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Flexibility and support: the things that matter when doing postgrad study

We looked at the data and spoke to postgrad students, and these are the things to look for when you’re considering postgrad study

While cost is always a big factor in the decision to return to study, once you’ve mentally committed the dollars, there are so many other factors to consider.

We spoke to some current postgrad students about what they valued in their course, and here’s what featured at the top.

Flexible classes both online and face-to-face

With most people undertaking postgraduate study while they’re working, flexibility is the key item required for success.

QUT graduate Claire Meyer says it was one of the reasons she chose QUT.

“I have really appreciated having the flexibility to do some subjects in person at QUT Gardens Point, and some subjects online, to suit my work and family schedule,” Claire says.

Likewise, Rebecca Wilson, who did a Graduate Certificate in Business Process Management, says “I liked the ability to watch pre-recorded lectures in the evenings when I was working full-time.”

Course content that helps you stay fresh in your career

Toni de Palo, student in QUT’s Master of Data Analytics says the course has allowed her to remain relevant and ahead of the curve with her skills, thinking and sense of curiosity. 

Her advice to postgrad students?

“Be curious, approach it as an adventure and take in all that you can. Use your time as a postgrad student to build your networks, leverage the expertise and knowledge of others and find what works for you. Also, be patient, work through the hard parts and ask loads of questions along the way.”

Likewise, Master of IT student Samridh Girish says he’s been able to immediately apply the real-world concepts he has learnt in his masters.

“Doing my masters at QUT was a much more hands-on learning experience than my bachelor degree , which really helped me learn each concept clearly! I use them all widely in my current job.”

Support on things you’re unsure of

Sally Zhu, a Master of Data Science student at QUT is onto her second masters degree, and it’s the support she has received in tricky areas that she says has made all the difference.

“I had zero coding experience but the course itself is structured well so that students could be introduced to new concepts gradually. The supportive environment made me feel comfortable and I was able to learn how to code and learn strategies to do so,” Sally says.

What students say is also backed up by research from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER). In a recent study it found students were willing to pay extra for student support services. They also had a preference for blended and online delivery modes over face-to-face.

And once you’ve started a course, this handy ‘Good Practice Guide’ includes some helpful tips on getting the most out of your postgraduate study.

The TL;DR is:

  • Get to know your fellow postgraduate students. 
  • Participate in social networks, forums and/or seminars. Form study groups that are face to face, online, or combination of both. 
  • Engage with postgraduate students who are not from your primary cultural group. 
  • Study in teams with other postgraduate students. Establish networks while you are in university for future contacts, connectors and clients. 
  • Participate in a postgraduate student association (or equivalent). 
  • Introduce yourself to the university librarian(s) and seek their assistance with research
  • Be proactive in seeking assistance from academic support personnel in your university 


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