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We've been helping students find the right postgraduate course for over a decade.
Would knowing how other students feel about postgraduate study help you in your search for a Masters? We're working with the Higher Education Academy to share their research into the postgraduate experience, starting with what to consider when picking a taught course. Upcoming blogs will look at reasons for further study and what students really think about their Masters degrees. Signup to make sure you don't miss a post.
The reputation of the university, its location, the content of a course, the way it's studied. . . the availability of funding.
At least one of these will probably matter to you when choosing a postgraduate programme, but how can you be sure you're considering the 'right' factors?
One way is to look at the decisions other students have made.
The 2017 Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES), published by the Higher Education Academy, reveals how real students have gone about choosing postgraduate courses and how satisfied they've ended up being with those choices. We've taken a look at the results to see how they can help guide your search for a Masters.
The PTES asks how students have made their choices about postgraduate study. This information can be useful if you want to reflect on your decision making (and check that you aren't missing something).
But the PTES results also asks how satisfied students are with their courses.
And, if we compare the way students choose postgraduate study with how happy they are with the courses they choose, we can do something even more useful.
We can start to see which are the 'best' reasons to choose a Masters.
|Course structure and assessment||18%||94%|
|Reputation of course tutors||15%||93%|
|Reputation in subject||39%||89%|
|Reputation of university||51%||86%|
|Availability of funding||16%||84%|
|Information based on the Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey 2017, published by the Higher Education Academy. Percentages reflect the proportion of students who Agreed or Strongly Agreed with a motivation for choosing their postgraduate institution, together with their overall course satisfaction levels.|
The first thing to note about this table is that the vast majority of postgraduates are satisfied with their courses - whatever reason they have for studying them.
But what else do they show?
Well, these results make it clear that the reasons for choosing a postgraduate course are very varied, with no one 'vital' factor that all students agree on.
Perhaps more interestingly, it's also clear that the most popular reasons to choose a Masters aren't necessarily the best.
Let's take a closer look at what this information tells us.
It perhaps makes sense that students who choose their Masters based on course structure and assessment end up being the most satisfied with it. The same is true for those who place a high value on other course details, such as content and flexibility (the third and fourth most satisfying reasons).
The overall ranking of a university can be a very visible factor when choosing a programme - and we know that it's also the most popular reason for choosing a Masters. But students who dig deeper end up having more satisfying postgraduate experiences. This is especially true for those who go as far as considering the staff behind their courses.
Students who choose a course based on funding or cost are still generally happy with it, but these reasons are lower down the satisfaction scale. On its own, affordability won't necessarily make a course satisfying.
Students who chose a course based on its location were still fairly satisfied, but, again, this doesn't seem to have been the most definitive factor.
The PTES isn't just about measuring the postgraduate experience: it's also about improving it for future students - like you!
So, how can you use these results to help you find the right course?
Above all else, take your time. If the PTES results show anything, it's that the opportunity to consider a potential course in more detail - looking at modules and assessment, checking specific rankings, finding out about tutors - really pays off when it comes to satisfaction.
Our course listings will tell you almost everything you need to know, but don't be afraid to get in touch with universities to find out more.
We'll be taking a closer look at other insights from the PTES over the next few weeks - signup to make sure you don't miss a post.
Don't miss further insights from the PTES, along with further postgraduate study and funding advice
How many people decide to do a Masters and what are the most popular postgraduate subjects? We've taken a look at some interesting statistics.
It goes without saying that postgraduate study is a learning experience, but what else will you discover during your degree?
From postgraduate loans to Brexit, we've taken a look at the developments that will matter to new postgraduates this year.
Great! We're always adding new advice articles, funding tips and student stories. Our free newsletter will keep you updated.