Graduate enrollment down, applications up

Graduate enrollment at the University of Manitoba decreased a total of 87 students, from the fall term of 2008 to the winter term of 2009 said the U of M Office of Institutional Analysis, but the dean of Graduate Studies says there is “no shortage of applications.”

Across the faculties, the decline could be seen in certain departments as some students are failing to continue studies or graduate, but the dean of Graduate Studies, Jay Doering, said the university has also seen an increase in applications for graduate studies by 15 per cent.

The report released on Aug. 26 by the Office of Institutional Analysis indicated that the faculty that has experienced the greatest decline in graduate students was within the faculties of Arts, Nursing and Science and the school of Architecture.

He indicated that there were a number of other things that affected the decline of students at the U of M, including not having as competitive prices as other institutions and fierce competition from out of province schools.

The amount of students that have been becoming assistant professors may also be a contributing factor to the decline, said Doering, as assistant professors are unable to take on large class sizes, reducing the amount of students the faculty can accept.

Doering stated that the U of M has seen pretty stable numbers when it comes to graduate studies, and this drop is not a dramatic decrease.

“Our graduate student numbers have been relatively steady over the last couple of years.” he said. “Two per cent of 3,000 kids, your talking about 60 kids, which isn’t a lot,” Doering told the Manitoban.

“I wouldn’t say it’s an odd thing to happen.” Doering went on to explain that graduate studies at U of M is not an open door.

“Applications to the faculty of Graduate Studies is competitive and just because you meet the minimum requirements doesn’t mean you are going to be admitted. It depends on the number of spots that that unit wants to fill.”

The U of M faculty of Graduate Studies has roughly 3,000 applications a year and only 1,000 are admitted. The executive summary released by the Office of Institutional Analysis stated, “Graduate enrolment decreased 3.1 per cent, from 3,238 to 3,137 students.”

According to Thelma Lussier, director of the Office of Institutional Analysis, the information that was collected is sent to the department of Graduate Studies and they use the research for marketing and promotional purposes.

She explained that this was a common drop and declared that even though the numbers have dropped off, they expect them to level out.

Psychology was one of the departments within the faculty of Art that saw a noticeable decrease, but according to numbers from the Department head, Todd Mondor, psychology saw an increase in the 2008-09 year

“In terms of the enrollment, my records show that psychology actually gained 246 student credit hours from Oct. 22, [20]09 to Oct 28, [20]09.” Roughly 16 more full-time students

“We’ve actually come up a little bit,” said Mondor.

Doering also said that an increase is number of people who are currently looking a recession in the face have decided to further their education, trying to ensure security in these bleak economic times.¬¬

“It’s not atypical when the economy has a downturn to see students decide to turn and try and go back to graduate studies [ . . . ]. When the job market is bad, rather than take a job or be unable to find a job, [students’ say] ‘I’m going to continue on and invest in my education.”