Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Postgraduates May Be Put off When Reforms Do Not Serve Master's Well

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Postgraduates May Be Put off When Reforms Do Not Serve Master's Well

Article excerpt

Debts of Pounds 65,000 seen as 'huge disincentive' to further study in Stem subjects. Paul Jump writes.

There is a danger that higher education reforms could render the provision of postgraduate master's degrees "unviable", the University of Oxford has cautioned.

The warning came in Oxford's written submission to an inquiry into higher education in science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) subjects being conducted by a subcommittee of the Lords Science and Technology Committee.

According to Oxford, any reduction of the teaching grant for stand-alone master's courses by the Higher Education Funding Council for England could be harmful.

It would mean that students of subjects in which four-year integrated master's degrees are not the norm at undergraduate level could struggle to afford to obtain a master's degree - creating a "significant access issue", the university says.

Hefce is cutting funding for taught postgraduate courses in the same way as for undergraduate courses. But earlier this month, it announced extra funding for postgraduate taught courses in higher-cost subjects.

Oxford also fears that increased tuition fees could dissuade some undergraduates, particularly those from low-income backgrounds, from pursuing even integrated master's degrees because of the additional year's fees and living expenses.

The concern is echoed in a submission by the UK Deans of Science. It says that master's degrees are necessary to "educate students to international graduate levels", but they had received "no thought" in the deliberations surrounding the higher education reforms. …

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