Teaching at masters level: Between and rock and a hard place

Gale MacLeod, Tina Barnes, Sharon Huttly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The considerable focus on capturing the ‘student experience’ has not been matched by investigations into the views and experiences of those teaching and managing programmes. This study aims to contribute to redressing the balance. An online survey of staff responsible for Postgraduate Taught (PGT) programmes in the UK elicited 382 responses from staff in 60 different institutions. Findings relating to perceptions of challenges their students face, students’ preparedness for Master’s level study and the influence of institutional culture are reported. PGT students were seen as dealing with complexity and juggling multiple demands. A gap between PGT students’ readiness for study at this level, the QAA’s vision of Master’s study, and institutional assumptions about student support required was identified. For this gap to be closed, we suggest a review of institutional practices is required.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)493-509
Number of pages17
JournalTeaching in Higher Education
Issue number4
Early online date28 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 19 May 2019


  • postgraduate taught
  • master's
  • programme directors
  • institutional culture
  • mastersness


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