Graduate survey for the MSc programme in Human Biology 2017

Objectives and background of the survey

Graduate surveys are conducted to gather information on employment circumstances after graduation and on whether various aspects of the studies graduates have completed influence their employment.

Through the graduate surveys, UPCH also gains knowledge of how graduates assess the degree to which the competences they have acquired through the programme are relevant and in demand in the jobs they get after completing their studies.

The graduates also assess whether there are aspects of the programme, its structure and contents that could be adjusted so that the programme to an even higher degree would prepare them for the labour market.

Graduate surveys are therefore an important element in the quality assurance of programmes. 

Data collection and response rate

This report is based on data from graduates of the MSc programme in Human Biology who graduated in the period from 1 October 2012 – 30 September 2015 and who thus completed their studies a minimum of one year before the survey.

The data were collected in the period from 1 November – 8 December 2016 as part of the annual joint graduate survey across UCPH.

In total, 58 of the 87 invited graduates of the MSc programme in Human Biology responded to the graduate survey. Three of the graduates submitted a partial response. This corresponds to a total response rate of 67%.

The majority of graduates find employment quickly within the pharmaceutical industry

45% of the graduates are employed, while 47% are enrolled in a PhD programme. 7% of the graduates are unemployed

33% of the graduates got a job or started a PhD programme before they completed the programme. 37% graduates got a job or started a PhD programme within three months. 16%, corresponding to nine people, were unemployed more than six months after graduation.

The majority of graduates who are not enrolled in a PhD programme are employed in the pharmaceutical industry.

High transition rate to a PhD programme

Almost half of the graduates are enrolled in a PhD programme, which indicates a high transition rate to a PhD programme. Of the 27 PhD students, 23 are enrolled at the University of Copenhagen. Graduates have started on the PhD studies relatively quickly in that three out of four have gone directly from their MSc programme or had a single job before starting their PhD programme.

Graduates’ current job meets their career expectations

82% of the MSc graduates respond that their current job meets the career expectations they had while studying. 12% do not think that their current employment meets their expectations.

Graduates are well prepared for the labour market but... 

81% of graduates think that the MSc programme in Human Biology has prepared them for the labour market. However, they point to aspects, primarily concerning better opportunities for project-based work and collaboration with the business community, which could better prepare them for the labour market. The graduates assess that competences used within research and the ability to work across disciplines and in English are important for a Human Biology graduate in today’s labour market.

The courses on the programme are satisfactory

The learning outcomes of most of the compulsory courses have been assessed as satisfactory. 57% assess that they have benefitted in their current employment from a legally valid license to conduct laboratory animal experiments, while 27% assess that they have not benefitted from this.

Positive assessment of the academic level and progression but challenges related to the different academic backgrounds

86% of the graduates assess that the academic level is at an appropriate level in relation to the admission requirements. 89% experience a satisfactory academic progression on the MSc programme. However, the graduates indicate that it is a challenge that the students come to the Human Biology programme with very different academic backgrounds as some experience considerable overlap with their undergraduate programme. When the graduates started on the MSc programme in Human Biology, they came from five different bachelor programmes and from different educational institutions.

Limited satisfaction with the workload

Only 18% of respondents state that the workload ‘to a high degree’ is evenly spread over time, while 44% respond ‘to some degree’ and 29% respond ‘to a lesser degree’.

Limited opportunities for mobility

The graduates point out that the opportunities for a period of studies abroad, internships and collaboration with companies without entailing an extension are not good. This is not surprising since the MSc programme in Human Biology has a tight timetable with limited room for flexibility. The students who have done a period of studies abroad or an internship assess that they have benefitted greatly from it in many different areas.

54% estimate that the elements in the MSc programme in Human Biology promote completion within the prescribed completion time. The other half of the graduates respond ‘to a lesser degree’, ‘not at all’ or ‘don’t know’. ’The challenges in relation to completing the programme within the prescribed completion time primarily concern the master’s thesis.

Teachers’ professional level is higher than their pedagogic competences

88% of graduates assess the teachers’ professional competences to be sufficient. 62% of graduates assess that the teachers’ pedagogic competences are sufficient, while 33% find that the teachers’ pedagogic competences to a lesser degree are sufficient.

Overall assessment of the programme

The aspects about the MSc Programme in Human Biology that the graduates find particularly good are the fact that it is a specialised subject; the way the programme is organised, as well as practical courses/lab experience; the international atmosphere; and good lectures. The graduates assess that aspects that could benefit from improvement are the lack of orientation towards career, the way the programme is organised and the workload.

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