Postgraduate taught students and preparedness for Master's level study: polishing the facets of the Master's diamond
Choudhary, Carolyn J.
Lane, Judith V.
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Bamber, V., Choudhary, C., Hislop, J. & Lane, J. (2017) Postgraduate taught students and preparedness for Master's level study: polishing the facets of the Master's diamond. Journal of Further and Higher Education (In Press)
Transitions are increasingly recognised as difficult, and less has been written about transitions to postgraduate taught programmes than about transitions into undergraduate or doctoral study. A Scotland-wide project found that new taught Post-graduate (PG), and staff teaching them, can be unclear about what is expected at Master's level, and proposed a framework of seven facets that indicate how students are expected to engage with Master's study. The facets and accompanying resources were designed to be discussion tools, to promote staff and student discussion of what is expected in their programme and subject. In a follow-up project at one university, a questionnaire was designed and distributed to postgraduate students asking them to rate their current level of ability against the skills and capabilities identified as facets for Master's level study. The project found students felt ill-prepared for particular aspects of Master's level study, with sub-group differences between disciplines. Master's courses are intensive and fast-moving, so this has implications for students' preparedness for successfully navigating through their programmes. Some suggestions on how students can be better briefed on what to expect are made.