Leader: Non-traditional degrees confound the sceptics

November 15, 2002

The contrasting fortunes in the jobs market of graduates in information technology and media studies should be a lesson for academic snobs and manpower planners alike. Who would have thought five years ago that demand for computing degrees would slump while media studies would show the best employment record of any subject? The critics of "Mickey Mouse" degrees were sure that such subjects not only debased academic standards but also led straight to the dole queue.

In reality, the media represent a legitimate and important object of academic inquiry and also recruit thousands of graduates. As the heavy industries served by some of the longer-established and less controversial vocational subjects decline, courses geared to the services sector are the natural replacements. Computing graduates are feeling the effects of the collapse of the dotcom revolution, but their long-term prospects should be equally bright.

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