The Sutton Trust’s recent report on the “postgraduate premium” shows that postgraduate education is the new frontier of widening participation (“Postgraduate premium’ fuels vicious cycle of social inequality”, News, 7 February). With mounting debts from their undergraduate degrees and no government support, graduates from low- and middle-income families will find it impossible to contemplate further study, even though, as the report shows, they need such qualifications to stand out in today’s labour market. The only realistic option for many of them seems to be to study part-time while working, yet most part-time programmes simply offer reduced contact hours.
At Birkbeck, University of London, we have a proud tradition of providing postgraduate education to those who don’t have the time or the money. Unlike “part-time” provision in most universities, our programmes are taught entirely in the evening so that students can learn while they earn. We also endeavour to integrate the world of work with academic studies through innovative, employment-oriented programmes.
Pro vice-master (postgraduate studies)
Birkbeck, University of London