Graduate Education: Organization

Graduate students form a growing proportion of students in higher education globally. Graduate studies comprise a wide variety of types of programmes, with an array of names and forms, and those studying beyond the first-degree level may be called ‘postgraduates’, ‘second’ or ‘third cycle’ students, ‘research students’, or named according to the qualification they seek (e.g., ‘master’s students’, ‘doctoral students’). There are notable differences in the organization of graduate studies across history, between countries, by discipline, and by student intention.

What graduate programmes have in common is their presumption that the student will have completed an undergraduate degree before commencement. This often means graduate education is more advanced than undergraduate education—but not always. Some graduate programmes do not assume prior subject knowledge but are instead ...

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