No students enrol on “pioneering” Master’s degree

A MASTER’S degree scheme advertised by Aberystwyth University as “a key component of a new initiative in interdisciplinary postgraduate study” has failed to attract any students, a request filed under the Freedom of Information Act has revealed. There were a total of eight applications received for the taught Master’s degree in “Digital Connectivity: Communications, Networks and Revolutions”, six of which were successful. However, the University said none “accepted the offers, i.e. they did not turn up and register for the course”.

The scheme, described as “unique, cutting edge and multidimensional” was to be led by the International Politics department and would  “draw on areas of expertise” in the Art, Computer Science, Information Studies, International Politics, Law and Criminology, Management and Business, Psychology, and Theatre, Film and Television Studies departments.

The Master’s, which was launched at a reception hosted by the International Politics department in London in November 2011, was the subject of a social media campaign, with the University’s Twitter account posting 41 tweets about “#connectivity”. Vice-Chancellor Professor April McMahon said the scheme would “create a high-profile hub for the study of ‘Connectivity’, combining teaching, research and dissemination in the field, as we establish ourselves as a focal point of commercial and public outreach for exploring the impact of the ‘information revolution’ on modern life.”

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The University offered five inaugural £7,000 scholarships to cover the entirety of the agreed tuition fee for full-time UK/EU students for the “pioneering Masters programme driven by the most revolutionary transformation of the 21st Century”.

The University offered five inaugural £7, 000 scholarships to cover the entirety of the agreed tuition fee for full-time UK/EU students  for the “pioneering Masters [sic] programme driven by the most revolutionary transformation of the 21st Century”. Applicants were invited to apply for the scholarship by “providing evidence of engagement with digital/social technology and media”, which included the options of presenting a blog or piece of artwork with a 500-word commentary.

A University spokesperson said that after no students enrolled on the Master’s it was decided “not to run the Masters in Connectivity for 2012 entry”; the scheme is no longer advertised on the University website. The deadline for applications for the scholarship was extended to “support interested applicants” in July 2012.

A further request has been filed under the Freedom of Information Act to establish the cost of promoting “the world’s first Masters Degree scheme of its kind”, which was widely advertised through University publicity events and full-page adverts in the national press.

A University spokesperson, when given the opportunity to comment, said that the University “has nothing further to add”.