High Status Professions, Their Related Degrees and the Social Construction of ‘Quality’

  • Erica Southgate
  • Susan Grimes
  • Jarrad Cox
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Excellence and Equity in Global Education book series (EXE)


The massification of higher education has seen an increase in students who have been traditionally underrepresented in universities. However, these non-traditional students remain underrepresented in elite universities and in high status degrees. This chapter critically engages with the idea of ‘quality’ as it relates to elite professions and their related university degrees. Specifically, it offers observations on assumptions about ‘quality’ that underpin input models of university admission systems to high status degrees and the social construction of talent and quality within the professions themselves. The chapter also presents original research on first-in-family medical students and how they understand and experience ideas about ‘quality’. The chapter argues that there is much critical work to be done to de-naturalise notions of ‘quality’ in relation to such elite contexts.


Higher education Equity Medical education High status degrees 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationUniversity of NewcastleCallaghanAustralia

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