Abilene Christian University (ACU) was unsure if there was a market for a new residential postgraduate degree in the health field. They needed to identify if they would get a return on their investment. So, it was critical to learn how large their audience was and how much it could grow over the next five to ten years. This also meant looking into the viability of employment for graduates, how much the industry was predicted to grow, and also the level of competition from other institutions.

The first port of call was to analyze the National Center for Education Statistics database, focusing on health field programs at the postgraduate/master’s level. Allowing trends and patterns of growth and size to be identified. Then it was time to consider the chance of employment for the students of these particular programmes. This was determined by looking to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics to identify industry change over time, followed by research on popular job websites to recognise current volumes of jobs in these fields. And then competitors were analysed, determining the volume of interest into similar courses on offer. The USPs laid out by these competitors pointed us towards any existing gaps in the market that we could help ACU fill.

Finally, political, economic, social and technological (PEST) factors around changes within the Higher Education sector and industry were considered. This ensured that the whole picture was considered and anything that could impact the delivery of the course was acknowledged.

And the results?

A comprehensive report identifying demand for certain courses, the size of the relevant audience and potential career opportunities. As well as insight into how the landscape is predicted to change over the next five to ten years. And a clear direction of the degrees most viable to implement and understanding of how the target audience will react to this move.