pretty, these are all the undergraduate courses they have for 2009. The spreadsheet this came from is here. There are 60 courses from 31 institutions. Astounding.

Institution Course Type
Anglia Ruskin University (A60) Complementary Medicine (Aromatherapy) (B344) 3FT Hon BSc
Anglia Ruskin University (A60) Complementary Medicine (Reflexology) (B346) 3FT Hon BSc
Blackpool and The Fylde College An Associate College of Lancaster University (B41) Professional Practice - Complementary Therapy (B392) 2FT Fdg FdSc
Bristol, City of Bristol College (B77) Complementary Health Therapies (B300) 2FT Fdg FdSc
British College of Osteopathic Medicine (B81) Osteopathic Medicine/M.Ost.Med (B311) 5FT Hon BSc/MOstM
British School of Osteopathy (B87) Master of Osteopathy (B110) 4FT Deg MOst
College of West Anglia (W35) Complementary Therapies (B300) 2FT Fdg FdA
East Lancashire Institute of Higher Education at Blackburn College (E25) Complementary Medicine (B300) 2FT Fdg FdA
Edge Hill University (E42) Complementary Therapies (B300) 2FT Fdg FdSc
Farnborough College of Technology (F66) Holistic Therapies (B300) 2FT Fdg FdSc
Glyndwr University (Formerly The North East Wales Institute of Higher Education) (N56) Chinese Medicine (B341) 3FT Hon BSc
Glyndwr University (Formerly The North East Wales Institute of Higher Education) (N56) Complementary Medicine Practice (B343) 3FT Hon BSc
Harper Adams University College (H12) Equine Sci, Comp Ther & Natural Horsemanship (BD34) 2FT Fdg FdSc
Leeds Metropolitan University (L27) Complementary Therapies (B300) 3FT Hon BSc
Middlesex University (M80) Complementary Health Sciences (B300) 3FT Hon BSc
Middlesex University (M80) Complementary Health Sciences (Ayurveda) (B340) 3FT Hon BSc
Middlesex University (M80) Herbal Medicine (B347) 3FT Hon BSc
Middlesex University (M80) Traditional Chinese Medicine (BT31) 4FT Hon BSc
Napier University, Edinburgh (N07) Complementary Healthcare (Aromatherapy) (B344) 3FT Ord BSc
Napier University, Edinburgh (N07) Complementary Healthcare (Reflexology) (B346) 3FT Ord BSc
Napier University, Edinburgh (N07) Herbal Medicine (B342) 3FT/4FT Ord/Hon BSc
New College Durham (N28) Complementary Therapies (B300) 2FT Fdg FdSc
St Helens College An Associate College of Liverpool John Moores University (S51) Complementary Therapy (B390) 2FT Fdg FdSc
Swansea College (S94) Complementary Therapies (B300) 2FT Fdg FdSc
Thames Valley University (T40) Comp Approaches to Health (Massage & Reflex) (B390) 2FT Fdg FdSc
Thames Valley University (T40) Complementary Medicine in Healthcare (B391) 3FT Hon BSc
The University of Huddersfield (H60) Holistic Therapies (B390) 2FT Fdg FdSc
The University of Salford (S03) Complementary Therapy in Practice (top-up) (B390) 2FT Hon BSc
The University of Salford (S03) Complementary Medicine and Health Sciences (B342) 3FT Hon BSc
The University of Salford (S03) Counselling and Complementary Medicine (LB53) 3FT Hon BSc
The University of Salford (S03) Traditional Chinese Medicine (Acupuncture) (B975) 3FT Hon BSc
UHI Millennium Institute (H49) Complementary Therapies (103B) 1FT HNC
UHI Millennium Institute (H49) Complementary Therapies (003B) 2FT HND
University of Bedfordshire (B22) Complementary Therapy (B300) 2FT Fdg FdA
University of Brighton (B72) Complementary Healthcare (B340) 2FT Fdg FdSc
University of Central Lancashire (C30) Acupuncture (B343) 3FT Hon BSc
University of Central Lancashire (C30) Complementary Medicine (B300) 3FT Hon BSc
University of Central Lancashire (C30) Herbal Medicine (B342) 3FT Hon BSc
University of Central Lancashire (C30) Homoeopathic Medicine (B251) 3FT Hon BSc
University of Derby (D39) Complementary Therapies (B300) 3FT Hon BA
University of East London (E28) Complementary Therapy (B340) 3FT Hon BSc
University of East London (E28) Complementary Therapy (Extended) (B348) 4FT Hon BSc
University of Glamorgan, Cardiff and Pontypridd (G14) Complementary Therapies (39BB) 2FT Fdg
University of Greenwich (G70) Health Sciences for Complementary Therapies (B391) 3FT Hon BSc
University of Lincoln (L39) Acupuncture (B343) 3FT Hon BSc
University of Lincoln (L39) Herbal Medicine (B342) 3FT Hon BSc
University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (C20) Complementary Therapies (3 years) (B390) 3FT Hon BSc
University of Westminster (W50) Health Sciences: Complementary Therapies (B255) 3FT Hon BSc
University of Westminster (W50) Health Sciences: Herbal Medicine (B342) 3FT Hon BSc
University of Westminster (W50) Health Sciences: Homeopathy (B252) 3FT Hon BSc
University of Westminster (W50) Health Sciences: Naturopathy (B391) 3FT Hon BSc
University of Westminster (W50) Health Sciences: Nutritional Therapy (B400) 3FT Hon BSc
University of Westminster (W50) Chinese Medicine: Acupuncture with Fdn (B341) 4FT Hon BSc
University of Westminster (W50) Health Sciences: Comp Therapies with Fdn (4 yrs) (B300) 4FT Hon BSc
University of Westminster (W50) Health Sciences: Herbal Med w Found (4 yrs) (B340) 4FT Hon BSc
University of Westminster (W50) Health Sciences: Homeopathy with Fdn (4 yrs) (B390) 4FT Hon BSc
University of Westminster (W50) Health Sciences: Naturopathy with Foundation (B392) 4FT Hon BSc
University of Westminster (W50) Health Sciences: Nut Therapy w Found (4 yrs) (B402) 4FT Hon BSc
University of Wolverhampton (W75) Complementary Therapies (B300) 3FT Hon BSc
University of Worcester (W80) Health & Complementary Therapies (B340) 2FT Fdg FdA
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Alan C.
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Re: Dumbing down in Universities and Colleges

#5 Post by Alan C. » October 24th, 2008, 10:48 pm

Jezus Alan! You've just destroyed the feelgood factor that I got from Emma's post.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I am so glad that I won't be around in 30 years time.
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

Nick
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Re: Dumbing down in Universities and Colleges

#6 Post by Nick » October 25th, 2008, 3:58 pm

Hmmm. You included "Nutritional Medicine" It may be good or bad. Surely dietetics is a valid part of mainstream medicine? Could it just be an overblown title? Or have I misinterpreted the nature of the course?

MedMae
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Re: Dumbing down in Universities and Colleges

#7 Post by MedMae » October 26th, 2008, 11:39 am

Nick wrote:Hmmm. You included "Nutritional Medicine" It may be good or bad. Surely dietetics is a valid part of mainstream medicine? Could it just be an overblown title? Or have I misinterpreted the nature of the course?
Nutritional medicine makes a lot of sense as a biologist. Diet is a major factor in health and recovery. Some diseases can be reduced by modifying your diet and I am not talking about the obvious situations of diabetes, allergic reactions and malnutrition. There are conditions which can be reduced in severity or even prevented by boosting certain parts of your nutritional intake, for example there is some research to indicate that migraine frequency and severity can be reduced by taking more Riboflavin (Vitamin B2). Nutrition is a very much underrated aspect of medicine which I think needs much greater attention and should be getting supported not derided.
Complexity is just simplicity multiplied to a point which exceeds a particular level of comprehension. - Theowarner

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Alan H
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Re: Dumbing down in Universities and Colleges

#8 Post by Alan H » October 26th, 2008, 12:58 pm

Nick wrote:Hmmm. You included "Nutritional Medicine" It may be good or bad. Surely dietetics is a valid part of mainstream medicine? Could it just be an overblown title? Or have I misinterpreted the nature of the course?
There's a discrepancy with what TVU have on their website and what ACAS have, but the course webpage says:
...monitored and supervised by experienced nutritional therapists

Level 4 combines the study of the philosophies of naturopathic medicine...

Level 5 looks at the development of Nutritional Medicine from its origins within Naturopathy into its modern day practice rooted in the health sciences. Students are provided with an essential understanding of biochemical imbalances that are believed to contribute to the development of many prevalent disease states.
These are all warning signs of quackery. Also, David Colquhoun's excellent website, DC's Improbable Science website has an extensive article on Nutritional Fairy Tales from Thames Valley University. You need to read the article, but only with your GP at your side, monitoring your BP!
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

Nick
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Joined: July 4th, 2007, 10:10 am

Re: Dumbing down in Universities and Colleges

#9 Post by Nick » October 27th, 2008, 2:00 pm

Ah! That's why you included it in your list. And quite rightly too. I wonder what employer would be pleased to see that qualification on a CV....?

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Alan H
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Re: Dumbing down in Universities and Colleges

#10 Post by Alan H » October 27th, 2008, 2:45 pm

Nick wrote:Ah! That's why you included it in your list. And quite rightly too. I wonder what employer would be pleased to see that qualification on a CV....?
I'm sure the Institute for Optimum Nutrition would welcome you with open arms. Or how about the BBC?
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

tubataxidriver
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Re: Dumbing down in Universities and Colleges

#11 Post by tubataxidriver » October 27th, 2008, 7:30 pm

This is the national framework for honours degree qualifications (at least in England). Hence any honours degree course needs to comply. How the quack therapy courses comply with this, particularly the sections on uncertainty, ambiguity and limits of knowledge, and on critically evaluating arguments and assumptions, is beyond me.
Honours degrees are awarded to students who have demonstrated:

i a systematic understanding of key aspects of their field of study, including acquisition of coherent and detailed knowledge, at least some of which is at or informed by, the forefront of defined aspects of a discipline;
ii an ability to deploy accurately established techniques of analysis and enquiry within a discipline;
iii conceptual understanding that enables the student:
* to devise and sustain arguments, and/or to solve problems, using ideas and techniques, some of which are at the forefront of a discipline; and
* to describe and comment upon particular aspects of current research, or equivalent advanced scholarship, in the discipline;
iv an appreciation of the uncertainty, ambiguity and limits of knowledge;
v the ability to manage their own learning, and to make use of scholarly reviews and primary sources (eg refereed research articles and/or original materials appropriate to the discipline).

Typically, holders of the qualification will be able to:
a apply the methods and techniques that they have learned to review, consolidate, extend and apply their knowledge and understanding, and to initiate and carry out projects;
b critically evaluate arguments, assumptions, abstract concepts and data (that may be incomplete), to make judgements, and to frame appropriate questions to achieve a solution - or identify a range of solutions - to a problem;
c communicate information, ideas, problems, and solutions to both specialist and non-specialist audiences;
and will have:
d qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring:
* the exercise of initiative and personal responsibility;
* decision-making in complex and unpredictable contexts; and
* the learning ability needed to undertake appropriate further training of a professional or equivalent nature.

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Parapraxis
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Re: Dumbing down in Universities and Colleges

#12 Post by Parapraxis » November 2nd, 2008, 10:35 am

I am glad to see that my university does not appear! A lot of the universities offering such courses are former polytechnics, and mine also being a former polytechnic I was worried I was about to see it there!

I'm equally glad that, thus far, nobody has placed a counselling/psychotherapy course as being "pseudo-scientific" or akin to complementary therapies. Having said that, only a handful of such degrees are an MSc (as far as I'm aware, there is no undergraduate course for counselling/psychotherapy that is not a BA); but most MSc degrees have "Psychology" in the titel :wink:
The poster formerly known as "Electric Angel"

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Alan H
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Re: Dumbing down in Universities and Colleges

#13 Post by Alan H » December 5th, 2008, 11:08 pm

Came across this:
********************************************************************************
Homeopathy - all the idiocy that fits
http://www.ratbags.com/rsoles/comment/homeopathy.htm
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ratbags Holistic Health Academy
Training course for homeopaths

Some may think that all you have to do to become a homeopath is get a copy of Materia Medica and practice diluting and succussing. There is in fact a comprehensive training program.

1. Remove the brain. It does not have to come out in one piece, so any method may be used which does not damage the skull too much.
2. Blend the brain with 10 times its weight in sand.
3. Take 10% of the mixture and blend that with 10 times its weight in sand.
4. Repeat step 3 20 times.
5. Pour the final mixture back into the cavity where the brain was.
6. If the brain was removed by trepanning or arthroscopy, seal the hole in the skull with a cork (do not use a rubber bung). If the entire top of the skull was removed, put the top back on carefully and apply an electric current vertically until the bone knits again.
7. Succuss the head twice on each side with a brick.
8. Award certificate of competence.

It should be noted that some less reputable training institutions have been offering accelerated courses which leave out the first 6 steps. To ensure that your homeopath has been properly trained, look for the horizontal scar running around the head just above the eyes, or ask to see the cork.

[Retrieved: Fri Dec 05 2008 23:06:09 GMT+0000 (GMT Standard Time)]

###################
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Re: Dumbing down in Universities and Colleges

#14 Post by Maria Mac » December 6th, 2008, 11:28 am

Alan C. wrote:Jezus Alan! You've just destroyed the feelgood factor that I got from Emma's post.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I am so glad that I won't be around in 30 years time.
What did you mean to link to, Alan? I get a page with a dozen vids on it.

gregory
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Re: Dumbing down in Universities and Colleges

#15 Post by gregory » December 6th, 2008, 12:06 pm

Yes it can give quite the wrong impression when Universities start to run coursess of the Aromatherapy nature.
There'll be blue birds over
The white cliffs of Dover

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Alan C.
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Re: Dumbing down in Universities and Colleges

#16 Post by Alan C. » December 6th, 2008, 4:02 pm

Maria wrote:
Alan C. wrote:Jezus Alan! You've just destroyed the feelgood factor that I got from Emma's post.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I am so glad that I won't be around in 30 years time.
What did you mean to link to, Alan? I get a page with a dozen vids on it.
It was a Barack Obama video, (I think) it seems the page relating to the link has been changed.
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

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Emma Woolgatherer
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Re: Dumbing down in Universities and Colleges

#17 Post by Emma Woolgatherer » December 6th, 2008, 4:04 pm

It was this one, Maria: Obama speech on religion.

Emma

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getreal
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Re: Dumbing down in Universities and Colleges

#18 Post by getreal » December 6th, 2008, 5:29 pm

There is a great deal of confusion in the public mind over 'nutritionists'.

Dieticians have completed a recognised degree course at (proper!) University and on sucessful completion and registration, can be employed by the NHS.

They are experts in diet. They are not 'alternative'. They are mainstream.


A 'nutritionist' is anyone who wishes to call themselves one. They are not recognised by NHS.

They are completely unnecessary--we already have DIETICIANS!

Nutritionists fall into the category "quackery"!
"It's hard to put a leash on a dog once you've put a crown on his head"-Tyrion Lannister.

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Paolo
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Re: Dumbing down in Universities and Colleges

#19 Post by Paolo » December 8th, 2008, 12:09 pm

Universities have always done a roaring trade in nonsense, after all, that's what the Batchelor of Arts degree was invented for :wink:.

Science snobbery aside, homeopathy and the other various "quack qualifications" are clearly money-spinners for the institutions involved. People taking (and indeed teaching) those courses are mostly not cynical manipulators - they think that what they are doing is worthwhile. We may disagree, but I don't think it is my place to tell someone that what they are interested in is a load of rubbish. It is when the quackery is applied to real-life situations it becomes appropriate to make that judgement.

Universities are not devoted to science alone, their remit is far broader and as a result they will always offer courses that are seen as pointless or "dumbed down" to people from different parts of the social spectrum. This wide range of disciplines is important - our society is wide and complex and the learning available should reflect that (even if we disagree with some of it).

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Re: Dumbing down in Universities and Colleges

#20 Post by getreal » December 8th, 2008, 9:01 pm

Wearing the cloak of anonimity that is posting on the internet, I would just like to say the following (deep breath).....

I always had a chip on my shoulder because, unlike my friends, I did not go to university straight from school. Instead I completed nurse training.
Many, many years later, I had the time and inclination to "convert" my vocational qualifications into CAT points and complete a degree.

I did this part time over a very l-o-n-g period. There appeared to be no limit to the length of time you could take to finnish the degree and similarly, there seemed to be no limit to the number of times you could re-sit modules. I say "seemed" here, because I didn't fail any and never spoke with anyone else who failed.
I am not sure if it was because I was now older than most (probobly all) of the other students, but I was surprised at the standard which was required for some of the modules.
One module I completed by reading a popular science book which formed the basis of my final essay (which was absolute, rambling pish. I was gobsmacked I passed!)

Overall, I thought the standard was very poor, and was, in fact, much lower than some of the professional exams I had taken.

Maybe my experience was unusual.
Maybe I'm a genious (who can't spell).
"It's hard to put a leash on a dog once you've put a crown on his head"-Tyrion Lannister.

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