OK, first of all, I am not quite certain where this topic should go. It does deal with academic guidelines and requirements, but it isn't really a "guidance" for students. So I was half tempted to post this in the General Discussion forum, but at the last minute, decided to post it in Academic Guidance. The Mentors are free to move it to where ever they think is more appropriate. Secondly, I'm posting this to get the opinion of members here who are more familiar with the UK higher-education system and can provide a more informed opinion on this matter. Finally, we have many engineers here, from from the UK and outside of the UK. So you people have an intimate knowledge of what is involved in obtaining a degree in engineering. I'm reading this incredulous article where the new president of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (which, I presume, is in the UK) is calling for universities in the UK to drop the requirement for Physics A-Level to encourage more women to enter the field of engineering. Her argument was that due to the "... initial male bias in physics lessons...", women are less inclined to take physics at the A-Level and thus, will not be able to pursue an engineering degree when they go to college. So my jaw dropped when I read this. I'm actually quite surprised by a number of things: 1. If your arm hurts, then you should just cut it off. So if physics really is too difficult, then it shouldn't be a requirement or one shouldn't take it. Somehow, the question on whether it is actually NEEDED or useful was never discussed. This means that it is OK to "dumb down" something if it is just to tough to get through. 2. Why was it required in the first place? Has the criteria changed so much that A-Level physics can be bypassed for prospective engineering majors in the UK? Most, if not all, of engineering majors in US institutions are required to take at least a year of intro physics. Heck, even those majoring in Engineering Technology have to take physics. Do UK engineering undergraduates have the same requirement? If they do, wouldn't not having A-Level physics be a disadvantage? 3. It is my strong belief that one can definitely understand something even more if one sees it multiple times. Education leading up to A-Level physics exam provides an important introduction to many advanced concepts such as "force", "energy", "conservation laws", etc... etc. Encountering such concepts for the very first time in an engineering course in college is not the most ideal situation. This is similar to trying to learn the math at the same time one is tackling a physical problem. Sure, it can be done, but boy, is it a daunting task! So if we are expecting these women to skip A-Level physics and go straight into engineering courses in a university, aren't we putting them at a tremendous disadvantage over those who already had a background in physics? 4. Finally, if I were woman thinking of being an engineer, I'd find this to be rather insulting to my intelligence. It feels as if the standards are being LOWERED just so I could get in, as if I do not have the ability to compete with other men. If there is a true, inherent bias in physics education at that level, then ADDRESS THAT and correct it there! Don't just cut off your arm. Instead, figure out what is causing it to hurt and treat that! I'd like to hear from those of you who went through the UK engineering curriculum, or are very familiar with it. Zz.