Birkbeck, University of London plans to cut 140 roles this academic year, including up to 11 staff in the department of English, theatre and creative writing.
Birkbeck, which offers classes almost exclusively in the evenings, says the proposals, if approved, could lead to the loss of up to 140 posts. A spokesperson for the university said that many of these are already vacant or will become so over the academic year.
Alongside cuts to English, theatre and creative writing, up to seven roles in film, media and cultural studies will be affected.
Birkbeck has said it needs to make the cuts to fill a multi-million pound deficit caused by a fall in student numbers, but the union has vowed to fight the proposals, saying they are "a disaster for students and the university".
Last week Birkbeck's local University and College Union (UCU) said overwhelmingly voted for a motion of no confidence in the senior leadership team and to move towards an industrial dispute.
UCU Birkbeck branch president Mike Berlin said: "We will not allow hard working staff to lose their jobs because of mistakes by senior management.
"Birbeck's cuts, which do not include any plans for recovery and growth, are a recipe for managed decline. Birkbeck has a proud history of reaching students who otherwise would not enter higher education.
"Sacking 140 staff, including up to one in four teaching staff, threatens to trash that history. The cuts would severely harm student learning and jeopardise the university's commitment to social mobility and lifelong learning.
"We urge management to rethink its knee jerk job cuts and instead work with us to look at how we can attract more students. If the university refuses to do so we will have no option other than to begin taking steps for an industrial ballot."