Understanding students’ reasons for enrolling in master degree programs: A survey of six European countries

In 2018, 5.6 million students were enrolled in master degree programs in the EU–28 countries  according to Eurostat. One- and two-year master degree programs in the current format are relative newcomers to the higher education systems of continental Europe, having been introduced in most countries as part of the Bologna Process after 2000-2003. Almost two decades later, still very little is known about why students enroll in these master programs. To fill this important gap, researchers from CEU’s Yehuda Elkana Center for Higher Education set to better understand the reasons why individuals enroll in master degree programs offered by European universities. 

 A survey was designed targeting students enrolled in master programs in six European countries: Austria, Estonia, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, and Slovenia. Data was collected via an online questionnaire developed specifically for this project. Participants could fill in the questionnaire in English or in one of the local languages. Data collection took place in the spring and summer of 2019. Links to the online questionnaire were disseminated with help from the European Students’ Union, as well as the national student union and local student unions in the six European countries targeted by the survey.

A summary of key survey findings can be read here


European Students’ Union

Alianța Națională a Organizațiilor Studențești din România

Interstedelijk Studenten Overleg

Eesti Üliõpilaskondade Liit

Österreichische Hochschüler_innenschaft

Parlament Studentów Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej

Študentska organizacija Slovenije

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