The homogenisation of prospectuses over the period of massification in the UK

Knight, Elizabeth Bronwen (2022) The homogenisation of prospectuses over the period of massification in the UK. Journal of Marketing for Higher Education, 32 (1). pp. 19-36.

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Through historically oriented critical discourse analysis this article considers how the messages regarding the purpose of higher education, as presented in prospectuses of four case study institutions, have been impacted by massification and marketisation in England between 1977 and 2018. The prospectuses of four higher education institutions of different status were analysed to trace how discourses relating to the value of an undergraduate degree could be identified in the prospectuses.

The findings suggest that while the prospectuses presented multiple rationales as to why students should undertake degrees, there was a significant increase in focus on graduate transitions to employment and a parallel hollowing-out of information relating to course content.

The study found that over the period the vocabularies drawn on to present the value of a degree have become homogenised, yet the rationales given for undertaking tertiary study became more numerous and complex, making diversity of institutional offers difficult for prospective students to differentiate.

Item ID: 77491
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1540-7144
Keywords: England, massification, student choice, value of higher education
Copyright Information: © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2023 07:08
FoR Codes: 39 EDUCATION > 3903 Education systems > 390303 Higher education @ 100%
SEO Codes: 16 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 1601 Learner and learning > 160102 Higher education @ 100%
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