Most university graduates pursue studies beyond their first degree

New Brunswick – A study released today shows that 65 per cent of Maritime students who graduated from university in 2012 pursued further studies within six years of completing a first degree. The study was conducted by the Maritime Province Higher Education Commission.

The most popular programs pursued were graduate degrees:

  • 44 per cent of graduates pursued a master’s degree or PhD;
  • 17 per cent enrolled in a second bachelor’s degree, including seven per cent who enrolled in a bachelor of education program;
  • 16 per cent enrolled in a college program or apprenticeship; and
  • seven per cent enrolled in a professional degree such as medicine or law.

The commission conducted a survey of Grade 12 Maritime high school students in 2014 and found that 65 per cent of university-bound students intended to complete a credential above a bachelor’s degree.

The main reasons to pursue further education were career-related:

  • 29 per cent said it was part of their chosen career path;
  • 29 per cent said it was for career advancement or a promotion;
  • 12 per cent of graduates who pursued further studies did so to learn more about a subject.

Graduates in the labour force reported that the education they pursued after their first degree was necessary for their current job (75 per cent), was related to their current job to at least some extent (90 per cent), and they used skills learned at least to some extent (93 per cent).

The Class of 2012 Six Years On: Pursuing Education After a First Degree report provides statistics on programs pursued after a first degree. Additional statistical tables with provincial breakdowns can be found on the commission’s website.

The total sample of 2,630 respondents represents 25 per cent of the total Class of 2012 bachelor’s graduate population of the 14 universities in the Maritime provinces that offer undergraduate degrees. The report focuses on 1,901 first degree holders and results have a margin of error of +/- 2.2 per cent, 19 times out of 20. All statistics presented have been generated from weighted data; data were weighted on the basis of the university of graduation and gender.

The Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission was established in 1974 as an arm’s length organization accountable to the ministers responsible for post-secondary education in the Maritimes.

It comprises 20 members representing universities, the public-at-large (including students), and the three Maritime provincial governments. The commission’s mandate is to give first consideration to improving and maintaining the best possible service to students as lifelong learners.