ALL the universities participating in the ‘Study in UK Exhibition’ at the Empire Hotel’s Grand Hall on February 2 this year have a very broad and strong portfolio of postgraduate programmes – both research and taught, according to HRD Services.
Interest in postgraduate studies among Bruneian students continues to rise – spurred on by returning graduates wanting to upgrade their qualifications, or for in-service personnel wanting to enhance their skills to meet the manpower requirements of their department or ministry.
British universities have an excellent reputation for its postgraduate programmes. UK universities pride themselves in undertaking groundbreaking researches, and students are therefore taught by leading authorities in their respective fields.
UK Masters programmes are usually of a one-year duration. Other strengths of a UK Masters programme include tight controls on quality of education, direct relevance of the programme to business and industry, as well as international recognition and respect.
There are two types of ‘taught’ courses: programmes that are designed to deepen the student’s knowledge, and conversion programmes that introduce the student to a new subject (for example, an engineer needing to pick up management skills). The awards are MSc, MA, MBA, LLM, MRes. The MA and MSc programmes will include some training in research methods and, for certain areas, students can choose to collect their data and research materials from Brunei.
Entry requirements vary from course to course – for certain courses, the students need to have a degree that is directly relevant to the programme they wish to pursue, whereas for conversion courses, students need to have a different background. For example, students with an accounting background cannot enter a conversion course in Accountancy. For Masters courses, most universities require the student to have a good Honours degree (usually 2:1 and above). Some universities will consider work experience as part of the eligibility criteria.
Some courses, especially vocational programmes, also require work experience. Hence, a new graduate in Education for example cannot enter a course on Education Leadership, as the student has no prior experience to draw on. Postgraduate courses also require a high proficiency in the English Language. This can be demonstrated by either having a degree that was taught in English, or an IELTS score of 6.5 or 7.
It is highly advisable that students who did their first degree a number of years ago do a refresher course in English to ensure that they can cope with often a very demanding programme. Research courses involve an in-depth study of a particular field, enhancing worldwide knowledge of that field. This study requires intellectual independence, time-management skills, passions for the subject and self-discipline. Research awards are Masters degrees (MPhil) or Doctorates.
At doctorate level, the options are Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), which is completely research-based, and New Route PhD (in vocational fields such as Engineering) and Professional Doctorates (DEng, DEd, DClinPsych) that combine taught and research modules, The Professional Doctorates are the fastest growing type of doctoral study. Students are professional practitioners usually investigating their own practice or organisation.
The best guide to assess the quality of a postgraduate programme is the Research Assessment Exercise, which evaluates the quality of research in universities. There will be a presentation on applying for PhD programmes by Suzanne Alexander from the University of Leicester at 5pm on Feb 2 at the Grand Hall of Empire Hotel. HRD Services, organisers of the exhibition, provide all support for postgraduate applications. They can be contacted on 2232811.