“Dealing in Darkness: An Anatomy of Realism in International Relations” (IR4541) is the University’s worst attended module with just 20 per cent average attendance (two out of 10 enrolled students) according to data obtained by The Saint through Freedom of Information request.
The data, which was collected by staff employed by the University during week 3 of semester two last year, recorded student attendance at lectures throughout the week.
Though some modules failed to attract high attendance, the overall numbers are not all damning. 34 modules show 100 per cent attendance and five subjects have an average attendance of over 90 per cent.
The best attended subject across sub-honours and honours is Mediaeval History, where a substantial 92.8 per cent of students turned up to their lectures. Also on the roll of honour are Greek (92 per cent), Film Studies (91.8 per cent), Modern History (90.1 per cent) and Modern Language Grammar (90 per cent). At the opposite end of the scale, Sustainable Development failed to develop sustainable attendance, with just 47.8 per cent average attendance. Interdisciplinary modules also fared poorly, with less than one in two students attending at 49.6 per cent. Linguistics (58 per cent), Music (60.1 per cent) and English (62.8 per cent) round off the bottom five.
Other modules that failed to attract students included MT4537 (Spatial Processes), where there was plenty of space in the lecture theatre at 36.4 per cent attendance, four out of 11 enrolled students. MN2002 (Management and Analysis) failed to manage their attendance rates, with only 42.1 per cent – 62 of 148 – students turning up to class.
The popular first year Sustainable Development module SD1003 (Towards Alternative Futures) had students contemplating alternative futures to spending time in lectures, with 38.6 per cent of 180 students turning up. Meanwhile, Computer Science students had concurrent plans as they opted to avoid CS4204 (Concurrency and Multi-Core Architectures), with a 42.9 per cent attendance rate; 3 out of 7 students.
EN3164 (Self and Society in the English Novel) also failed to entice its students to make it to lectures with 23.8 per cent attendance, or five out of 21 students in attendance. Another English module which showed poor attendance was EN4418 (American Poetry since 1950) which saw only 35.7 per cent, five out of 14, students attend.
Language modules are also amongst the worse attended, with 33.3 per cent of students (six out of 18) attending IT1014 Italian Histories and 41.7 per cent (eight out of 18) attending FR4160 (From One War to Another: French Politics, Culture and Society 1914–1945).
Aggregating the subjects within their respective faculties reveals conclusions that may challenge perceived wisdom. It is the Arts faculty which has the higher average attendance of the two largest faculties, with just under four in five students (79.9 per cent) showing up to their lectures. Science subjects trail by 5.2 per cent, with 74.7 per cent. Medicine students require urgent treatment before they can top the table, with the worst faculty attendance rate of 68.4 per cent. However, the poor attendance of medical students can largely be attributed to smaller class sizes. This may make the percentage of students in attendance seem smaller than that of a larger class.
Disclaimer: Class sizes should be taken into consideration when looking at these results. All modules (mostly senior honours) where classes have been combined have been excluded, as lecture attendance figures show more students attending than are enrolled on the module. This may well apply to some of the modules displaying high attendance less than or equal to 100 per cent, however the data obtained by The Saint made it impossible to distinguish where this is the case. Where Arts and Science averages have been calculated, all departments have been weighted equally, no matter the number of students or modules on offer.
For a full list of attendance at every module, see the data here.