2004 – Statement of Minimum Resources for Postgraduate Study

Attachment: CAPA Paper

This document is a revision of CAPA’s 1997 Statement of Minimum Resources. Both the 1997 document, and this revision, reflect the belief stated in CAPA standing policy that “the provision of adequate levels of resources is vital to the effective delivery of postgraduate programs across all modes of study.”

Higher education funding and management has undergone many changes since our 1997 statement of minimum resources, however the importance of such resources remains–if anything, resources have become even more important due to the emphasis placed on ‘timely’ completions of research degrees under the RTS (4 years PhD and 2 years Masters FTE). The deregulated postgraduate coursework degree market has led to increased offerings from universities seeking to capitalise on this new income source. The Postgraduate Education Loans Scheme (PELS), while softening the adverse effects of up-front fees for coursework degrees, has resulted in dramatic fee increases at some institutions.

CAPA believes that a high-quality educational environment should be provided to all postgraduate students, in accordance with basic principles of quality, equity and diversity. CAPA believes that it is the responsibility of all institutions to consult with their stakeholders in policy development, and to ensure that students are informed of their rights and entitlements.

Since 1997, a number of institutions have put policies in place related to resources and facilities for postgraduate research students. Some of these policies set institutional minimum standards, while others are merely aspirational. We are unaware however, of any institution-wide policies on facilities and resources for postgraduate coursework students. We believe that this is due to the view, widespread throughout the sector, that the needs (both material and pedagogic) of postgraduate coursework students do not differ meaningfully from those of undergraduate students. We dispute this view.

This document sets minimum standards of facilities and resources for:

  1. all postgraduates (common needs),
  2. coursework postgraduates, and
  3. research postgraduates