By Liz Lightfoot
Once the Cinderella of higher education, tucked between the undergraduate degree and the doctoral theses, the master’s degree has come into its own.
Over the past decade, the number of people graduating from taught master’s courses has risen by 145%, from 69,345 in 2002/03 to 169,564 in 2011/12. Around half are overseas students, sought-after by universities for the higher fees they pay and their contribution to the international mix of the campus.
Postgraduate study is no longer seen primarily as the gateway to a career in research or academia. Increasingly, students are seeking to build on aspects of their first degrees or even change direction from the subjects they chose to study in their teens. In a fiercely competitive climate for graduate employment, students say they want sector-specific skills and believe a postgraduate qualification will set them apart.
In this series, we look at the way universities are reaching out to business and industry as they tailor courses to increasingly career-oriented students. We give a flavor of the wide range of new courses on offer from fashion entrepreneurship and music therapy, to risk management and film-set design.
A new MA in global financial markets is being taught by the University of Leicester. The cross-curricular course is aimed at people who are likely to encounter the money markets and financial regulation in careers with multinational organizations, such as NGOs, global charities and large companies.
The University of Dundee launched an MSc in data science in January, identifying new career opportunities for people who can analyze large data sets. London Met, meanwhile, offers an MSc in blood science, focusing on diagnostic techniques and aimed at graduates from a range of science subjects.
This series also examines the new spirit of entrepreneurship in higher education. Most business and management schools now offer postgraduate courses with “innovation” or “entrepreneur” in their titles. We look at the trend for universities to set up entrepreneur hubs and innovation centers that help students to market their ideas and inventions. Enterprising students are tapping into this expertise to set up small businesses to help fund their studies.
England has no state-funded system of loans for postgraduate courses, so the majority of students have to rely on their own resources. We look at potential funding streams and at the likely effect on postgraduate fees of the steep rise in the cost of undergraduate courses.
Source: The guardian