Developing employable graduates is a major focus for universities today as they strive to prepare students for life after graduation.
No more than ever, students are asking for Return of Investment (ROI) on their degree programmes so they can pay off their high student loans and gain employability as soon as possible.
International students in particular are looking towards universities to provide them with the right tools to become employable graduates, whether that’s in their host country or back home.
According to QS, “Focusing on employability helps universities to attract and retain high quality students and maintain a competitive advantage in the global market as a result.
“The importance of employability is evident from the students themselves when we take a look at International Student Surveys – where many cite employment outcomes as their primary motivation to study abroad.”
This is also why many students look to further their academic careers by applying for graduate programmes in their respective fields as they are often more specialised, giving students more opportunity to become leaders and apply for higher-ranking positions.
The field of applied sport sciences is no exception with multiple career pathways on offer for graduates. However, specialising with a Master’s degree grants more flexibility and the chance to delve deeper into their area of interest to become employable graduates upon completing their degree programmes.
A Master’s degree in the field of applied sport sciences allows working professionals to further their education and take their careers to new heights.
At the University of Limerick in Ireland, the Physical Education and Sports Sciences Department recognises this and has gained a strong reputation for its high employability ratios, great salary prospects and outstanding student experiences.
The I-Graduate International Student Barometer Report ranked the University of Limerick No.1 in Ireland and No.2 in Europe for outstanding graduate employability, as well as second for international student happiness.
Here’s what they’re doing to prepare students for life after graduation.
Practical learning experience to develop employable graduates
The Physical Education and Sports Sciences Department at the University of Limerick provides many opportunities for students to gain hands-on learning through practical experience.
Through the various MSc programmes, students develop skills needed to succeed in the workplace, such as critical thinking, collaborative thinking, innovation and adaptability.
For example, the innovative part-time MSc in Applied Sports Coaching, a two-year postgraduate programme, gives experienced coaches the chance to enhance their practice through engagement with pioneering research in the field of sports coaching, as well as with leading practitioners.
Upon graduation, students have gained extensive knowledge of the coaching process along with innovative applied practice in sports coaching and pioneering research in the field of sports coaching.
Plus, they develop a deeper understanding of the practical skills involved in applied coaching practice, management, leadership, planning, and the capacity to promote professional practice so they can become leaders in their field.
The MSc in Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology focusses on equipping students with the right blend of theory and research knowledge, as well as the application of psychological principles to sport, exercise and performance settings in order to enhance wellbeing and performance.
“Different speakers on this programme provided me with diverse perspectives about sports psychology, because of their different cultures and backgrounds. I not only learned the psychological experience about Ireland, Germany, UK, but also knew more about ethical dilemmas, which really broadened my horizons,” says Wen Yang, a graduate of the programme.
The course provides a learner-focused curriculum that enables students to think critically and acquire attributes that are valuable to their future success such as proactiveness, innovation, responsibility and articulation.
The MSc in Sports Performance is a full-time one-year or part-time two-year postgraduate programme that prepares successful graduates for a career in sports performance analysis, specialising in strength and conditioning, video analysis and nutrition.
“The MSc provided me with an excellent opportunity to upskill technically and learn more about the employment areas I intend to progress in. The hands-on nature of the course meant that I left with a robust understanding of core sports performance principles in video performance analysis, strength & conditioning and nutrition,” says Paudie McCarthy, MSc Sports Performance Graduate.
Students learn through theoretical, laboratory and applied aspects of the programme, supplemented by cutting-edge technologies in the field.
The course also includes professional Strength and Conditioning Accreditation, and students are encouraged to complete the NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist Award and the International Society for the Advancement of Kinanthropometry (ISAK) Accreditation, making them career-ready and employable graduates upon graduation.