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Issue 483, 5 June 2002

Got a masters – where next?

What other benefits will a further year's study offer graduates beyond a bigger overdraft? Researchers at the institute for lifelong learning are hoping to find out, with a new study into the employability and career progression of masters students, funded by the higher education careers services unit.

"Some choose a masters to extend their undergraduate experience, or from an interest in the subject without a clear plan of what will follow," said institute director Phil Hodkinson (pictured left). "For others, it's the route to research, or they choose a vocational course to further their career. We want to see what their main motivations are, whether their expectations are fulfilled and where the further qualification may lead them."

Professor Hodkinson and co-researchers Helen Colley and Helen Bowman will focus on six – vocational and non-vocational – subject areas offered by the University and LMU. They will survey full-time students during their year's study, and follow them for six months after completion of their course. They are seeking further funding to follow the students over a longer period.

"Most university careers services monitor how many progress from masters to doctorates, but there's little known about other forms of progression," said Professor Hodkinson. "We hope our study will begin to fill that gap, enabling careers services to offer better guidance to graduates, and helping universities improve their recruitment."

Set up in May 2000, the institute for lifelong learning brings together academics across higher education with practitioners from further education and other organisations. The institute carries out research, offers postgraduate courses in lifelong learning, and runs seminars. For more details see or telephone ext 33417.

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