South African Journal of Higher Education

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Profiling exiting postgraduate students\' performance and experiences

RM Albertyn, CA Kapp, EM Bitzer


Transitions in an era of globalisation and universal change impact on postgraduate
training of students at higher education institutions. This study aimed to determine completion rates for postgraduate programmes in Education at one higher education
institution, to identify the students\' needs and to investigate their experiences of
postgraduate studies. Questionnaires were administered to students who had graduated
and who suspended their studies between 2000 and 2006 (n=78). In this cohort, more
Ph.D. students completed their studies and in a shorter time than M.Phil. students. The
research component was regarded as the most difficult aspect of postgraduate studies.
The need for supervision support in research skills was noted by more M.Phil. students
than Ph.D. students. Academic input of assessing progress and evaluating quality were
regarded as the most important supervision need for students. Personal attributes,
support from supervisors and institutional support are noted as factors contributing to
success. Addressing the postgraduate students\' needs is essential in an era characterised
by transition to ensure accountability and quality within higher education.

South African Journal of Higher Education Vol. 22 (4) 2008: pp. 749-772
AJOL African Journals Online