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Queen Elizabeth College

Laboratory research at Queen Elizabeth College, 1960s (Ref: Q/PH3/46-67)Laboratory research at Queen Elizabeth College, 1960s (Ref: Q/PH3/46-67)Postgraduate Diploma in Nutrition at Queen Elizabeth College, 1966-67 (Ref: Q/PH1/66)Postgraduate Diploma in Nutrition at Queen Elizabeth College, 1966-67 (Ref: Q/PH1/66)In 1953 the degree of BSc Household and Social Science was replaced by two new courses instituted by the University of London; the BSc Household Science and the BSc Nutrition.

The BSc Household Science was a revision of the original course, and provided more advanced work in household science and further options for specialisation. The BSc Nutrition, open to both men and women, was an entirely new degree and the first of its kind available at any institution in the country. The course included intensive nutritional science with subsidiary physiology, and graduates typically obtained posts as lecturers, teachers and researchers within government and scientific laboratories and organisations.

Non-graduate courses at Queen Elizabeth included the Two Year course in Institutional Management; the main subject of study being Household Work with practical administration in hostel and institutional management. Also still popular was the Sister Tutors’ Course for the Diploma of the University of London. Originally a one-year course for a certificate of the College, the University of London, in collaboration with the General Nursing Council, revised the syllabus and granted a Diploma in 1945. This increased the time devoted to teaching principles and practice, thus extending the course over two years. The curriculum ultimately moved away from its original scientific character towards education and psychology, and the course was eventually discontinued at Queen Elizabeth in 1976.

Aerial view of Queen Elizabeth College, 1955 (Ref: Q/PH3/74-75)Aerial view of Queen Elizabeth College, 1955 (Ref: Q/PH3/74-75)Sister Tutors receive instruction at St Mary's Hospital, Paddington, 1958 (Ref: Q/PH3/86)Sister Tutors receive instruction at St Mary's Hospital, Paddington, 1958 (Ref: Q/PH3/86)Over subsequent years, Queen Elizabeth College began courses for the University of London BSc General and Special degrees, and from 1966 adopted the new BSc programme which tailored studies to individual Colleges, allowing students to focus on specialist disciplines and encouraging collaboration between departments, which had always been a strength of the College.

In 1967 the Department of Household Science was renamed the Department of Food and Management Science. This department had seen undergraduate intake fall significantly in recent years, and it was believed that the term ‘household science’ was unappealing to young women. In addition to nutritional studies, the newly rebranded department offered business, accountancy, and science. In 1969, the department merged with Nutrition to create the Department of Food Science and Nutrition. This transition saw the completion of a major revision of undergraduate degrees, with new courses in quality control, presentation and packaging, sensory evaluation, advanced food analysis and marketing of food products.

A further development of the period saw the College establish a facility for the conducting of experiments in genetic engineering within the Departments of Biochemistry and Microbiology. The field was one of the most exciting advances in biochemistry in recent years, and the new laboratory explored the ability to re-structure genetic information and to insert new messages into reproducing cells, offering new prospects both of understanding genetic mechanism and of exploiting it for the production of specific proteins. Interest in the new facility was stimulated by means of a postgraduate course in December 1978, jointly organised by Queen Elizabeth College and St Mary’s Hospital.

Queen Elizabeth continued to build on its academic reputation with the formation of a Management and Computer Studies Group. Both disciplines were part of degree subjects and growth in demand for courses led to the need for separate provision, particularly as both were recognised as valuable to industry and employers. From 1982 a new degree course in Biotechnology was also available. This development, which attracted considerable encouragement from the Press, involved the application of biosciences in the areas of medicine and industry. The potential of this area, and the need for trained graduates, once again saw the College at the forefront of innovation.

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