The One-Year Masters Degree: a British Qualification in a Bologna Context

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1 The One-Year Masters Degree: a British Qualification in a Bologna Context Professor David Manning School of Civil Engineering & Geosciences Newcastle University May 2011

2 UK Geology graduates the facts 24 universities have programmes accredited by the Geological Society 6 other universities deliver geology programmes About 1400 students start a geology programme each year About 1300 students graduate each year Less than half of these seek and find employment as geologists, or progress to a second degree About 600 people progress within the profession each year (or 1 per head of population)

3 Routes to geological employment BSc MEarthSci (integrated Masters) MSc MSc Route 1 Route 2 PhD PhD employment employment

4 What is so attractive about the MSc? The UK s geology MSc programmes are predominantly designed to bridge a gap between a general undergraduate degree and a non-academic speciality that prepares for specific employment destinations. A student can apply after graduating in June to start in September, knowing that he/she will be on the job market to start work the following September. This is a remarkably effective and responsive system from the point of view of generating highly trained entrants to specialist areas of the profession.

5 Examples from CEG, Newcastle University

6 MSc programmes (2)

7 Where do CEG MSc students come from? >200 students across 18 programmes. Up to 75% on some programmes come from outside the EU (e.g. MSc Petroleum Geochemistry). We take a significant number of students from France and Italy. A significant number of students are mature have entered the MSc after a period of postgraduate work. Many of our UK students are those who left the area to take a first degree outside the region, who come home for the MSc, and then find work locally (repatriation of skills Regional Development benefits).

8 Course structure Duration ECTS Credits Exit level ECTS/Bologna norms BSc 3 years 180 H/ MGeol 4 years 240 M/7 MSc 1 year 90 M/ PhD 3-4 years n/a NB Scottish first degrees last one year longer, starting at a lower level Normally, there are 60 ECTS credits in an academic year. The British MSc has 90 credits in months.

9 Implications: for the student A UK MSc is extremely intense, hard work, over 3 semesters. There are normally 2 semesters of courses, some as 1- week block modules which can be open to outsiders as CPD (so students study alongside professionals). There is a 3 rd semester taken up by a substantial independent project, starting in the spring and delivering a thesis in August or September. This is worth about a third of the ECTS credit allocation.

10 Implications: for the employer A graduate from a good MSc programme will have gained experience in professional styles of working (block modules, managed projects, tight deadlines, intense hard work). Employers can engage with teaching at this level, as guest lecturers and by offering project topics and support. Staff can take an MSc on a part-time basis, or can take individual modules as part of their CPD. Employers can suggest innovative projects that address nice-to-know topics. MSc degrees can help facilitate rapid reshaping of staff capability profiles; can compensate for redundancy.

11 Bologna implications With 180 (3 year) or 240 (4 year) ECTS credits, a UK first degree clearly complies with Bologna s First Cycle. With 90 ECTS credits, a UK MSc clearly complies with Bologna s Second Cycle, although it is delivered in a continuous 12 month period. But the 4 year integrated masters offered in England and Wales is a hybrid it contains the required amount of material at level M/7, and its learning outcomes may be appropriate for Bologna 1 st and 2 nd Cycle combined.

12 Threats to the system: funding In England, almost all students on Geology undergraduate programmes will have to pay a fee of 9000 per year, borrowing this money from the Student Loan Company. In Wales and Scotland it is different in each case. The fees for MSc degrees that these students will face, when they graduate in 2015 or 2016 are not known. It is unlikely that MSc fees will be below 9000 for the one year programme. In 2011, Government has stopped all student support on MSc programmes.

13 Threats to the system: funding In England, almost all students on Geology undergraduate programmes will have to pay a fee of 9000 per year, borrowing this money from the Student Loan Company. In Wales and Scotland it is different in each case. The fees for MSc degrees that these students will face, when they graduate in 2015 or 2016 are not known. It is unlikely that MSc fees will be below 9000 for the one year programme. In 2011, Government has stopped all student support on MSc programmes. The UK Higher Education Sector is fragmented as never before.

14 Threats to the profession: where will new staff come from Students may continue to invest in MSc training, although they cannot borrow from the Student Loan Company. Many MSc degrees will close as universities prioritise undergraduate teaching for income generation. However, a good MSc, that is linked to jobs, is likely to be seen as a good investment.

15 Opportunities Employers have a vital role to play, to ensure that they protect their interests by encouraging the right students to study to the right level. Integrated Masters degrees, 4 years long, could adapt to have a more applied, job-focused, final year. Some MSc programmes might receive sufficient industrial sponsorship, or income from non-eu students, that they survive.

16 The future in the UK: what s now BSc MEarthSci MSc MSc Route 1 Route 2 PhD PhD employment employment

17 Bologna Cycles 1 & 2 The future in the UK: what s next? BSc MEarthSci MSc MSc Route 1 Route 2 PhD PhD employment employment

18 The challenge We live in interesting times. The profession must pay attention to the immense changes that are taking place in the university system in the UK. British employers will find that the recruitment landscape in 2016 will be completely different to what it is now, and must be prepared. British universities must ensure that the integrated masters is truly what employers require. The integrated masters will necessarily become much more clearly Bologna compliant.

19 Thank you For further information, go to:

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