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    (Original post by evantej)
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    Nursing and teaching are a perfect example. Nurses now have to do a degree. Teachers are supposed to be qualified to postgraduate level. (The latter has failed completely).

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    .
    Failed in which way? what does the PG in a PGCE stand for?
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    (Original post by gbuchanan)
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    A case study of one degree is, of course, a poor sample in the big scheme of things. For a fair comparison, many London-based Russell Group universities in computing charge £6k or less for an MSc that is 3 semesters long, compared to £9k for a 2 semester year of undergraduate. Not all postgraduate degrees are MBAs or the like. HEFCE data suggests that the long-term annual income differential is £5k for masters graduates. There is certainly self-selection there, but it's not the only factor.



    George
    Some cold water on the £5000 per year postgraduate premium... it may not apply to people going to 'do a masters' straight out of their BA/BSc.

    http://careers.guardian.co.uk/postgr...-course-salary

    But isn't postgraduate study rather diverse? Doesn't it cover everything from a masters in history to PGCEs, mid-career qualifications, MBAs and full-blown academic PhDs? Can you really come up with a meaningful figure for a postgraduate premium that covers the lot? No.
    Postgraduate study is very different to undergraduate study: almost half of postgraduates study part-time; half are over 30 and a quarter are over 40. And half of graduates return to the employer that supported them originally.
    But many commentators' idea of a postgraduate student is a young person fresh out of a first degree and studying full-time for further qualifications. They imagine people who do courses to boost their career in a market that demands they distinguish themselves from the large body of degree holders. That's certainly an important group, but it only makes up about a sixth of the postgraduate cohort.
    And then there's the vexed question of whether a postgraduate qualification really is vital. Indeed, the jobs market for postgraduates is worrying at the moment – it's not at all clear if there is much of a salary or employment boost for students early on in their careers.
    my emphasis
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    (Original post by Joinedup)
    Some cold water on the £5000 per year postgraduate premium... it may not apply to people going to 'do a masters' straight out of their BA/BSc.
    Mmm - that's not cold water. Nothing in the article refutes the research - it merely makes a claim about other people's assumptions about what postgraduate study is (as, indeed, your selected quotation itself highlights).

    There's no guarantee a specific student taking a specific course will arrive at a specific benefit (and I'm not claiming you're making that assumption).

    As I already said, there is a self-selection bias in the postgraduate cohort, so what value is a direct product of the degree is not, as yet, proven. The British Computer Society does have specific data for the field of computing, where like-for-like there is a benefit for fresh graduates (i.e. BSc versus MEng or BSc+MSc) studied as a block - however I wouldn't see that as certain proof elsewhere. However, it suggests that at least in some fields (even one where MScs are far from commonplace) there is a premium even for fresh graduates.

    Have you any evidence that the entire benefit is, for a typical student, illusory or non-existent, based on proper, researched data?

    George
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    (Original post by evantej)
    I never suggested it was true in all cases as there are definitely some careers where postgraduate education is necessary. This is why I used academia as an example. But I do not really think librarianship, or ‘archive and information management’ as it is often called, requires a master’s degree at all.
    Well, for a basic job in a library, no, but it's almost mandatory to have a specialist masters as (a) there is no bachelor's equivalent and (b) it's almost impossible to get into a senior position without one.

    (Original post by evantej)
    Entry into lots of professions have been similarly increased for ideological reasons or because a lack of jobs. Nursing and teaching are a perfect example. Nurses now have to do a degree.
    This is often used as an example. It is, however, misleading. To progress beyond what is now normally called a nursing auxiliary, you always had to do a nursing qualification. Entry to that was normally 'A' level, even in the past, and was typically the equivalent of a three year degree in terms of taught time (often over a 2 to 3 year period, depending on where in the country you trained. The reason nursing qualifications were relabelled was a result of standardisation processes. Suggesting it was essentially a non-degree subject that then became a longer and more complex process is not entirely accurate. While more nurses are now qualified than was the case before it became a degree, that is in part driven by changed pay differentials and government policy.

    (Original post by evantej)
    Teachers are supposed to be qualified to postgraduate level. (The latter has failed completely).
    Secondary teaching was normally postgraduate entry over 25 years ago - i.e. PGCE following a specialist BA/BSc. What is now commonly BEd replaced traditional primary "teacher training" of various forms that, again, previously required 'A' level entry and a three year training period. Relabelling tertiary education may be seen as moving goal posts, but I'm not convinced that relabelling is tantamount to significant inflation unless significantly more inputs are required?

    Both my parents are teachers; both had to get postgraduate educational qualifications to progress in their careers, and they're both now retired. My mother technically does not have a bachelor degree, but her training (over 50 years ago) was pretty equivalent in length.

    The "failed completely" is a favoured bon mot of the government, but as with the "too posh to wash" concerns regarding nursing, no good "degree" in a practicing subject should ever neglect the practicalities.

    (Original post by evantej)
    But if you are an English student then becoming a lecturer is one of the most prestigious careers you can aspire to, and one of the most well paid. This is why there has been an increase in entry requirements. There are too many English students chasing fewer and fewer relevant work opportunities. The same holds true for most students. Even those in healthcare are not assured jobs at the end of their degree.
    I'd quite agree that the pursuit of lectureships in the humanities is very high stakes. The general graduate job situation is grim, but one needs to be careful to analyse the situation systematically. Pretty much noone is guaranteed a job at the end of their degree, surely?

    Postgraduate growth over a 10 year period was c. 32% according to HEFCE. That's pretty big. However, some figures increased more than others (e.g. overseas by 94%).

    In the arts and humanities, the increase in home students was 18% - identical to the increase in undergraduates across the same period. If you track graduating numbers (rather than the number starting their BA), the increase is, in fact, lower than that. In other words, the proportion of BA students going to MA from the UK has, in fact, shrunk. Never mind the fact that the number of people aged 18-22 grew in that period (it is now going the other way). That's not exactly a glut.

    I am concerned that some people undertake postgraduate study for a whole host of ill-informed, poorly considered and short-sighted reasons. Especially given we are in a recession. However, one should not over-generalise.
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    (Original post by evantej)
    I think this is probably true. Apologizes.
    No problem - it's difficult to keep track round here!
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    Some people just enjoy their subject and want to learn more and have the resources to do it? Jealous much?
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    (Original post by Joinedup)
    Failed in which way? what does the PG in a PGCE stand for?
    No one outside of the teaching profession seriously thinks a PGCE is a postgraduate qualification. But the drive to make teaching a postgraduate occupation failed for very basic reasons. The PGCE is not a full qualification. You receive credits towards a master's degree which you usually complete part-time over two years. Uptake of master's degrees in education studies is minimal. Teachers did the minimum to gain QTS and did not bother going any further.
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    You forgot to say that some students on postgraduate degrees have been working or are working for a while.

    The ones that have been working and stop are looking for a career change and the MSc/MA/MBA etc can open a door to that new area.

    I have been working for 4 years in one area but now decided to switch and hence why I am going to study an MSc.

    You may well be right about saying that some people want to extend or delay entering the real working world BUT there are others that see this as an opportunity to change careers! Never underestimate the power of education.
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    One point is definitely, that, if the state would pay for your Masters degree, there might be some Masters which would be
    a) more competitive
    b) no more existing.

    The big flaw in your argument is that:
    a) Today UK students have to compete against their European counterparts, nearly all with a Master degree, which is actually in most countries not really postgraduate, but obligatory.
    b) In some fields you need to spend so much time on getting a proper foundation after your A Levels to even tackle some interesting problems, that the Bachelor is more or less only showing, that you are capable to pass University examinations and get a small glimps of academic work. => Quitting after a Bachelor might rise the question, why you not just have done an apprenticeship, after which you actually can work in your field, instead of only seeing a Bachelor as further A Level to narrow down the pool of applicants.
    c) For me, the Master was a huge step regarding actual studying (being able to study on a much higher level and being able to discuss on an advanced level) and that way of thinking is something you do not loose your hole life.
    d) Try to work into engineering/chemistry etc. without Master -> Good Luck! (Becoming chartered without Master... )
    e) Some jobs (outside academia!!!) even require PHD, to compete against that with a Bachelor degree is more than tough.
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    (Original post by evantej)
    It is all well and good saying job x requires a postgraduate qualification, but in reality is it probably does not; the lack of job opportunities have simply increased the entry requirements for those applying.
    That's the same thing. Just because it is not a formal minimum requirement, does not mean it is a requirement if you want a realistic chance of securing the job.

    (Original post by evantej)
    Klix88's argument is the only one which is even remotely defensible, but she has PhD funding so you could question her motivation (i.e. would she self-fund her PhD?).
    Of course it's not. If you think that doing a master's for enjoyment is the only reason to do one then you are very misinformed. Interest in the subject is a prerequisite; it is not the sole purpose for pursuing a master's. I am doing it to a improve my research/analytical skills and to have a more advanced knowledge of the subject area. Why would an employer not value that? How would that not set one apart from yet another undergraduate with a spoon-fed 2.1?
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    (Original post by Klix88)
    I began my PhD in January of this year and have been self-funding from the start.
    I may also be confusing you with someone else but did you not get a First with a published dissertation or prize or something? Likewise with your master's? If so, why on earth did they not give you funding?!
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    I did my LLM Law because, **** me sideways, I enjoy studying Law.

    I know, doing something because I enjoy it, absolutely ridiculous huh!

    High horse, get off.


    P.S. the title should be, useless masters' not useless master's

    I guess you got your masters application rejected this morning huh. But hey, you're against a good education anyway aren't you!
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    (Original post by Rybee)
    I did my LLM Law because, **** me sideways, I enjoy studying Law.

    I know, doing something because I enjoy it, absolutely ridiculous huh!

    High horse, get off.


    P.S. the title should be, useless masters' not useless master's

    I guess you got your masters application rejected this morning huh. But hey, you're against a good education anyway aren't you!
    Yeah, ultimately people get masters' degrees because either they need it or they want it. To say that they are useless is meaningless!

    There is the point that if all you are interested in is education, there is nothing stopping you from getting a library card and learning. However, the structured education provided by experts in their field provides a good deal more rigour than you might gain from just reading text books.

    PS: As far as the title is concerned, it's ambiguous. It could be "Useless Master's [degree]" or "Useless Masters' [degrees]", but in any event you should only capitalise Master's when you are referring to a specific qualification. This is all neither here nor there though, as the problem with the OP's argument was *not* the grammar!
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    (Original post by maskofsanity)
    I may also be confusing you with someone else but did you not get a First with a published dissertation or prize or something? Likewise with your master's? If so, why on earth did they not give you funding?!
    Yep - that lot was me.

    Unfortunately my current research project no longer meets the new AHRC research strategy themes and that was my main potential funding source. This week's proving a bit traumatic as far as funding and future plans are concerned. I have a meeting with my Graduate School rep tomorrow, but it's likely they'll conclude that I have to settle for an MPhil rather than the full PhD.

    Funded PhDs in my field are rare as hen's teeth. I've been watching the ads for three years now and across the UK there was one I'd have had a chance at. Annoyingly, it was at my local uni (within walking distance of my home!) but it began the year I graduated from my undergrad degree and they wouldn't accept an application from someone without a Masters. I missed it by a year.

    I'm sure I sent in a memo requisitioning a lottery win, but apparently it was never received...

    ETA: I suppose to answer your original point, consistently getting good results and publications is no longer enough to secure PhD-level funding. If your target uni doesn't have a Block Grant and you're applying directly to a funding body like the AHRC with an independent research project, then it has to meet all of the research themes before it's even considered. In fact my uni have an internal review process which won't even let applications go forward unless this criteria is met. You're then still in a long-list with other equally deserving projects. There are still way more projects than there is funding and the chances of landing it are slim to non-existent.

    If your target uni has a Block Grant from one of the funding bodies then this theoretically makes the process less competitive. However I've not found that to be the case in practice. My Masters uni was keen to have me stay on to do a PhD and I had three staff members offer to supervise me on different occasions. The official line was that it was an open application process for a share of their Block Grant. In reality, the only PhDs funded for the last few years have been those attached to existing staff projects. My areas of previous research didn't fit with these, so it was quietly agreed that there was no point me applying.

    It's a tough life out there. One of my former Masters colleagues has had three PhD offers in the last eight months (one from Oxford) but none of them came with funding and so she's had to turn all of them down. The last one gave her an offer conditional on her providing proof that she already had the £79,000 which they calculated she'd need in order to complete.
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    I think the OP gave one answer to his own question, as I think gbuchanan suggested: if we're talking about degrees at top universities, and business schools in particular, then the alumni networks are perhaps more lucrative than anything. Similarly the question of failure rates: even the Harvard MBA is reputedly hard to fail, but only a fraction of applicants are admitted in the first place, and this is a an outstanding achievement in itself. Regards the UK, I imagine it's not dissimilar at top business schools. Although the OP was probably thinking about MAs at middling to even fairly prestigious universities, maybe fundamentally all one has done is proved willing and able to pay the fees. Fair enough, perhaps.

    But still, IME regards people I know from the parts of the EU: it seems that just to be taken seriously as an educated person after a graduate job, a post-grad is the norm. Not strictly "the UK", but hardly irrelevant; (a well-trodden point but) I think with regular degrees becoming more commonplace and supposedly devalued, I'd hazard things may well be edging this way.

    Others mentioned that even within some more lucrative subjects, a master's sooner or later is the norm. And (again just my impressions) it seems that within less lucrative but rather competitive subjects (I'm thinking non-profits, broadly) a master's is often necessary before or after internships or volunteer work, to possibly just get paid.

    And academia can hardly be dismissed. Sure, there are far fewer jobs than there are PhDs desiring them, but post-graduate study is pretty much necessary to even take a shot. And there is the possibility of just being passionate about the subject and willing to pay through the nose for access to academic libraries and world class experts...
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    I am EU and going for my second MSc in the UK in September.

    I don't intend to work here but since I want to get into a different area I can tell you OP that it is a damn good investment.

    I don't regret at all doing my postgraduate degrees!
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    (Original post by Klix88)
    Yep - that lot was me.

    Unfortunately my current research project no longer meets the new AHRC research strategy themes and that was my main potential funding source. This week's proving a bit traumatic as far as funding and future plans are concerned. I have a meeting with my Graduate School rep tomorrow, but it's likely they'll conclude that I have to settle for an MPhil rather than the full PhD.

    Funded PhDs in my field are rare as hen's teeth. I've been watching the ads for three years now and across the UK there was one I'd have had a chance at. Annoyingly, it was at my local uni (within walking distance of my home!) but it began the year I graduated from my undergrad degree and they wouldn't accept an application from someone without a Masters. I missed it by a year.

    I'm sure I sent in a memo requisitioning a lottery win, but apparently it was never received...

    ETA: I suppose to answer your original point, consistently getting good results and publications is no longer enough to secure PhD-level funding. If your target uni doesn't have a Block Grant and you're applying directly to a funding body like the AHRC with an independent research project, then it has to meet all of the research themes before it's even considered. In fact my uni have an internal review process which won't even let applications go forward unless this criteria is met. You're then still in a long-list with other equally deserving projects. There are still way more projects than there is funding and the chances of landing it are slim to non-existent.

    If your target uni has a Block Grant from one of the funding bodies then this theoretically makes the process less competitive. However I've not found that to be the case in practice. My Masters uni was keen to have me stay on to do a PhD and I had three staff members offer to supervise me on different occasions. The official line was that it was an open application process for a share of their Block Grant. In reality, the only PhDs funded for the last few years have been those attached to existing staff projects. My areas of previous research didn't fit with these, so it was quietly agreed that there was no point me applying.

    It's a tough life out there. One of my former Masters colleagues has had three PhD offers in the last eight months (one from Oxford) but none of them came with funding and so she's had to turn all of them down. The last one gave her an offer conditional on her providing proof that she already had the £79,000 which they calculated she'd need in order to complete.
    That's a real shame - will you be allowed to return and finish the PhD at a later stage?
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    Learned all the relevent techniques for my field on my master degree, which has been crucial for obtaining work. Everywhere I worked in the UK, most people have a master degree, and if not, at least one year experience outside of their first degree, such as an industrial year or working as a teacher (including science PhD students). When I worked in industry, everyone was like this, there was no one with just a first degree, so it certianly is something employers look for. If I had tried to find work straight after finishing my BSc, I would have no concept of the techniques required. The competition is pretty fierce and you're up against people with contacts. Employers don't want to train anymore because there's always someone with the experience.
 
 
 
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