Choosing the right course – a degree of challenge - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Choosing the right course – a degree of challenge

10 Oct 2016

Things used to be more simple. Like, just choosing a big city university would help create better career prospects.

But, not anymore.

Banking on the prestige element of a university is a thing of the past.

The influential Grattan Institute conducted research that found those graduating from the established Big Eight universities did not enjoy any significant advantages over other graduates.

Instead, Grattan's HILDA Study found that “what to study is the most important first question for a student to consider” because of its long term consequences on career success.

Changing course

A shift from the old resources-based economy in Australia, globalisation and the impact of digital technologies are bulldozing a new landscape.

The CSIRO's 2030 Australia report identifies that future workforce challenges are associated with “greater, faster and different transitions than previously experienced.”

Most of these are being driven by the explosion in device connectivity, computing speeds and a move towards robotics through automation and artificial intelligence.

Getting smart

CSIRO predicts the need for higher level job entry skills among our graduates so they can interact with digital economic platforms and compete with income growth and high skill levels in Asia.

Apart from developing traditional and professional skills, our students now need to look at courses that help them become future capable and that incorporate digital literacy alongside other learning.

The Grattan study also suggested that universities now need to offer some specific course elements that help prepae a student for job readiness, such as regular practical placements, and for universities to provide quality, up to date, career advice along the way.

Finding the perfect match

Already employers are favouring graduates with combined or double degrees that offer broader professional skills and incorporate new and emerging industry knowledge. Popular combinations are degrees that include the environmental sciences, health sciences, engineering, law, and business.  

Survey figures by Graduate Careers Australia show graduates with combined or double degrees are achieving a 74% full time employment rate within four months of finishing university.

USC offers a full range of innovative degree programs, including some unique combined and double degrees with extensive practical work placements in many of them, often as early as first year.


Student thinking

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