What makes a postgraduate program attractive to students?

This question has been going around in our Research Department for a while. Right now we are in the process of implementing new strategists in order to increase the number of students at our MSc in Ceramic Engineering. Although we have a good publication output and we are academically the strongest group in our Research Centre, we are not the ones with the most students. This rose the question, what makes a postgraduate program attractive to students?

Right now topics like Sustainability and Nano are probably the two most attractive subjects and although we work on both areas the title of our program doesn´t reflect it. Is the title all that matters? Do students actually look at who will be their teacher or supervisors prior to enrollment? Do they look at their scientific reputation?, does it matter what they research on? Or would the subjects to be covered very important?

Talking about my own experience, I did an MSc in Ceramic and Metallic Materials at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology. I got into this program thanks to a series of e-mail exchanges in 2002 with Dale Smith, the Former Director of the Argonne Fusion Power Program. Before ending my BSc I knew I wanted to learn about nuclear materials, and that MSc gave me the tools to go from Chemistry to Materials Science. I remember I was more interested on the project I could do during my MSc than the subjects that I would have to take.

Thinking about this I guess I never had the chance to thank Dale Smith personally for what he did for me. If any of you out there is in contact with Prof. Dale Smith I would really appreciate if you could send me his details, I would be delighted to contact him again.

Do you remember what made you choose your MSc? Or what would make you pick one? Please share it with us.

MSc student

Me during my MSc graduation Ceremony.


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