Unbalanced support

October 24, 2003

Bruce Yardley ("Don't lose MSc magic", THES , October 17) correctly emphasises the importance of vocational masters degrees for young professionals. But he is wide of the mark in his economic evaluation.

First, tuition fees for taught postgraduate degrees are unregulated, so UK universities and departments are free to set their price. Second, the market is international and, therefore, not UK dependent. Third, governments, companies and international organisations often give individuals financial support to help them undertake postgraduate study.

Most students have been working for some years and have their own funds.

For these reasons, masters in popular areas are more likely to subsidise undergraduate degrees rather than vice versa.

Philip Andrews-Speed
Director, Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy, University of Dundee

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