Postgraduates are diverse
The postgraduate population is diverse. As such, the approach taken to support the learning of a cohort needs to be appreciative of their unique requirements and characteristics.
Postgraduates at ACU - data snapshot
Source: Australian Catholic University OPSM Statistical Digest – Section 3 – Postgraduate courses (2017). Note these have been rounded to nearest whole number, for current statistics see the OPSM Statistical Digest on Sharepoint.
Although the following video was created to encourage students to join the ACU Postgraduate Association, it is worth watching the latter-half as it captures different ACU postgraduate student perspectives.
ACU | Postgraduate Student Association (2017)
ACU's Postgraduate Strategy particularly focuses on postgraduate coursework students.
Here are two sample postgraduate user profiles developed by the ACU Marketing Insights team, from their study of ACU postgraduate motivations for study.
David - 48 - Connected Altruist
Now that my kids are older I have the chance to broaden my skills and meet different types of people. I’m hoping that this experience will take me into a new career where I can really help others.
Read more about David’s motivations and decisions to study……
Anna - 26 - Motivated Achiever
My drive to keep pushing myself has sent me back to university to be challenged. I’m doing this as much for my own development as for my career.
Read more about Anna’s motivations and decisions to study……
Note: the ACU Marketing Insights team postgraduate segmentation research focused on domestic postgraduate coursework students and did not include higher degree research students or international students. See the Segmentation Tool.
Strategies for designing for postgraduates
- Explore the Diversity page for strategies for addressing diversity.
- Explore the Designing units for postgraduate coursework students for advice about building units and courses.
International, HDR, indigenous and regional students
ACU has a range of postgraduate student demographics each with unique needs.
There is greater growth in the Australian postgraduate international enrolments than in undergraduate (Davis 2017).
Eleven percent (11%) of ACU’s postgraduates are international students (OPSM 2017), more broadly in Australia 37% of postgraduates are international students (2015 DEET).
Higher Degree by Research students
Six percent (6%) of ACU’s PG students are HDR students, more broadly in Australia 17% of postgraduates are HDR students (2015 DEET).
- ACU Graduate Research page
- ACU Research Candidate supervision page
- ACU Higher Degree Research Supervision policies
- Eleven practices of effective postgraduate supervisors (James & Baldwin 1999).
- Guides for new supervisors - best practice guides about coursework dissertation supervision (Roberts 2015)
- Quality in Inter- and Trans- Disciplinary Postgraduate Research and its Supervision (Mitchell 2009)
One percent (1-2%) of ACU’s PG students are indigenous (OPSM 2017). Research has demonstrated that indigenous Australian postgraduate students face different barriers to non-indigenous students.
- ACU Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander student page.
- Barney, K. (2013). ‘Taking your mob with you’: giving voice to the experiences of Indigenous Australian postgraduate students. Higher Education Research and Development.
- Trugett, M. (2009). Build it and They Will Come: Building the Capacity of Indigenous Units in Universities to Provide Better Support for Indigenous Australian Postgraduate Students. The Australian Journal of Indigenous Education Studies.
- Pechenkina, A & Anderson, I. (2011). Background paper on Indigenous Australian Higher Education: Trends, Initiatives and Policy Implications. Australian Government.
Regional, rural and remote students
Regional, rural and remote students face challenges different from their metropolitan counterparts. Moving to metropolitan areas is often not be a viable option for studying, as accommodation costs can be prohibitive and students (particularly postgraduates) may have financial and family responsibilities.
DEET. (2015). Higher Education Statistics uCube. http://highereducationstatistics.education.gov.au/
Davis, G. (2017). Universities must produce postgraduates the new world needs. Financial Review. http://www.afr.com/opinion/columnists/universities-must-produce-postgraduates-the-new-world-needs-20170829-gy674v#ixzz4vudGnQJ4.
OPSM. (2017). OPSM Statistical Digest – Section 3 – Postgraduate courses. Australian Catholic University.
Page last updated: 2017-12-19
Short url: http://www.acu.edu.au/1329601