The ANU has ceased offering Flexible Vertical Double Degrees (‘FVDD’) for 2021, with the exception of certain Science programs. Previously, Flexible Vertical Double Degrees had allowed students to undertake a Bachelor and a Masters degree in a reduced timeframe, generally four years. This gave students time and cost savings, relative to studying each degree separately.
An ANU spokesperson told Woroni that “After a comprehensive review of both enrolment and progression, and considering feedback from students enrolled in the Flexible Vertical Double Degree, the University’s Academic Board decided to stop offering these packaged undergraduate and postgraduate degree pathways from 2021.”
A student named Clare currently enrolled in the FVDD program spoke to Woroni about ANU’s decision to scrap the degree. She told Woroni that she was attracted to the FVDD Program because the idea of graduating with both her BA and Masters in 4 years was “incredibly appealing”. While there is an argument that removing the FVDD program would be financially beneficial for the ANU (students now have to take more ANU courses to get both their Bachelors and Masters without the FVDD Program), she said that she doesn’t think she would have chosen to do her Masters “if it weren’t for the FVDD program”, and that the program thus serves as “a very beneficial incentive for ANU money wise”. She noted that, in this sense, the FVDD program “also motivates students to further tertiary education where they otherwise might not bother”.
According to the ANU spokesperson, “Students currently enrolled in the program will be able to complete their degrees”. However, Clare noted that the courses actually available in her Masters seem to be dropping every day. She told Woroni “I don’t know whether that’s to do with the scrapping of the FVDD or because they’re trying to merge the Master of Diplomacy and Master of IR, or both – but it’s pretty disappointing.”
This comes along with a recent trend of courses and degrees at ANU being removed without clear public announcement. For example, the Classics degree still exists at ANU (i.e., first year students can enrol in the degree) but limited courses are currently being offered for 2021, rendering some majors in the degree redundant. This is particularly problematic because these changes have gone on without announcement. Clare noted that she believed that it is “rather poor” of the ANU “to not announce their scrapping” of the FVDD Program.
The ANU Spokesperson noted that “The University offers new students very flexible pathways that allow them to commence a postgraduate degree upon the successful completion of their undergraduate studies. These pathways give students even greater choice and flexibility, rather than being locked into a single pathway.” Notably, these “very flexible pathways” that the ANU emphasises did exist alongside the FVDD until 2021, meaning that the available pathways for ANU students in 2021 have indeed decreased.
Clare emphasised to Woroni that the FVDD is “a really incredible initiative” and that she thinks that it is “an incredible shame that the ANU is scrapping it.” She claimed that that the ANU “is really letting the community down with this decision”.