Students have occupied part of North London University in protest over cutbacks and proposals to axe two degree courses.

More than 100 demonstrators have been holed up in the Kentish Town site for five days. The row centres on plans to close the university's South Asian Studies and Classical Civilisation departments. Students say the proposals are the latest in a string of cost-cutting measures.

They are angry at proposals to reduce lecture times by 20 per cent. They say student numbers have increased by 15 per cent over the last three years, while lecturers have left without being replaced.

Graham Jeffries, one of the protesters, said: 'This university has been presenting the Kentish Town site as its flagship. The truth is, because of the cost-cutting, we are getting poor quality.'

However, university officials yesterday dismissed the occupation as 'a protest over nothing'. Cliff Wragg, university secretary, said: 'There was a suggestion that the courses were not viable. But no decision has been taken.'

This week most students are revising for exams so teaching has not been disrupted.

Mr Wragg added: 'There are 11,000 students at the university. This is really about a small political group trying to exercise some muscle.'