Understanding mature entrants’ transitions to postgraduate taught study
This research, undertaken by researchers from IES and NatCen Social Research, was commissioned by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) in order to offer evidence on UK-based mature students' progression into full-time and part-time postgraduate study.
The research aimed to understand several considerations: students' profile and participation, their motivations to study, their pre-entry activities, their sources of funding and finance while studying and the barriers and challenges faced in taking up postgraduate study.
The research shows that post-graduate students, largely driven by career motivations, are also influenced by their personal and professional circumstances. These circumstances framed the context in which they made decisions about postgraduate study – tying them to particular locations, restricting the availability of study time, and influencing their perceptions of affordability of study (both real costs and opportunity costs).
Under-representation of mature post-graduate students in high-tariff institutions, the relation of full-time to part-time post-graduate students and the overlap between age and mode of study, were also key areas of research.