Queen’s University Belfast Making the Most of Masters Pilot
The Making the Most of Masters programme at Queen’s (QMMM) works with taught Masters programmes and with employers from a range of sectors, including the community and voluntary sector, to provide students with work based projects as an alternative to a university based dissertation.
The aim of the programme is to support students to apply the learning from their academic programme to a real world need or issue identified by an external organisation. Academics may also choose to develop their own projects from existing professional relationships. Students will therefore use their knowledge to respond to the needs of wider society. Projects will be embedded in the academic curriculum and a range of resources have been developed to support academics and students in this process.
During 2016/17, Queen's University ran a pilot offering an opportunity for Postgraduate Taught (PGT) Masters students to translate their learning from an academic to a real world setting without necessarily having to be based in an organisation. Whilst students will not be paid they will benefit from the knowledge and experience of the organisation they work with. It builds on extensive experience in project based learning at Queen’s University, and on the Making the Most of Masters initiative in Scottish universities. It will be supported by the Graduate School, the Science Shop and the Employer Engagement team and has been developed in collaboration with an Advisory Group consisting of a range of academics across all faculties. The programme evaluation will be completed in November 2017.
This work contributes to the following strategic priorities within the University:
- The University Corporate plan 2016 – 21 commits to increasing the use of work-based learning as one aspect of delivering a ‘more engaging and dynamic curriculum’
- Engaging with the employability agenda - the Education Strategy 2016 -21 commits to having ‘employability related skills embedded in all curricular …offerings’to ensure that our graduates are well prepared for work
- Raising profile of research in PGT programmes – The Graduate School aim to ‘train postgraduate students to appreciate and communicate the role and value of research in relation to societal impact’ (Institutional Postgraduate Strategy 2016-21) by offering PGT students the opportunity to undertake a work based learning project in response to employer needs
- Enhancing employer links – by becoming more responsive to specific employer needs thus supporting the development of more market attuned PGT courses
- Responding to PGT demand – by offering PGT students opportunities to meet and collaborate with potential employers during their programme and challenging PGTs to apply their knowledge in different sectors
- Making a positive impact on society through our education – responding to real issues generated by organisations across Northern Ireland reflects the commitment of the University’s Social Charter to encourage our students ‘to develop as active citizens and critical thinkers so they can become the next generation of leaders for a global society’.
To join the next MMM information session or for further information please contact email@example.com
QMMM Background Information
To meet the requirements of the Queen’s Making the Most of Masters (QMMM) programme there must be a degree of flexibility around each project, but the following elements will be in place:
- Links with Employers/Organisations – QMMM Co-ordinators will actively engage with employers/organisations across a range of sectors across Northern Ireland to produce workplace based projects for Masters students in response to organisational need. QMMM Co-ordinators may also support academic staff who choose to develop projects with their own contacts.
- Topic Development - Project proposals generally originate from employers in discussion with QUB Co-ordinators and/or Academics and are subsequently refined through discussions with the Programme Directors and/or Academic Supervisors. Work based projects must meet with existing criteria for dissertation projects and demand the same level of commitment from the student.
- Supervision - Projects will be supervised by a member of academic staff with appropriate input from a suitable person from the external’s organisation.
- Outputs - The expected outcomes of the project will be clearly stated at the outset to ensure that both the organisation's and academic needs are met.
- Supporting Documentation – QMMM Co-ordinators will provide supporting education and administrative material where required. This includes contractual and IP documentation.
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