You need cookies enabled

HEFCE closed at the end of March 2018. The information on this website is historical and is no longer maintained.

Many of HEFCE's functions will be continued by the Office for Students, the new regulator of higher education in England, and Research England, the new council within UK Research and Innovation.

The HEFCE domain - - will continue to function until September 2018. At this point we will close the site entirely and all its information will only be available from the National Web Archive.


You need cookies enabled

Research programmes

The growth in the number of UK and other European Union (EU) entrants to full-time postgraduate research courses levelled off in 2016-17, while there was a small fall in the number of part-time entrants.

Key facts

15,400 UK and EU students starting PG research

50 per cent increase in PG research entrants since 2006-07

An estimated 15,400 UK and other EU students started full-time postgraduate research courses in 2016-17. This is broadly the same number as in the previous year and follows a three-year period of growth of between 4 and 5 per cent per annum.

Overall, there has been an almost 50 per cent increase in entrants to full-time research courses since 2006-07. This growth has been principally driven by increases in the number of students who are funded by the institution or who have had their tuition fees waived. The number of these students almost doubled in the decade to 2015-16.

The number of UK and other EU students starting part-time postgraduate research courses fell by 4.5 per cent in 2016-17 (200 entrants) compared with 2015-16. However, the number of part-time research entrants has remained relatively consistent for the past decade at about 4,000 per annum. 

Page last updated 2 March 2017