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U of G pauses enrolment on 16 programs as it reviews their future

Current students will be able to finish their degrees without interruption as the school reviews the future of the programs, 10 of them in science
20210921 University of Guelph file photo 4 RV(1)
University of Guelph

Enrolment is being paused for 16 University of Guelph programs until administration determines whether to revise and reopen them or to scrap them altogether. 

Ten of the 16 are in the science field.

It means no new first-year students will be admitted into the programs. Anyone who has already been accepted will be offered an alternative spot in a similar program.

For instance, those accepted into chemical physics or biological and medical physics specializations would be offered a spot in the general physics major, “and through electives and so on would be able to get much of the same information,” said U of G vice-president Gwen Chapman. 

Students who are currently enrolled in those programs should not be impacted, she said, and will be able to complete their degrees as expected.

The programs being paused typically have fewer than 40 students in them for undergraduate, and less than 10 at the graduate level, and have seen consistently low and declining enrolments and applications

“I think any organization needs to always be looking at what's working well, and what's not working so well,” said Chapman. 

Over the last few years, she said they’ve been good at responding to evolving needs of students and employers by introducing new programs, like the bachelor of one health, master of cyber security and threat intelligence and master of data science. 

“But we've been less attentive to assessing programs that may no longer be of interest to students or employers, society, and so on. As we're adding things in, what do we need to stop doing?”

Enrolment for the following undergraduate programs is being paused: 

  • BA art history
  • BA European studies
  • BBRM food industry management (regular and co-op)
  • BSc biodiversity
  • BSc biological and medical physics (regular and co-op)
  • BSc chemical physics (regular and co-op) 
  • BSc environmental biology 
  • BSc environmental geomatics (regular and co-op) 
  • BSc nanoscience (regular and co-op)
  • BSc plant science (regular and co-op)
  • BSc theoretical physics 

Enrolment for the following graduate programs is being paused: 

  • MA art history (thesis and course-based)
  • MA critical studies in improvisation (course-based)
  • MA in Latin American and Caribbean studies (thesis and course-based)
  • MSc clinical studies (course-based)
  • MSc: family relations and applied nutrition (course-based, CFT field)

“We had a fairly lengthy list and went through that with deans and associate deans, and got their recommendations and responses. And from that, we landed on that list of programs that we would pause enrolments for the upcoming year,” she said. 

While pausing program enrolment is not necessarily unusual, the number of programs is.  

“We certainly have had programs on a one off basis programs paused over the last number of years, some of which have stayed prop pause, and some of which have reopened to enrolment after a review,” Chapman said. 

About 12 or 14 years ago, she said the university went through a similar process, talking of closing a number of programs, but without the “pause phase.”

“But that was the last time there was a comprehensive review of programs. In the interim, those decisions were made at the college or department level. And what we noted was the need for this comprehensive review, because it hadn't been done for a while.”

The next step is for those involved in each of the 16 programs to do further assessments, to decide what “the best way forward” is: if the program can be revitalized through a curriculum overhaul or by being merged with another program, or if the program should be closed altogether. 

Chapman said there is no particular timeline for how long the reviews will take, and therefore how long the programs will be paused for. 


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Taylor Pace

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