Australian postgraduate student experiences and anticipated employability: A national study from the students’ perspective
Keywords:postgraduate, student experience, employability, graduate outcomes, careers
Postgraduate students are navigating a rapidly evolving landscape for their future careers. In this context, higher education providers are responsible for supporting and monitoring postgraduate (masters and doctoral) students’ development for both education and employability contexts. This empirical research provides a rich analysis of feedback breakfasts, focus groups and interviews with 319 postgraduate student participants from 26 universities. Emergent themes highlight widespread lack of confidence in university-mediated student experiences, particularly in the context of employability, and pessimism regarding career outcomes. Students expressed a view that higher education providers need to direct further attention and relevant supports toward postgraduate education. Future career despondency was particularly prevalent among students with academic aspirations. The findings are discussed using the theoretical framework of eudemonia and flourishing as an approach to revitalising and improving both the process and outcomes of postgraduate education. The paper concludes with practical recommendations for universities to improve the postgraduate student experience in the context of employability.
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