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Maynooth planning radical overhaul of course combinations

A UNIVERSITY is working on a radical overhaul of all its courses so that its students learn to "think outside the box", as well as develop knowledge and skills for specific careers.

New subject combinations at NUI Maynooth will cover a spectrum that could, for instance, involve engineering and computer science students doing voluntary work in developing areas of the world as part of their course.

While many colleges have programmes that blend the sciences and the arts, or provide students with the option of taking on modules outside their area of interest, what is being proposed in Maynooth will embed the interdisciplinary approach in all courses. Details of the new programmes will be announced early next year for students entering NUI Maynooth from September 2015.

NUI Maynooth president Professor Philip Nolan criticised short-term thinking in higher education policy. "The last thing we need in Irish is a misdirected and ill-conceived shift in education and research policy to meet the immediate needs of the economy," he said.

Students needed intellectual skills that lasted a lifetime, and ones that would inspire the creativity and confidence to innovate.

"We want to combine different subject areas, to allow students to approach problems from two different perspectives; someone who combines computer science with geography can approach a problem as a computer scientist, but also as a social scientist."

The university's plan also entails developing centres of excellence in key areas of research and doubling its numbers of international students.

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