Bradford University is set to axe courses, leaving students facing the prospect of carrying on their degrees elsewhere in the country.

Two departments - European Studies and Chemical Engineering - have been badly hit by falling student numbers.

As a result both departments have lost money and could now face their courses being cut. University bosses have already cut five jobs in European Studies and are proposing to do the same in Chemical Engineering.

The proposals have led to an outcry from students and from the Association of University Teachers (AUT).

Apart from the stress caused by staff redundancies, and the disappointment and disruption to the young people, there are fears students will have to switch courses, which will mean them paying another set of tuition fees to another institution. They have been told they would not be compensated.

Davina Evans, the academic officer at the Students' Union, said: "This decision could cost some students thousands of pounds in extra loan costs and tuition fee charges."

Dr Matt Hill, president of the Bradford AUT, said: "There was a big funding deficit in European Studies because of a lack of students who had chosen that course. About five members of staff have now left through voluntary redundancy and premature retirement."

He said the AUT had argued against the job losses and pointed out that European Studies was a five-star rated research department, but had been unable to stop it.

Now the engineering department is facing a similar crisis, again caused by a drop in student numbers.

An Engineering Planning Group, set up by university vice-chancellor Professor Chris Taylor, has considered the issue and is recommending that the chemical engineering department - which is the smallest section of the department with 74 full time equivalent students - should take no more students from next September. It is not clear what would happen to those students whose courses are already underway.

A decision will be made by the university's ruling senate on March 20.

Dr Hill said the cutbacks followed falling applications to the university, which were being blamed on Bradford's poor image after the riots.

A university spokesman confirmed the School of Engineering had suffered a decline in applications, despite enjoying a good reputation for the quality of its teaching and research.

Professor Taylor, who is himself an engineer, said: "We are committed to preserving a strong and flourishing engineering area in Bradford, but it must be based on a bold and sustainable vision which adopts a genuinely interdisciplinary approach to teaching and research in engineering, design and technology."

The Dean of the School of Social and International Studies, Professor John Cusworth, said the university was working closely with European Studies students to ensure any disruption was minimised.

"Academics in other areas with relevant specialisms will be involved in teaching students, and this includes staff from our excellent Peace Studies Department.

"All students have been offered individual meetings with staff to discuss possible changes to their study programmes, and we are confident all our students will be able to complete a high-level programme of study which meets their individual needs."