Chinese Students' Expectations of Postgraduate Study Experience at UK Universities in the Context of Higher Education Marketisation

Dai, Sicheng (2022) Chinese Students' Expectations of Postgraduate Study Experience at UK Universities in the Context of Higher Education Marketisation. [Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)]

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The purpose of higher education as it relates to marketisation has gradually shifted towards providing students with satisfactory services and improving their experience at and meeting their expectations of higher education. A clear sign of this trend can be seen in the shift from students being learners to students being consumers, which is increasingly evident in UK higher education. Against this background, some scholars argue that the essence of higher education has to some extent been undermined. Furthermore, the excellent quality of research and education at UK universities attracts an increasing number of Chinese students to undertake their postgraduate studies in the UK. Consequently, Chinese students have become a significant proportion of UK higher education. Hence, this research aims to explore the expectations of Chinese postgraduate students’ expectations of their higher education experience while studying at UK universities in the context of the marketisation of higher education.

This research adopted the phenomenological method and conducted semi-structured interviews with seven Chinese students who are currently pursuing postgraduate studies at UK universities. This was done to investigate these Chinese students’ expectations of the UK higher education experience, the sources informing these expectations, and certain subsequent response behaviours arising from the inconsistency between the reality of their experience and what they expected. The study ultimately found that Chinese postgraduate students studying at UK universities are generally characterised by the co-existence of a consumer and learner mindset. They have both realistic and unrealistic expectations about their future experience which expectations originate from the students’ previous interactions with the university and their decision-making factors. In response, students engage in self-regulatory and initiating actions when they are dissatisfied with the real experience. Finally, based on these findings, a comprehensive framework was developed commencing with the source of expectations and concluding with the subsequent responding behaviours. This, in turn, further extended the existing conceptual framework of consumer experience in the context of this study. This study therefore has implications for a comprehensive understanding of Chinese postgraduate students’ expectations of the UK higher education experience.

Keywords: Chinese postgraduate student; Higher education marketisation; Consumer experience; Student-consumer; Expectation; Phenomenology

Item Type: Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)
Depositing User: Dai, Sicheng
Date Deposited: 25 Apr 2023 13:43
Last Modified: 25 Apr 2023 13:43

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