View Paper

Motivations surrounding the pursuit of postgraduate study

Author Claire O'Connor
Abstract This paper addresses a paucity of research that exists regarding the pursuit of postgraduate study by students. The central focus of this paper is to explore the motivations of students pursuit of postgraduate study and choices in relation to particular masters courses. The identification and analysis of the motivations behind students pursuit of postgraduate work seeks to negate the commodification of education. In economics, a commodity is the generic term for any marketable item produced to satisfy wants or needs. In higher education, a postgraduate course is a marketable item which seeks to satisfy students' wants or needs. By identifying students' wants and needs, teachers in the higher education sector have a more acute chance of delivering to postgraduate students the commodity that they desire; thereby educators are keeping pace and dealing with current public demand. This paper provides a broad framework through which postgraduate opportunities can be contextualised and their implications considered in the forum of different and wide ranging approaches surrounding opportunities for its provision. The learning from this research has wide ranging application, including insight for academic and professional development in higher education as they face the key challenge of meeting students' wants and needs. This paper refers to the findings emmanating from a qualitative Masters in Education thesis in University College Dublin which took the form of an original exploration of the pursuit of postgraduate study within the primary sector from the perspective of motivation and choice. The main result that emerged from the study indicated that the motivations surrounding students pursuit of masters degrees are essentially a match between their perception of what a masters constitutes and what perceived personal, professional, cultural and career needs they want met. It also emerged that postgraduate students displayed no discernablility regarding the course or its content as long as it fostered these overriding needs.
Keywords 'Meeting students needs' 'Public demand' 'Postgraduate study as a commodity'
Published In ICEP Proceedings 2012
Date 2012
Link View PDF