Study programme survey of Human Biology

The aim and background of the study programme survey

In April 2011, the staff responsible for the Master’s programme in Human Biology, in cooperation with Education and Student Services at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at the University of Copenhagen, conducted a survey of all graduates. The group studied comprised graduates in Human Biology from the years 1996-2010. The objective of the survey was to clarify the extent to which graduates from the fifteen years prior to the survey perceived the study programme as constituting a solid foundation for their subsequent professional working life. At the same time, the aim was continuous quality assurance, focus on competences and qualifications in the study programme, and a strengthening of the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences’ recruitment strategy and dialogue with potential employers.

The main results of the survey

In total, 234 out of 385 possible respondents (graduates from 1996-2010) responded to the questionnaire, which yields a response rate of 61%.

The survey shows that 70% of graduates got their first job right after graduation while more than 90% were employed within one year. The unemployment rate amongst respondents is 5.6%.

According to the survey, over half of the graduates continued to complete a PhD degree after their Master’s degree. Amongst these, 84% earned their PhD degree from the University of Copenhagen, 78% of these from the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences. In addition, 57 graduates were enrolled in a PhD programme at the time of the survey. Thus, 185 of the 234 respondents – 79% – could be expected to earn a PhD degree in the course of the year following the survey. Graduates in Human Biology from within the 15 years preceding the survey are employed in a diverse segment within the biomedical sector. The majority of the earliest graduates in the survey work in the private sector and in industry while the majority of the later graduates are employed in the public sector. This situation likely reflects the fact that more than half of the recent graduates were employed as PhD students at the time of the survey. Of those employed in the private sector, the vast majority work in the pharmaceutical industry and within biotechnology. Graduates employed in the public sector work primarily at universities and hospitals (including the group that is currently enrolled in a PhD programme).

On a 4-point Likert scale, 85% of the respondents indicate that their Master’s degree in Human Biology to a ”High” or ”Very high” degree has prepared them well for their subsequent working life. Fewer than 5% indicate that they were “Less well” prepared, while 10% state that they were prepared to a “Certain degree”.

During their studies, approximately half of the graduates engaged in academically and professionally relevant cooperation with an external partner such as a public or private company, institution, or organisation. The survey indicates that this cooperation has had a direct influence on the graduates’ post-graduation employment to a considerable degree in that 50-70% of those that had an external cooperative partner were later employed by them.

Both the recent graduates and the more experienced graduates indicate that the qualifications and skills they have acquired through the study programme to a “High degree” correspond to what is in demand on the labour market. Qualifications and competences acquired in connection with the thesis are regarded as being of particular relevance.

The survey and its results will be taken into account in the further work with quality assurance and development of the study programme.

Read the report from 2011