Understanding mature entrants’ transitions to postgraduate taught study

Pollard E, Gloster R, Hillage J, Bertram C, Buzzeo J, Marvell R, Griggs J, Drever E, Kotecha M, Rahim N,  |   | Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) | May 2016

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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.