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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 The information on this website is historical and is no longer maintained.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.


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The report 'PhD study: trends and profiles, 1996-97 to 2004-05' (HEFCE 2009/04) shows that the number of UK student starters increased marginally over the period, whereas there was around a 50 per cent increase in the number of starters from outside the UK.

According to the report published by HEFCE, the number of women on full-time PhD programmes grew by 42 per cent. In 2004-05 there were 7,400 female starters compared to 9,500 male starters. There was also a significant growth of 70 per cent in the number of starters with a masters qualification obtained in the year before starting the programme.

The number of part-time starters from the UK decreased by 14 per cent between 1996-97 and 2004-05. Conversely the number of part-time starters from the EU (excluding UK) grew by 48 per cent, while the non-EU numbers grew by 23 per cent.