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Graduate level enrolment continues to soar

By Mandy Cook

Substantial grant procurement, memoranda of understanding with numerous universities around the world, new degree programs, award-winning digital recruitment strategies – is there anything the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) can't do?

Apparently not, as the ultimate goal of the SGS and its partners – to continue attracting top quality students at the master's and doctoral level to Memorial – is firmly in hand.

Recent numbers indicate that total graduate enrolment grew 8.6 per cent over the past year, from 3,119 graduate students to 3,386. During the same period, the number of full-time graduate students increased by 9.5 per cent and part-time graduate students by 7.3 per cent. In addition, the number of international graduate students increased by an impressive 23 per cent during the same period.

"Graduate applications to Memorial have more than doubled during the past five years, and have increased by 32 per cent during the past two," said Dr. Noreen Golfman, dean, School of Graduate Studies. "This is a clear sign that Memorial University has become an institution of choice for graduate education thanks to a combination of excellent research and programs, strong student services and competitive tuition for graduate students."

Ongoing collaboration with Student Affairs and Services, the Office of Student Recruitment, the Office of the Registrar, Computing and Communications, Distance Education, Learning and Teaching Support and the Division of Marketing and Communications has played an important role in the recruitment and support of the growing graduate cohort.

"A strong enrolment strategy takes a holistic approach, and the School of Graduate Studies' partnerships with other service units as well as our external stakeholders are extremely important," said Andrew Kim, director, graduate enrolment services. "Through these joint ventures, and by making data-informed decisions, strategically deploying technology and creating an appropriate level of student services and resources, Memorial can celebrate increased graduate enrolment and exceptional conditions for student success."

These partnerships have helped contribute to a number of successes linked to graduate enrolment growth, such as securing $400,000 in internal and external grants to support strategic enrolment management projects. The substantial bump in international graduate student enrolment is in part due to similar collaboration between the SGS, the International Centre and academic units to recruit more international graduate students and to sign memoranda of understanding (MOU) with an increasing number of partner institutions.

The new MOUs in particular foster student mobility, the creation of new and collaborative academic programs and increased financial support for graduate students. Ultimately, the educational partnerships help to build a stronger global profile and better positions Memorial to attract students from around the world.
In addition, new programs, including the master of arts in environmental policy at the Grenfell Campus, along with enhancements to existing graduate programs, have also helped to attract an increasing number of academically strong students to Memorial.

All of this good work has not gone unnoticed by colleagues working in the post-secondary recruitment field. In 2011, the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers acknowledged the work Memorial has carried out in graduate enrolment management with the Strategic Enrolment Management Award of Excellence for Canadian institutions.

Whether students at the graduate level decide to pursue a master of arts or a PhD in engineering, Dr. Golfman is proud to say that enrolment is up in almost all areas of study.