Students on the move - interregional migration aspirations of higher education institution graduate candidates in Central China

Zhang, Jingjie (2023) Students on the move - interregional migration aspirations of higher education institution graduate candidates in Central China. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Full text available as:
[thumbnail of 2023ZhangJPhD.pdf] PDF
Download (3MB)


China is an important and interesting case to examine for interregional migration research. The interregional migration of higher education institution graduates is high on the policy agenda because of concerns about brain drain from Central China to the Eastern coastal regions. For several decades specific policies have been enacted to retain graduates in the inland regions. Whilst the academic literature on migration is predominantly based on Western theoretical approaches, premised on a market-oriented context, Chinese higher education is still closely regulated by ‘state-prescribed admission policies, quota and assignment systems’ after China’s 1978 reform and opening up campaign. For this reason, the characteristics of graduate migration within China are likely to diverge from patterns observed in previous research based in Western countries. A priori, therefore, it is unclear how well the established theoretical canon fits the case of China.

This mixed methods research has been designed and applied to understand the direction and drivers of the migration intentions/aspirations of prospective graduates in Central China. By combining a substantial survey (n=975) of final year undergraduates with structured interviews, this research has found that a chronological perspective on investigating potential migrants’ decision-making process is important in the migration research field. Life experiences play an important role in the value shaping process of graduates, which forms the inner reasons for how students value different factors in the migration decision-making process. Also, the influence of latent factors (in this research, cultural and social aspects) has constrained or reinforced graduates’ migration aspirations. Some elements of the special Chinese context, such as the education system and economic geography, were also found to be important for Chinese graduates in multiple aspects. This research offers a new perspective on interregional migration research and reveals gaps that further investigation could help to fill.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
L Education > LC Special aspects of education
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Supervisor's Name: Hermannsson, Professor Kristinn and Doyle, Dr. Lesley
Date of Award: 2023
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2023-83833
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 09 Oct 2023 06:35
Last Modified: 09 Oct 2023 06:37
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.83833

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year