Case study 4: University D
University D has taken a very different view on what is appropriately embedded within the curriculum. The website notes that ‘there is no complicated modular structure, just lots of interesting opportunities’. However, the structure is effectively based on a 4-unit structure with some half units, as illustrated in Figure 6.
Figure 6: University D: a single honours economics programme
In Part 1, students take 30 credit units in micro, macro and QM, plus a 15 credit unit in Personal and Professional Development. For the final 15 credits, they choose between Banking and Finance in a Global Context or Introduction to Economic Institutions and Frameworks. In Part 2, the core is again contained in three 30-credit units in micro, macro and QM, and there is a 15 credit-rated unit in Professional Practice in International Business and Economics. The remaining 15 credits come from a selection of optional economics units. Part 3 is made up of a 30 credit unit in applied econometrics plus a 30 credit project, which may be theoretical or applied. Students then choose from a list of 30-credit options (the list also includes one 60-credit unit in the Economics of Regulation and Public Services).
The professional development units are a new development for University D, and are still under development at the time of writing. In Part 1, the unit is partly about study skills, but also helps to develop students’ personal, communication and career management skills, and to instil in them ‘a sense of personal motivation and commitment’. In Part 1, the unit also ‘incorporates appropriate management, organisational, sociological and psychological theories oriented towards the international business settings’.
By embedding such units within the design of the curriculum, University D is affirming the importance of personal development and employability as an integral part of a degree programme, and not just an optional add-on. The design of the curriculum nonetheless enables the programme outcomes required by the subject benchmark to be achieved. The large unit size does create a very clear structure for the programme, but may be seen as limiting the extent to which students are able to exercise choice in terms of options.