Mickey Mouse degrees  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Mickey Mouse degrees is the dysphemism built from the common usage of the term "Mickey Mouse" as a pejorative. (See Pejorative use of Mickey's name). It came to prominence in the UK after use by the national tabloids of Great Britain to label certain university degree courses worthless or irrelevant. The term was used by education minister Margaret Hodge, during a discussion on higher education expansion. Hodge defined a Mickey Mouse course as "one where the content is perhaps not as rigorous as one would expect and where the degree itself may not have huge relevance in the labour market" and "Simply stacking up numbers on Mickey Mouse courses is not acceptable" . This opinion is often raised in the summer when exam results are released and new university courses revealed. The phrase took off in the late 1990s, as the Labour government created the target of having 50% of students in higher education by 2010. This, along with a funding crisis, resulted in a major increase in degree course places, and at present there are more course places available than there are qualified students, resulting in hundreds every year going to university despite poor A-level grades.

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