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On-Campus Learning Preferred By International Post-Graduate, PhD Students: Survey

According to a poll of over 16,000 potential postgraduate students, on-campus study alternatives remain significantly the preferred study option among postgraduate students.

The Covid-19 pandemic has not “fundamentally changed postgraduate study interests,” according to the Postgraduate study preferences survey conducted by FindAUniversity between June and August 2021.

The report discovered that traditional Masters and PhD experiences are strongly desired, particularly among overseas students. Approximately two-thirds of incoming postgraduate students wish to learn on campus. When contrasted to students from other countries, UK students were more willing to participate in online or mixed programs.

Students from South Asia, particularly India, were eager to study on campus at the master’s level, according to the survey. “Broadly speaking, preferences for flexible study are highest where students are likely to study domestically and lower where they are likely to study abroad,” it noted.

At the doctoral level, 79 per cent of students from South Asia and 71 per cent of students from East Asia preferred on-campus education over virtual or hybrid options. “The swing is particularly big for East Asia, where only 15% of prospective PhD students are seeking online study (vs 30% of prospective Masters students),” the report read. “This reminds us of the need to differentiate between qualifications when considering international student trends at postgraduate level.”

Overseas students prefer to study from the university campus for a master’s or PhD course and research, according to the research, with “no substantial difference between destinations.” At the master’s level, 85 per cent of students interested in studying in Norway selected on-campus courses, while just 6% preferred online studies.

In Germany, 84 per cent of incoming international master’s students favoured on-campus learning over online learning, while only 5% preferred online learning. At the PhD level, 85 per cent of international students planning to study in Norway, 82 per cent in Germany, 77 per cent in the Netherlands, and 73 per cent in the United States preferred campus studies.

“Flexible study is particularly popular with international PhD students interested in Australia, the UK, and Canada, with roughly a third of people considering blended or online learning for these destinations,” the report found but added that the majority of international postgraduates want to study a traditional on-campus PhD.

When comparing to Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences students, students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics / Medicine have a distinct preference for on-campus education at both the masters and PhD levels. “Postgraduate study is innovative by nature, but these findings remind us that the pandemic hasn’t immediately reshaped the ways in which people want to study going forward,” Mark Bennett, director of Audience & Editorial at FindAUniversity said.

Earlier this year, Keystone Education Group acquired the postgrad specialist. “One of the things we see at FindAUniversity and across the Keystone Education Group is that preferences really do vary for different audiences,” Bennett added.

“By making online and blended learning more visible, Covid-19 may well be a catalyst for change – but that process is likely to be evolutionary, rather than revolutionary. It’s something we’ll continue to track across our research and insights.”

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