Students wary of postgraduate degree cost, suggest survey

Two thirds of UK undergraduates do not believe a postgraduate degree is worth the cost, a survey of more than 1,100 students has found

August 3, 2013

Only 35 per cent of respondents in their second or third year replied “yes” when asked if they thought obtaining a postgraduate degree would be value for money.

This contrasted with master’s and PhD students, where 59 and 77 per cent respectively felt that their postgraduate degree was worth the price.

One second year undergraduate taking part in the survey described postgraduate study as “an unaffordable luxury”.

Rachel Wenstone, NUS vice-president (higher education), said that thousands of students every year were denied the opportunity to get postgraduate qualifications because they could not afford to pay upfront fees.

“It is often only the very rich, the very lucky or those who are willing to gamble with high levels of debt that have access to master’s level education,” she said. 

“The value of postgraduate qualifications to individuals is clear in an increasingly competitive jobs market and there are wider economic benefits in terms of skills uplift in the economy and reductions in unemployment.”

According to the latest Higher Education Funding Council for England figures, there was a drop of 6 per cent in postgraduate numbers in 2011-12.

Elsewhere in the survey, salary expectations were found to be much higher for master’s and PhD students, with 18 and 41 per cent respectively believing they would earn a starting salary of £31,000 or higher. Among bachelor’s degree students, this figure fell to just 5 per cent.

The survey, which was carried out by careers and postgraduate advice website Graduates.co.uk, also revealed that only 57 per cent of undergraduates believe a postgraduate degree would improve their job prospects.

Click here for the full results of the Postgraduate Employment Survey 2013

chris.parr@tsleducation.com

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

Daniel Mitchell illustration (29 June 2017)

Academics who think they can do the work of professional staff better than professional staff themselves are not showing the kind of respect they expect from others

As the pay of BBC on-air talent is revealed, one academic comes clean about his salary

Senior academics at Teesside University put at risk of redundancy as summer break gets under way

Capsized woman and boat

Early career academics can be left to sink or swim when navigating the choppy waters of learning scholarly writing. Helen Sword says a more formal, communal approach can help everyone, especially women

Thorns and butterflies

Conditions that undermine the notion of scholarly vocation – relentless work, ubiquitous bureaucracy – can cause academics acute distress and spur them to quit, says Ruth Barcan