Postgraduate numbers double in 10 years

Australians are enthusiastically taking up higher education, with the number of people holding postgraduate degrees more than doubling since 2001.

And the latest census data, released today, also shows that more than 2.3 million people held a Bachelor degree last year, up from 1.4 million in 2001.

The census executive director, Andrew Henderson, said that between 2006 and 2011, the number of people who completed a postgraduate degree rose from 413,093 to 631,121, an increase of 52.8 per cent.

The number of people who held a bachelor degree rose by 27.2 per cent, from 1.8 million to 2.3 million.

Management and commerce (18 per cent) and engineering and related technologies (15.6 per cent) were the two most commonly reported fields of study.

“These fields were also reported as the most common fields of study in 2006," Mr Henderson said.

A greater percentage of people were studying management and commerce but engineering had become less popular.

Engineering and related technologies was by far the most popular field of study for men, with 1.4 million taking up study in the field in 2011. Management and commerce (700,806 enrolments), and architecture and building (505,352 enrolments) were the next most popular.

For women, management and commerce was the most popular choice of study, with 1.04 million enrolments, followed by health (677,693), society and culture (671,036) and education (537,607).

At last year's census, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics figures issued this morning, 151,682 Melburnians had studied or were studying at the postgraduate level, compared with 57,821 in 2001.

The number of Melburnians with undergraduate degrees was also up, from 326,069 in 2001 to 536,796 last year.

Sydneysiders are similarly enthusiastic in their take-up of further education, with 197,409 people holding or studying for postgraduate qualifications, compared with 89,808 in 2001.

Last year, 597,949 people in Sydney had or were studying for an undergraduate degree, up from 387,736 in 2001.

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