Over the past decade, Australian universities have experienced a dramatic expansion in PhD enrolments and in the proportion of female PhD candidates. This article assesses how well two major research-intensive universities have coped with these changes, looking particularly at student course experience. Of particular concern are relatively low satisfaction ratings given by PhD students to their overall course experience, which appeared to stem largely from dissatisfaction with supervision. Females were decidedly more dissatisfied than males with both course experience and supervision. In turn, dissatisfaction with supervision by both male and female students appears to have stemmed from various factors, but particularly important were lack of easy access by students to supervisors because of high workloads, and weaknesses in supervision practice. Many younger PhD students had distinctively negative attitudes towards universities and academic careers at a time of declining government funding per student unit.
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