February 2014In the following report, Hanover Research identifies regional trends in master’s degreeprograms designed for working adults, as well as the regional demand for professionalswith master’s degrees.
Executive Summary and Key Findings . 3Introduction .3Key Findings .3Section I: Professional Master’s Degree Programs . 5An Overview.5Working Adults and Graduate Study .5Priorities and Needs of Adult Students .6Competency Based Education .7Section II: Regional Trends in Programs . 9Methodology .9Program Trends .9Programs by Institution .10Indiana University of Pennsylvania .10Carlow University.12Point Park University .13Duquesne University.15Seton Hill University .19Robert Morris University .20Mercyhurst University .22Malone University.23Notre Dame College.24Medaille College .24Section III: Labor Market Conditions . 26Methodology .26Occupational Employment Projections .27
INTRODUCTIONA 2011 article in the New York Times titled “The Master’s as the New Bachelor’s” addressesthe growing inclination among employers for candidates with master’s degrees, and whilethe headline may overstate the trend, advanced degrees are becomingly increasinglyimportant in the job market.1 Simultaneously, a demographic shift in graduate study meansa greater percentage of graduate students are now older, with professional and familycommitments.2 There is a rising trend among some institutions to accommodate thesestudents in graduate programs through scheduling, online offerings, and tailored supportservices.3 This report identifies regional trends in master’s degree programs designed forworking adults, as well as the regional demand for professionals with master’s degrees. Bylooking at area programs and economic needs, this report seeks to assist the university withunderstanding the local market for various master’s degree programs.The report is structured as follows: Section I presents an overview of the topic and draws on information regardingrecent trends in graduate study among working adults, Section II profiles 101 programs at 10 regional institutions within 125 miles ofClarion, Pennsylvania, and Section III examines occupational outlook projections for the region, identifyinghigh-growth occupations requiring a master’s degree.A companion Excel file provides comprehensive employment projections for the region byeducation level, as well as a table with each program identified in this report and everyinstitution meeting the criteria established in Section II.KEY FINDINGS 1Working adults with professional and family obligations constitute an importantand rising demographic for master’s degree programs, and institutions across thecountry are responding to their needs. While traditional students may have entereda graduate program within three years after graduating from a baccalaureateprogram, master’s programs are increasingly attracting older students seeking tofurther refine their skills. Some institutions are responding by offering specialPappano, L. “The Master’s as the New Bachelor’s.” The New York Times, dlife/edl-24masters-t.html?pagewanted all& r 02“The Path Forward.” ETS and Council of Graduate Schools, 2010. pp. 11-12.http://www.fgereport.org/rsc/pdf/CFGE report.pdf3Gearon, C. J. “Tips for Fitting Grad School into Your Life: Things to Look for if Your College Days Are Long BehindYou.” U.S. News and World Report, 2008. 6/tips-forfitting-grad-school-into-your-life
support services, while most institutions are targeting this group with onlinecoursework or classes scheduled during weeknights or weekends. There are some fields with high growth and few programs, such as social work andspecialized counseling fields. However, most master’s degree programs available toworking adults in the region surrounding Clarion are in fields with a high demand.These areas include teaching, education administration, and nursing. Master’s programs for working adults are common in the region surroundingClarion. Among the 10 regional institutions profiled in this report, there are morethan 100 master’s degree programs that offer some component ideal for workingadults. The number of programs at each institution identified in this report rangesfrom two to 25. Among regional institutions, competency-based master’s degree programs areuncommon, even for working adults. No program identified in this report is acompetency-based program, although programs emphasize that they build on workexperience. Some programs allow for self-pacing, but students must still take everycourse. Among occupations requiring a master’s degree, the most openings near Clarionare primarily in health and education. Health and education occupations rangefrom specialized counselors and teachers to managers and administrators. Inaddition, there is a demand for candidates with master’s degrees in finance andaccounting, computer science, engineering, and market research.
This section defines the programs that are the subject of this market analysis and highlightsadditional information regarding trends in master’s degree programs for working adults.AN OVERVIEWFor the purposes of this report, we define professional master’s degree programs asmaster’s degree programs for working adults intended to serve as professionaldevelopment. Working adults are typically unable to attend traditional programs due to jobresponsibilities, and they enroll in graduate study after accruing some quantity ofprofessional experience.WORKING ADULTS AND GRADUATE STUDYIn an article written in 2008 for U.S. News and World Report, a journalist describes thechanging demographics of graduate students in the United States.4 At the time, nearly onehalf of all graduate students enrolled between the ages of 24 and 35, with an additionalone-quarter of graduate students beginning an advanced degree program at the age of 36or older. These statistics draw on data from the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS), whichalso published a report in coordination with the Educational Testing Service (ETS) in 2010that highlights the demographic shift among graduate students. According to the report,“‘traditional’ [graduate] students typically apply to graduate schools within a few years ofexiting an undergraduate program[, and] most enter before their 30th birthday, are single,and have a moderate level of income.”5 However, a “growing number of ‘nontraditional’students are older, engage in work, family, and school activities at the same time, andview graduate education as a means of changing or improving their employability.”6 Theseagencies have noticed a sharp increase in students aged 40 or older. Given that suchresponsibilities as marriage have been identified in studies as correlated with lowercompletion rates, it is important to understand how programs might cater to thesestudents.According to the 2008 article cited above, some universities are putting accommodations inplace. While few institutions have addressed the demographic shifts, the article highlightsspecific universities that offer career and academic support services specifically for adultlearners, as well as child care in some instances. In addition to offering required coursesduring the evening, administrators think that institutions are increasingly developing familyfriendly models of education.7 Campus Explorer reiterates the notion that there are family4Gearon, Op. cit.“The Path Forward,” Op. cit., p.11.6Ibid., pp. 11-12.7Gearon, Op. cit.5
friendly institutions and programs that offer support to graduate students with professionaland family obligations. Campus Explorer is a site designed to help applicants find postsecondary programs and institutions, and it examines the important factors for adults withfamily obligations. For supporting graduate students with families, the site notes that someinstitutions will provide paid maternity leave, childcare support, mortgage assistance, healthinsurance, family friendly campus housing, a family resource center, or a combination ofthese.8 Similarly, those with professional obligations need flexibility, which may comethrough online coursework or scheduling.9The ETS and CGS joint study also identifies an increase in individuals returning to graduateschool after spending time in the workforce. Their data, as well as studies they cite, suggestthat skill improvement is a major consideration for individuals returning for an advanceddegree.10 Unfortunately, there has been insufficient scholarship in this area to draw firmconclusions with respect to graduate school and working adults. However, this report seeksto solidify an understanding of program trends in the region surrounding Clarion,Pennsylvania, in the next section.PRIORITIES AND NEEDS OF ADULT STUDENTSThe Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) and Noel-Levitz conduct an annualAdult Learner Inventory to evaluate the needs and priorities of adult students. While thestudy appears to focus more generally on undergraduate study, much can be gleaned aboutthe motives and interests of adult students in pursuing higher education. At four-yearinstitutions, adult learners provided the following list of priorities, as listed from mostimportant to least important:1. Outreach: The way an institution conducts its outreach to adult learners byovercoming barriers of time, place, and tradition.2. Life and Career Planning: How the institution addresses adult learners’ life andcareer goals before or at the onset of enrollment in order to assess and align itscapacities to help learners reach their goals.3. Financing: The way an institution promotes choice using an array of paymentoptions in order to expand equity and financial flexibility.4. Teaching-Learning Process: How the institution’s faculty use multiple methods ofinstruction (including experiential and problem-based methods) for adult learners inorder to connect curricular concepts to useful knowledge and skills.5. Technology: The use of information technology to provide relevant and timelyinformation to enhance the learning experience.6. Transitions: How the institution supports guided pathways leading into and from itsprograms and services in order to assure that students’ learning will apply tosuccessful achievement of their educational and career goals.8“Are There Family Friendly Graduate Schools? Find Out Which Schools Are Most Accommodating to GraduateStudents with Children.” Campus Explorer. /9“How to Juggle Graduate School, a Career and a Family: Find Out How to Plan Your Graduate Studies around YourBusy Schedule.” Campus Explorer. -a-Family/10“The Path Forward,” Op. cit., p. 12.
7. Student Support Systems8. Assessment of Learning Outcomes11The Adult Learner Inventory also examines the factors that most influence adult learners’enrollment decisions. Figure 1.1 below outlines these enrollment factors with their rank ofimportance, demonstrating the high priority of flexible and convenient class times andprogram cost. Again, however, it should be noted that these data were not gatheredexclusively from adult students pursuing master’s degree programs.RANK123 (tie)3 (tie)5678910Figure 1.1: Adult Learner Inventory Enrollment FactorsFACTORRANKFACTORAvailability of program I wanted11High rate of job placementConvenient time and place forCredit for learning gained from life12classesand work experiencesFlexible pacing for completing aProgram accreditation by13programprofessional organizationTime required to complete14Distance from campusprogramTuition reimbursement fromAvailability of financial aid15employerRequirement for current or future16Ability to design my own programjobCost17Employer endorsementAbility to transfer credits18Courses held at employment siteReputation of institution19Labor union supportAvailability of online courses20Availability of child careSource: Noel-Levitz12COMPETENCY BASED EDUCATIONAs noted in Section II, no institutions examined in the western Pennsylvania region appearto offer competency-based education options or Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) forstudents to earn course credit for past work or life experiences. However, this topic hasbecome the focal point of many national conversations in postsecondary education, asinstitutions evaluate how to offer such a system.At the “Assessing Outcomes and Competencies” summit hosted by CAEL and the Center forEducational Measurement at Excelsior College, John Cavanaugh, the Chancellor of thePennsylvania State System of Higher Education, offered the following points as a strategyfor improving competency based education options for adult learners: 11Define postsecondary credentials in terms of specific learning outcomes orcompetencies that are assessed.Bulleted points taken mostly verbatim from: “National Adult Learners Satisfaction-Priorities Report.” Noel-Levitzand CAEL. 2013. Pp. 5-6. http://www.cael.org/pdfs/ALI report 071312Ibid., p. 10.
Meet students “at the edge of their learning.” This includes rethinking collegereadiness and remediation, and expanding learning assessment to all areas of study.Design personalized learning pathways to credentials. This will require conductinglearning gap analyses to show students where they are on the pathway.13These personalized learning pathways will require institutions to evaluate how the degreeprograms can be shaped around competency frameworks. For example, University ofMaryland University College offers two professional degree programs based on an“outcomes-based curriculum.” This structure allows students and their advisors to map eachcourse’s outcomes and align them to the broader desired outcomes of the degree program.Such systems require strong advising to help students identify where they may receivecredit for prior learning, and how to effectively map career goals through the curriculum. 14Strong assessments of prior learning are also required to maintain an effective competencybased education system. These assessments should be rigorous and valid, and should bedeveloped to directly align with the program or degree frameworks. While such frameworksare still in development, the previously noted conference referenced the LuminaFoundation’s Degree Qualifications Profile as the basis for such an assessment.1513Bulleted points taken verbatim from: “Competency-Based Education.” CAEL. 2013, p. 7.http://www.cael.org/pdfs/CAEL competency based education 201314Ibid., p. 9.15Ibid., p. 12.
This section identifies trends in master’s degree programs catering to working adults amonginstitutions in the region around Clarion, Pennsylvania. A companion Excel file lists each ofthe identified programs by institution and also provides a table of all institutions within 250miles of Clarion, Pennsylvania, that fit the criteria for selection.METHODOLOGYTo examine trends in programs among institutions in the region, we found four-yearinstitutions within 250 miles of Clarion, Pennsylvania. Using the National Center forEducation Statistics’ (NCES) College Navigator tool, we created a list of relevant institutionsby screening for the following criteria:Four-year institutions located within 250 miles of Clarion, Pennsylvania, and locatedin Ohio, New York, or Pennsylvania, that award degrees beyond the baccalaureatelevel and offer weekend and evening learning opportunities, as well as credit for lifeexperiences.16For the purposes of this section, we profile the closest seven institutions, which are thosewithin 75 miles of Clarion, Pennsylvania. In addition, we include two institutions from Ohioand one institution from New York, accounting for 12 of the 101 programs identified for thisreport. These three institutions all lie between 100 and 125 miles from Clarion.NCES does not clarify how an institution qualifies as offering weekend and evening learningopportunities or credit for life experiences. However, for this report, we present programsthat specifically target or offer accommodations for working adults. The primary forms ofaccommodation include offering courses on evenings, weekends, or both, and deliveringcourses online.PROGRAM TRENDSIn the region surrounding Clarion, Pennsylvania, there are several programs catering toadults seeking a master’s degree. Education, health care, and management represent themost common areas of study. It is worth noting that, as Section III discusses, the mostcommon master’s degree programs for working adults are typically in the fields with thegreatest number of projected openings in coming years. To attract working adults, theprimary accommodation is typically offering classes during weeknights or weekends.Many programs offer classes on Saturdays or on one or two weeknights. In addition, manyprograms are available partially or entirely online. No master’s degree program identified in16The specific search can be accessed and replicated by using the following link:http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s NY OH PA&zc 16214&zd 250&of 3&l 94&ic 1&e2 1&e3 1
this report is competency-based, but work experience is generally seen as an importantfoundation for coursework.The variety of fields of study among these programs is high. Among the 10 institutionsprofiled for this report, there are 32 programs in education fields, ranging from advancedteacher education to educational administration. In addition, there are nine businessadministration programs and an additional eight management programs. The managementprograms most commonly address information technology, engineering, health, andinternational management. There are also eight programs offering advanced training fornurses, particularly to provide nurses with the education to take leadership roles in healthorganizations. In addition, there are six communication programs, ranging from technologyto communication strategies, and five organizational leadership programs. Threeinstitutions each have counseling and justice programs available.One of the unique programs is clinical mental health counseling, which prepares studentsfor a field with many openings in the area. Others include applied mathematics, intelligence,security policy studies, and orthodontics. Examination of institutions not listed in thissection did not yield any other notable programs.PROGRAMS BY INSTITUTIONThe following sub-sections present master’s degree programs for working adults byinstitution. For reference, according to the NCES, Clarion University of Pennsylvania has5,518 undergraduate students and 1,002 graduate students.17INDIANA UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIALocated in Indiana, Pennsylvania, Indiana University of Pennsylvania is a four-year publicinstitution.18 The institution is less than 50 miles from Clarion, Pennsylvania, and it is theonly public institution profiled in this report. Figure 2.1 presents institutional characteristicsfor the university.Figure 2.1: Institutional Characteristics, Indiana University of PennsylvaniaINDIANA UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIADistance from Clarion, PA42.9 milesType of InstitutionFour-year, publicUndergraduate Student Population13,275Graduate Student Population2,321Source: NCES College Navigator1719“Clarion University of Pennsylvania.” NCES College Navigator.http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?q clarion&s all&id 21164418Custom search. NCES College ult.aspx?s NY OH PA&zc 16214&zd 250&of 3&l 94&ic 1&e2 1&e3 1&xp 119Ibid.
The university offers a wide variety of graduate programs, including four master’s degreeprograms taught entirely online. 20 Thirteen programs explicitly accommodate nontraditional or working adult students, while another five programs target workingprofessionals but do not list specific accommodations. The primary accommodation isoffering classes during evenings and weekends, as well as during the summer for teachers.Among the programs offered, Education is the most common field of study, but there areseveral less-common programs, such as the online Safety Sciences program and themaster’s degree program in Sociology for working professionals taught during weeknights.Figure 2.2: Programs Catering to Adult Students at Indiana University of PennsylvaniaDEGREEMaster of ArtsMaster of ArtsPROGRAMACCOMMODATIONS FOR ADULT STUDENTSAdult and Community Education21Adult Education and CommunicationsTechnology (Technology track of the Adult22and Community Education Program)The program offers evening classesNo accommodations identified, but the program targetsa mix of students with and without post-baccalaureateexperience in the field.23Master of ArtsApplied ArchaeologyMaster of ScienceApplied MathematicsMaster of ArtsCriminology, Online ProgramMaster of EducationEducationMaster of EducationEducation of Exceptional PersonsMaster of EducationElementary and Middle School28Mathematics Education20Online program taught by full-time professorsMost classes are offered at times convenient fornontraditional students24Online program with a two year schedule, study whileemployed25This program allows teachers to study while teaching, inthe evenings and summer sessions. The program is alsotaught in Monroeville, rather than at the main campus.2627Study while teaching, primarily online or in the eveningStudy while teaching, in the evenings and summersessions“Programs of Study.” Indiana University of Pennsylvania. http://www.iup.edu/upper.aspx?id 49407“Adult and Community Education, M.A.” Indiana University of spx22“Adult Education and Communications Technology, M.A.” Indiana University of Pennsylvania.http://www.iup.edu/upper.aspx?id 9373823“Applied Archaeology, M.A.” Indiana University of Pennsylvania. http://www.iup.edu/upper.aspx?id 9372424“Applied Mathematics, More Information.” Indiana University of Pennsylvania.http://www.iup.edu/upper.aspx?id 10595925“M.A. in Criminology: Online.” Indiana University of ne/default.aspx26“Master’s in Education, Monroeville.” Indiana University of Pennsylvania. http://www.iup.edu/page.aspx?id 537327“M.Ed. in Education of Exceptional Persons.” Indiana University of Pennsylvania.http://www.iup.edu/page.aspx?id 4329328“M.Ed. in Elementary and Middle School Mathematics Education.” Indiana University of Pennsylvania.http://www.iup.edu/page.aspx?id 1755121
DEGREEPROGRAMACCOMMODATIONS FOR ADULT STUDENTSEnglish: LiteratureMaster of ArtsTeaching EnglishMaster of ScienceFood and NutritionMaster of EducationHealth and Physical EducationMaster of EducationSummers-only option designed for teachers, designedfor active professionals29Master of Arts30The program is designed for English teachersOnline program designed for current and futureprofessionals3132Literacy (Reading Specialist Certification33available)Master of ArtsMusic EducationMaster of ScienceNursingMaster of ArtsPublic AffairsMaster of ScienceSafety SciencesMaster of ArtsSociology34Designed for current, certified teachersDesigned for current music teachers, low-residencyprogram with classes online during the school year andon-campus during the summerPartially online, designed for registered nurses toassume leadership roles or prepare for a career ineducation3538Designed for current and future teachers3637Designed for current and future professionals andteachersOnline program, work experience preferredPrimarily evening classes, part-time or full-time,designed for working professionals and othersSources identified in the table.CARLOW UNIVERSITYLocated in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Carlow University is a four-year, private not-for-profitinstitution.39 Figure 2.3 presents institutional characteristics for the university.29“M.A. in English: Literature.” Indiana University of Pennsylvania. http://www.iup.edu/page.aspx?id 40967“English - Teaching English, M.A.” Indiana University of Pennsylvania. http://www.iup.edu/upper.aspx?id 9269531“M.S. in Food and Nutrition.” Indiana University of Pennsylvania. http://www.iup.edu/page.aspx?id 2557332“M.Ed. in Health and Physical Education.” Indiana University of Pennsylvania.http://www.iup.edu/page.aspx?id 1225533“Master of Education in Literacy and Reading Specialist Certification.” Indiana University of Pennsylvania.http://www.iup.edu/page.aspx?id 537534“Music M.A. Education Curriculum.” Indiana University of Pennsylvania. http://www.iup.edu/page.aspx?id 15812735“M.S. in Nursing.” Indiana University of Pennsylvania. ms/default.aspx36“M.A. in Public Affairs.” Indiana University of ublicaffairs/default.aspx37“M.S. in Safety Sciences.” Indiana University of Pennsylvania. http://www.iup.edu/page.aspx?id 659338“Sociology MA.” Indiana University of Pennsylvania. http://www.iup.edu/page.aspx?id 6126139Custom search. NCES College Navigator, Op. cit.30
Figure 2.3: Institutional Characteristics, Carlow UniversityCARLOW UNIVERSITYDistance from Clarion, PAType of InstitutionUndergraduate Student PopulationGraduate Student PopulationSource: NCES College Navigator61.0 milesFour-year, private not-for-profit1,95596740Carlow University offers five master’s degree programs for working adults, primarily innursing. Each one of these five programs allows students to take either all or some of theircourses online, with limited in-person requirements for students pursuing a degree increative writing or to be a family nurse practitioner.Figure 2.4: Programs Catering to Adult Students at Carlow UniversityDEGREEPROGRAMACCOMMODATIONS FOR ADULT STUDENTSMaster of Business AdministrationBusiness41AdministrationOptions for working professionals, including fully orpartially onlineMaster of Science in NursingFamily Nurse42PractitionerCombination of online and in-class, for nurses withclinical experienceMaster of Science in NursingEducation and43Leadership, NursingThe program can be completed entirely or partiallyonline and prepares current nurses for leadership rolesMaster of Fine ArtsMaster of Science in Nursing andMaster of Business AdministrationCreative Writing44Education and45Leadership, NursingConducted at a distance with two 11-day residenciesand communication via mail and emailThe program can be completed entirely or partiallyonlineSources identified in the table.POINT PARK UNIVERSITYPoint Park University is also a four-year, private not-for-profit institution located inPittsburgh, Pennsylvania.46 Figure 2.5 presents institutional characteristics for the university.40Ibid.“Business Administration (MBA).” Carlow University. http://www.carlow.edu/Business Administration.aspx42“Family Nurse Practitioner (MSN).” Carlow University.http://www.carlow.edu/Master of Science in Nursing Family Nurse Practitioner.aspx43“Education and Leadership, Nursing (MSN).” Carlow University.http://www.carlow.edu/Master of Science in Nursing Concentration in Education and Leadership.aspx44“Creative Writing (MFA).” Carlow University.http://www.carlow.edu/Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.aspx45“MSN-MBA Dual Degree.” Carlow University. http://www.carlow.edu/MSN-MBA Dual Degree.aspx46Custom search. NCES College Navigator, Op. cit.41
Figure 2.5: Institutional Characteristics, Point Park UniversityPOINT PARK UNIVERSITYDistance from Clarion, PAType of InstitutionUndergraduate Student
Masters programs for working adults are common in the region surrounding Clarion. Among the 10 regional institutions profiled in this report, there are more than 100 masters degree programs that offer some component ideal for working adults. The number of programs at each ins