With Imperial’s faculties now taking administrative shape, questions are beginning to be raised about how courses at Imperial should adapt to take advantage of the new situation. Amidst various unexciting suggestions for allowing students to take advanced courses taught by departments other than their own the controversial topic of a common first year appears to be rearing its head again.
Some rumours have suggested that the Rector himself is in favour of the idea, with even extreme options such as a common first year for all courses at Imperial College (including Medicine) under consideration. While this remains an outside possibility, a common first year for each faculty seems much more likely – with substantial similarities between many modules taken in different departments in the first year. An obvious candidate for the elimination of duplication in first year modules is the engineering mathematics course, taught virtually identically across a variety of departments.
There are also suggestions that a slimmed down, less specific common first year could be a way of moving Imperial from 4 to 5 year degrees. The reaction of current students to any concrete proposal along these lines remains to be seen.