Project dates: Sept ’20 – Aug ’21
The rationale for this project stems from the gaps in research on understanding how students choose courses at university. Understanding course choices is important, especially since in 2018 the Commons Select Committee called on universities to provide courses that were better ‘value for money’ by ensuring better graduate outcomes for students. The introduction of the Office for Students (OfS) and indeed the marketisation of higher education has led to a consumer driven approach whereby universities are being measured on their value for money through graduate satisfaction and degree outcomes. It is therefore essential that courses understand what motivates students to undertake a degree, what they expect from the chosen courses and where they aspire to go after graduating.
This scoping study aimed to provide an insight into what drives student decision making when choosing an undergraduate degree. The research used Criminology as a case study, which is a multi-disciplinary subject that has witnessed continuous growth in enrolment in England and Wales. Despite it being a popular choice for undergraduate study, there was no published data on the demographics of students enrolling in Criminology courses or graduation destinations for Criminology students. There was very limited published research that examined student motivations for studying the subject or what their aspirations were upon graduating. This study aimed to generate a better understanding of Criminology student course choices to help inform further research in the area.
To date, the findings of this research have been presented to:
A video for the education provider Satchel has been produced to educate secondary school students on what they can expect from a Criminology course in higher education.
A request has been submitted to HESA (Higher Education Statistics Agency) to create a single Criminology JACS code to enable future research on Criminology students to be more accessible.
A proposal has been accepted by the British Academy to take part in the British Academy Summer Showcase in June 2022, which offers a showcase of university subjects to 6th form students. This will be an opportunity to showcase the reality of a Criminology degree to potential applicants.