New Horizons in Education

Vol. 55 No. 2 , Pages 37 - 54 , 2007

Postgraduate Preferences: A Study of Factors Contributing to Programme Satisfaction Amongst Masters Students



Background: Universities have a vested interest in attracting and encouraging enrolment of as many high calibre students as possible. With greater frequency, universities are using marketing techniques to do so.

Aims: The study reviewed current student opinions of a programme within a UK university to discover its shortcomings and strengths. Topics investigated were why the programme was selected by the participant pool, programme worth, impressions of modules, lecturers, and materials, how to increase the appeal of the programme to potential applicants, whether the current students regretted enrolment, and whether the student would recommend the course to a prospective student.

Sample: Eighty-one participants took part in the study. They are Computing Science MSc students who were given a questionnaire during their classroom sessions.

Method: An 11-item questionnaire was used to determine student demographic information, opinions of marketing and usefulness of the MSc in Computing Science programme. Questions regarding why the programme was selected, whether it was worthwhile, impressions of specific aspects of modules taken to date, how to increase the appeal, regret of enrolment, and whether the student would recommend the course to a prospective student were asked. Questionnaires were distributed to all students in the spring of 2005.

Results: Analyses indicate that greater flexibility of studies and increasing ease of manoeuvring through administrative matters would enhance programme value.

Conclusions: Universities should consider modifying some aspects of programmes to best appeal to student needs, e.g., increasing flexibility. Students should be provided with information to better understand the potential career paths of those who graduate with a particular degree. Involving alumni in recruiting new students might be a worthwhile endeavour. Recommendations to alter the programme and marketing strategy to highlight how the programme meets the needs of students were developed.

Keywords: higher education; marketing; computing science

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