Masters degree perceived value

The perceived value of an online Master's degree to students: graduate attributes and career development

Team members: Sarah Henderson, Gill Aitken, Sheila Fisken, Thomas Waterfield


The overall aim of this study is to ascertain how graduates believe participating in an online postgraduate taught programme has influenced their career, specifically in relation to the development and acquisition of graduate attributes. In addition to the achievement of a postgraduate qualification in a specific subject area, graduates also commonly gain what are understood to be graduate attributes; encompassing higher level skills and abilities that fundamentally influence the way one thinks about, and approaches, various situations.

The study will be approached from a constructivist epistemology. The research team are interested in the experiences of students on online postgraduate programmes, their perceptions of how they have identified with graduate attributes and how they have developed professionally since graduation. Programme documentation will also be reviewed for explicit reference to graduate attributes.

We intend to seek the views of graduates from one of two postgraduate taught online programmes: MSc Clinical Management of Pain and MSc Clinical Education.

This project, drawing on the perceptions from graduates from established and long-running online distance learning programmes, is in a strong position to provide valuable insights to programme teams (both online and on campus) both within the University and externally.

Project Outcomes

Aitken G (August 2017)  Development of graduate attributes in online distance learning students Teaching Matters (blog)