Exploring BSc Human Biology graduate outcomes and their perceptions of the course

Kishvena Sornapooman, Georgina Fyfe

Abstract


In Australia, the employment outcomes of new graduates are surveyed yearly and evidence of successful employment is linked by some to education quality. Subsequently, higher education providers must ensure their graduates acquire relevant generic attributes as employers seek graduates with 'work ready' skills. Students studying a BSc Human Biology Preclinical degree (HBP) at Curtin University do not have a prescribed profession at graduation, nor do they have fieldwork or clinical practice during their degree to help them confirm their career goals. The Graduate Destination Survey shows that most Curtin HBP graduates are involved in further studies four months post-graduation, but there is little information on what HBP graduates do after completing further studies. Since there is no long-term information on HBP graduate pathways, it is difficult to match valued attributes with career destinations.
This study explores the destinations of Curtin HBP graduates between 2003 and 2012 and their perceptions of the most influential and useful aspects of the course. A mixed-methods approach was used for data collection. Focus group feedback was used to modify an online survey which was distributed to graduates via personal or university emails, or via social media.
The study sample was sorted into graduate profiles based on initial goals, goals formed during their HBP degree and those still without goals at graduation. Most believed the degree itself did not lead directly to satisfactory employment but provided the fundamentals required for further studies. Many graduates were involved in further studies before seeking a career-related job, and most settled into a career four years after graduating from HBP. The study reports the achievements of HBP graduates and recommends strengthening some aspects of the HBP curriculum. It also suggests what information may be most useful to prospective students on whether or not a generic undergraduate degree is a potential pathway to achieving their desired career.

Keywords


Graduate Destinations, Further Study, Employment Outcomes, Perceptions, Human Biology, Curtin University Graduates

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21153/jtlge2015vol6no1art571

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