ERIC Number: EJ717868
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Aug
Reference Count: 43
"It's a Year and then that's Me": Masters Students' Decision-Making
Journal of Further and Higher Education, v29 n3 p233-249 Aug 2005
This paper explores the decision-making of students entering full time UK taught masters degree courses. The findings come from an ongoing research project, "Career progression and employability for full time UK resident masters students". Little previous work has focused on these students and their process of transition (however long) from undergraduate studies. Analysis of the data from in-depth interviews with 24 students from six masters courses across two universities has led to the development of a threefold classification to summarize students' circumstances on entry to their courses. Alongside this, Bourdieu's notions of field, social, cultural and economic capital and habitus have proved valuable in making sense of the data. I argue that students' decisions to pursue full time higher level study are related to their circumstances on application, their dispositions and the resources they have available to them that are relevant to their masters level study. Key differences in the students' circumstances are cross cut by key common themes, suggesting that they bring their prior dispositions to their decision-making, which is firmly located within the opportunity structures they perceive as relevant to themselves. The complexities of the students' decision-making appear to be a far cry from the narrow policy notion of students as rational actors seeking economic gain.
Descriptors: Graduate Students, Foreign Countries, Decision Making, Graduate Study, Masters Degrees, Student Characteristics, Student Attitudes, Academic Aspiration
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom