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1. Stephanie’s projects in the past have covered ..
1) master’s degree trends.
2) high school studies.
3) undergraduate courses.

2. What is true for someone entering the working world with a master’s degree?
1) They are guaranteed to find a job.
2) They are likely to get a higher salary.
3) They will find it extremely hard to get a job.

3. From 1996 to now, the increase Stephanie mentions involves …
1) the time it takes to get a masters degree.
2) the number of master’s degree subjects being offered.
3) the number of workers who have master’s degrees.

4. Which type of job is most likely to require a master’s degree?
1) An aerospace engineering job.
2) A job in social work.
3) A teaching job.

5. Jobs with unspecified degree requirements …
1) pay masters degree holders a much higher salary.
2) are more likely to be obtained by bachelor-degree holders.
3) don’t pay more-qualified candidates any better.

6. Stephanie says most undergraduate students …
1) can consider their master’s degree while they study.
2) don’t want to obtain a master’s degree.
3) know what they want to specialise in whilst still at school.

7. What is true about the 64% of bachelor-degree holders?
1) They are unemployed after six months.
2) They find jobs within six months.
3) They go on to get master’s degrees.

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Presenter: Hello everyone and welcome to State of Education, the programme about learning trends. With us today is Stephanie Watts. She’s here to talk about graduate studies. Thanks for joining us, Stephanie.
Speaker: My pleasure.
Presenter: So Stephanie, you work in higher education research. Can you tell us more about what you do?
Speaker: I work with a team of researchers who look at university education data. We’ve done a lot of different projects in my office, such as trends in undergraduate courses and student demographics. But we’re currently focusing on master’s degrees and what they can do for students.
Presenter: If I understand correctly, you’ve been determining how valuable a master’s degree really is, is that right?
Speaker: Yes, that pretty much sums it up. We’re trying to find out some more detailed information about what having a master’s means in the working world. We know that most people with master’s degrees get better salaries and have a higher chance of employment. But that’s not always guaranteed, so we’d like to know more about that.
Presenter: What have you found so far?
Speaker: Well, firstly there are quite a few more people in the workforce with master’s degrees today than there were 20 years ago, an increase from 4% in 1996 to 11% now. And the number of people applying for master’s degrees has increased as well, so the competition to get accepted for postgraduate study is tougher. However, simply getting a master’s degree for the sake of having it isn’t necessarily very helpful.
Presenter: The specific master’s degree subject must make a difference. How would you compare a master’s in aerospace engineering to one in, say, social work?
Speaker: You bring up an interesting point. For an aerospace engineering job, a master’s degree would be essential. You wouldn’t even get the job without one. And when you do get it, you’ll be paid handsomely. Jobs in social work, or fields such as teaching, don’t necessarily require a master’s, but having one makes you a more attractive candidate.
Presenter: Are many jobs advertised with a master’s degree requirement?
Speaker: Actually, no. This is where it gets tricky. If the position doesn’t specify that it requires a master’s degree, someone with a master’s will be competing with someone with a bachelor’s degree. The master’s degree holder will be in a better position to get the job, but the pay rate will be similar to what the bachelor’s degree holder would get. And that’s after the master’s candidate has paid extra money for their post-graduate degree, so this doesn’t appear to be a very successful outcome. But there is really one key element to bear in mind when making a decision about getting a master’s in the first place.
Presenter: Which is?
Speaker: You really have to know what it is you want to do. And I don’t mean just picking a first degree course at university. You have to go deeper than that. You have to think about specialisation. It’s probably not something an undergraduate student can do straight out of school. But while they’re at university, they can keep this in mind.
Presenter: So it sounds as though there are benefits to having a master’s degree, but it definitely requires some strategy to achieve them.
Speaker: Yes, however about 86% of students who acquire master’s degrees find professional employment in about six months. That’s compared with 64% of those with bachelor’s degrees. It’s an interesting study we’re working on and we hope to find out more things in the near future …

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