The Economics Network

Improving economics teaching and learning for over 20 years

Designing ab initio postgraduate degrees

The growth of postgraduate provision has been one of the most significant developments across UK Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) with a 14 per cent increase in postgraduate research (PGR) and a 46 per cent increase in postgraduate taught (PGT) degrees between 2002–03 and 2008–09, whilst over half of the latter are now being taken on a part-time basis. This significant increase in the number of postgraduate degrees offered, in particular taught Master’s, has been a financial lifeline for many universities constrained by funding council caps on undergraduate numbers and latterly fees, whilst offering further academic credibility to the department. Thus although the importance of instigating new PGT programmes can be seen from a variety of directions, the design of ab initio postgraduate degrees has consequently become more potentially problematic given an ever-crowded marketplace. This chapter therefore seeks to explore some of the challenges of introducing new PGT degrees.