This year saw the gap between Stirling’s Health Sciences and Sports Faculty and the rest of the university in first-class graduate degree attainment widen further than at any other point in the last five years, according to statistics obtained by Brig.
The percentage of students from the university’s smallest faculty who graduated with a first-class degree fell a massive 14.9% from last year, down to just 9%.
All of the other faculties had percentages in the twenties, with the next-lowest being the Faculty of Arts and Humanities with 21.6% and the highest being the Faculty of Social Sciences, where 29.8% of students graduated with a first-class degree.
The figures also reveal that a far higher percentage of Health Sciences and Sports students graduated with a 2:2 or third-class degree than students from the rest of the university’s five faculties.
In fact, Health Sciences and Sport – the university’s smallest faculty – was the only one where the attainment of first-class and 2:1 degrees was below the university average, and the attainment of 2:2 and third-class degrees was above the average.
This is a significant decrease from the two previous years, when the faculty’s results were roughly comparable to those in the rest of the university.
The faculty’s first-class degree graduation results leapt up with the other faculties’ between 2013/14 and 2014/15, from 6.7% to 28.6% – almost equal to the total percentage of students across the university who graduated with the top classification.
In the six years since 2012, the total percentage of graduates who left the university with a first-class degree has increased from 9.2% to 23.8%, with the highest percentage being 28.9% in 2015.
In all but two of those years – 2015 and 2016 – the Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport had the lowest percentage. However, this year’s 12.6% gap between Health Sciences and Sport and the next lowest faculty represents the largest disparity seen in the last five years.
In response, a university spokesperson said: “The Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport has the smallest cohort of any University of Stirling faculty, accounting for just nine per cent of the whole cohort graduating with honours in 2016/17.
“Therefore, due to the small numbers involved, slight changes to the overall number of students can result in amplified figures when expressed in percentage terms.”
“It is normal for degree classifications to fluctuate regularly. The Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport supports all of our students to achieve their potential.”
Statistics prior to September 1 2016 are taken from a combination of the then-Schools of Health Sciences and Sports Sciences.
The statistics also show that the 2016/17 academic year saw, for the first time, that the Faculty of Natural Sciences has not led the field for first-class degree results for at least six years.
They were overtaken this year by the Faculty of Social Sciences, where nearly 30% of students graduated with a first-class degree.