STUDENTS, lecturers and graduates are petitioning to save a degree course which is facing the axe by University of Greenwich.

More than 1,120 people have signed an online petition to save the single honours philosophy degree course, which has been running for the past 20 years.

The university has decided not to recruit students for the course in 2011/12 but insists no decision has been made about the future of the programme.

Senior lecturer and philosophy programme leader, Kath Jones, said: “I’m quite cross that the philosophy team haven’t been involved in the consultation process at all. I think that’s really unacceptable.

“The single honours programme has an awful lot to offer particularly in this area of the country. There is nothing comparable available for students who do not achieve straight A’s.”

Philip Overal, a 23-year-old philosophy graduate, said: “If you study philosophy you are studying the root of thought in other subjects such as sociology, science and politics.

“Philosophy shouldn’t just be for the people who can pay for it.”

Saffron Bowles, 21, who studies philosophy at Greenwich, added: “The entry requirements are lower than other universities in London. It’s in danger of becoming an elitest subject.”

Greenwich students are hoping to follow in the footsteps of people at Keele University, who ran a successful campaign to reverse the decision to abolish the philosophy degree.

But Middlesex University students were less successful and have seen their philosophy course disappear.

Campaigning students and graduates

Campaigner Katy Maydon, who graduated from Greenwich university with a philosophy and history degree, said: “It makes me so angry that they would think to cut such an important subject all because it doesn’t help employability.”

The 21-year-old teaching assistant added: “The whole feel of this Con Dem government is trying to make university for vocation and employability.

“Education should be about mind expansion and that’s what philosophy is about.”

News Shopper: Ellese Elliott, 22, Katy Maydon, 21, Saffron Bowles, 21, Perry Smith, 20, and Philip Overal, 23 While Perry Smith, 20, said: “I’m bemused by the decision rather than worried.”

The philosophy student said: “It just seems like a slap in the face.

“You're told at school if you work hard and do well you can do these sorts of courses. If you are from a lower socio economic group they are now telling you, you can’t do it.”

Ellese Elliott, who is in her final year of philosophy, said: “We need a generation of thinkers and not people full of dead information.”

The 22-year-old added: “Philosophy encourages you to question and in most other disciplines that’s a negative.”

A Facebook group called Save Philosophy at Greenwich has more than 530 members and a protest is planned to be held at the Greenwich campus on Saturday (April 9) from 2pm.

To sign the online petition, visit

University of Greenwich response

A University spokesman said: “It is not true that we are to stop teaching philosophy at the University of Greenwich.

“Philosophy makes a valuable contribution to broad-based teaching in the school of humanities and social sciences, and we anticipate it will continue to do so.”

He added: “It is usual within universities for the range of subject provision to be reviewed from time to time.

“As part of this, a decision has been taken not to recruit to single honours philosophy in 2011-12.

“However, discussions are ongoing and a final decision about the future of the programme has not yet been taken.

“Irrespective of this decision, there is no question that combined honours philosophy courses will continue to be offered, and students from other disciplines will still be able to choose philosophy electives."