As the possibility of unemployment looms for many, more than 500,000 each year choose to pursue further study in the form of a postgraduate taught programme such as a master's. The motivation behind this decision is often related to belief that a higher-level qualification will result in a better job. But does the CV addition of an MA, MBA or MSc actually improve employment prospects?

The baroness sparks a battle in academia

A new Labour peer takes her seat in the House of Lords today - but given her position as the representative of Britain's universities, she is coming under fire. By Lucy Hodges

Details competition: No 441

Details 439 came from Rubens' Druken Silenus (c1618). The great mythological fatman, looking grim, trips and stumbles and runs a kind of gauntlet through a crowd of goading followers. It's hard to get the tone. Jolly? Pathetic? Derisive? Celebratory? But then, this is a picture of a drunk. It stages strongly ambivalent feelings about helpless drunkenness - that it's a sad/ludicrous degradation, and also a kind of heroic altered state. Silenus, this massively powerful figure, is like a holy victim, and his commanding presence in the scene is enforced by his being completely out of control, and about to fall over. The picture is in the Alte Pinakothek, Munich.

Colleges chief is urged to resign

THE LEADER of the body representing British universities is facing calls for her resignation for accepting the Labour whip in the House of Lords.

Academics urge leader to resign over Labour whip

DIANA WARWICK, the leader of the body representing British universities, is facing calls for her resignation for accepting the Labour whip in the House of Lords.

Letters: Asbestos claim

Asbestos claim

Racing: Punters' Guide - Alegria looks so useful for Eustace

Simon Holt of Channel 4 Racing analyses today's William Hill Trophy at York

Black pupils face college entry bias reject blacks more than

ACADEMICS AND students called for widespread reform of university admissions procedures yesterday after new figures showed black students were less likely to win places than their white counterparts.

Obituary: Professor James Bulpitt

MOST POLITICAL scientists are specialists, studying pressure groups, the Cabinet, Civil Service or voting behaviour and so forth. James Bulpitt studied what he called macro politics. The central issue for him was how groups of politicians have confronted the problems of governing Britain in the course of the 20th century. This involved wide reading, particularly history, and taking time for hard thinking. Tony Blair's staff frequently say that he is a "big picture" man. So was Jim Bulpitt.

music: steve earle

It's been 13 years since a then fresh-faced and slim Steve Earle cut his epic debut album Guitar Town. The years in between have had their ups and downs - the excellent Copperhead Road album alongside a jail term and drug addiction - and it was only last year that he returned to form with El Corazon. He also recently collaborated with Seattle punksters the Supersuckers and his last project was The Mountain, a bluegrass album recorded with the Del McCoury Band, esteemed veterans of that genre. These shows find them playing together with a solo acoustic intermission from Earle during which he'll perform "Guitar Town" and other favourites. Royal Festival Hall, London SE1 (0171-960 4242) Thur; Warwick Arts Centre (01203 424524) Fri

Education: So, is the cheque in the postgrad?

The number of students queuing up to do Masters degrees has reached unprecedented levels. But is this really a passport to a top job?

Hello. I'm your worst nightmare

The head louse is back - and he's after your children. By Susan Bassnett

LETTER: Juries and race


Education: Your views - Time for just rewards

It is time the extra funding given to Oxbridge colleges to fund their tutorial system was scrapped. There are, I believe, two persuasive reasons for this. Firstly, both Oxford and Cambridge could easily afford to fund this system by redistributing wealth between the extremely wealthy and the less well-endowed colleges. Secondly, given the fact that Oxford is being severely tested in almost every university league table published, by both Imperial College and LSE (as well as Warwick, for example), why do these universities not qualify for extra funding to reward their academic excellence?

Education Letter: One rule for Oxbridge..

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