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Press release

  • 15 October 2004
  • Let's be positive about postgraduate study

    New research, undertaken jointly by the University of Sussex's Career Development  and Employment Centre (CDEC) and the independent Institute for Employment Studies (IES), highlights the positive but unappreciated advantages of postgraduate study.


    Despite all the benefits postgraduates personally feel they gain, many say employers need convincing of the added value, improved skills and personal maturity they have to offer.


    Emma Pollard, co-author of the report and an IES Research Fellow, says:  "When postgraduates set out in the job market, they find they are treated the same as graduates, even those who return to the same organisation after postgraduate study."


    The research, which involved following up the career progress of 200 Sussex postgraduates, points to the significant role universities could play in promoting postgraduates to employers.


    They include encouraging those on less career-oriented paths to think from early on about how they want to use their learning and personal skills in the labour market, and helping those on more vocational courses to recognise the added value of their personal development, and the benefits of this in the labour market.


    Bridget Millmore, co-author and CDEC deputy director, says CDEC will use the report outcomes to review its own work with postgraduates.  "All the respondents interviewed were positive about their experience at Sussex. What we will do now is to look at how we develop the programmes we put on for postgraduates and how we liaise with local and national employers," she says.  "The findings will also inform how we advise undergraduates about the issues they need to take into account when choosing postgraduate courses."


    On the positive side, postgraduates who were a few years into their careers wer in high-level roles earning more than they did before their studies. They were also able to use their transferable skills, including analytical thinking, self-motivation and resilience.


    Higher Degrees of Freedom: the Value of Postgraduate Study, L Barber, E Pollard, B Millmore, V Gerova. IES Report 410, 2004. ISBN 1 85184 333 7, £30.00

    The report may be purchased online at in both printed and electronic formats.





    Notes for editors 

    For further press information about this study, please contact Emma Pollard (IES) on 01273 686751 or Bridget Millmore (Sussex University) on 01273 873372. Press review copies of the report are available by contacting Sue Kent or Andy Davidson at IES, on 01273 678322.


    University of Sussex Press Office, Jacqui Bealing  or Maggie Clune,,   Tel: 01273 678888



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