CompSci pips Biology for hardest subject at Uni

CompSci pips Biology for hardest subject at Uni

Dentistry and Medicine continue to get it easy

If you’re looking for an easy pass on that last paper of your degree, we’ve got your back. A request made by Critic under the Official Information Act (OIA) has revealed the average pass rates by subject area at the University of Otago for the last several years.

As a public institution, the University of Otago must respond to any requests for information under the OIA within 20 days unless they have a conclusive reason to withhold that information, such as privacy of individuals or risk of damaging commercial interests.

Annual pass rates for the years 2009-2015 were provided for each of the nearly 100 undergraduate subjects with at least 10 undergraduate enrolments.

The subject with the lowest pass rate for 2015 was Greek, at 70 percent, which is a sharp decrease from a 93 percent pass rate in 2014, a change that may simply indicate a small class size with a statistically insignificant sample.

Of the more popular subjects, Computer Science and Information Science both gave their students a good old fashioned rogering. Both registered pass rates of just 76 percent in 2015, and consistently ranked among the most harshly marked subjects. Students in Biology and Health Studies also got a particularly rough treatment from their professors.

Many of the courses which are typically seen as more difficult had near universal pass rates of 99 or even 100 percent. Among these were Dentistry, Forensic Biology, Human Nutrition, Medical Laboratory Science, Neuroscience, Physiotherapy, Plant Biotechonology, and Radiation Therapy.

Other subjects which consistently averaged pass rates in the mid-high 90s include Law, Chemistry, Management, Medicine and Theatre Studies.

Accounting and Finance saw a major increase in students passing, from just 74 percent in 2009 to 97 percent in 2015. Finance and Qualitative studies also saw a marked change. In 2011 the pass rate was just 68 percent, the lowest for any subject in any year in the records made available to us. By 2015, the pass rate had climbed to 85 percent. Both Mathematics and Statistics have seen similar gains, up about 10 percent on 2009.

University Registrar Jan Flood did emphasise that this raw data does not tell the full story about courseloads, saying: “We must emphasise that this data does not take into account the nature of student cohorts in the various subject areas, variations in course content, variations in the nature of course delivery, difference between professional programmes and general areas of study, and a range of other variables all affecting pass rates.”

This article first appeared in Issue 13, 2017.
Posted 10:51am Sunday 28th May 2017 by Joel MacManus.