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Postgraduate Education. Report of an independent inquiry by the Higher Education Commission. English HEIs 2010-11. Arts Science All PGR 35,535 52,245 87,780 MPhil 8,185 7,209 15,475 PGT 198,775 107,690 360,575 Integ * 4,050 63,190 67,245

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Postgraduate education

Postgraduate Education

Report of an independent inquiry by the Higher Education Commission

English heis 2010 11
English HEIs 2010-11

Arts Science All

PGR 35,535 52,245 87,780

MPhil 8,185 7,209 15,475

PGT 198,775 107,690 360,575

Integ* 4,050 63,190 67,245

Prof.** 80,175 6,770 87,070

Dips/certs 52,250 27,680 81,850

*integrated masters (4th year UG)

**professional masters: MBA, PGCE, regulated PG

‘other’ omitted


  • HEFCE should collect data on fees, socio-economic make up of students, employment outcomes

  • UK Commission for Employment and Skills should work with HEFCE and RCUK on employer needs

  • Immigration regulations should be improved

  • Universities should investigate whether they have enough information on access/participation across areas and if they know enough about part time study

  • Industry, government and universities should increase investment in research and development

  • Funders should reflect on whether they fund enough studentships to replenish the research base in disciplines

  • Immediate task force to investigate a PG loans scheme

  • RCUK, HEFCE and Universities UK should have a working group to consider research quality and the PhD system

As graham spittle inquiry chair put it
As Graham Spittle (Inquiry chair) put it:

  • Post graduate needs to be part of a whole system approach

  • There is a need to improve access to PG study

  • International PGstudents trained here could be encouraged to stay here, even for short periods if the visa system was more sensible

  • Finance: how is PG to be funded ? Is there a ‘perfect storm’ ? (higher fees, no credit, debt, immigration issues)

  • The report should not be ‘shelf-ware’ but something should be done.

Political response
Political response

  • David Willetts:

    • There has been less attention to PG  and more to UG

    • There is a wide range of PG qualifications so its complex

    • Access is an issue

    • The worries about the HE reforms in the report may be overdone – the UG changes are about a flow of payment not debt and not automatically bad for PG

    • On funding: be very careful about the treasury.  If you create a treasury interest then there will be no open ended system for PG.  Who, how many, how resourced, will all become issues for treasury scrutiny.

  • ShabanaMahmood, Labour

    • PG needs to be tackled

    • Visas are a problem and need to be sorted out

    • Widening participation is a problem in PG which should be addressed