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The report, ‘Postgraduate Education: An Independent Inquiry by the Higher Education Commission’, makes an interesting and useful contribution to the postgraduate debate. HEFCE provided evidence to the inquiry and has informed the Higher Education Commission about our enhanced work in this area.

HEFCE has supported the development of a diverse and successful postgraduate sector, including through additional funding of more than £200 million for taught and research programmes between 2012-13 and 2014-15.

As the report highlights, we are undertaking research on postgraduate activity. This is intended to inform discussions with Government, the higher education sector and other stakeholders on the approach to postgraduate funding from 2015-16, the first year in which higher fee-paying students may enter postgraduate study.

The research HEFCE is undertaking includes work on:

  • establishing the costs of and fees charged for of postgraduate study
  • investigating the information needs of current and potential postgraduate students
  • improving understanding of demand for postgraduate study from final year undergraduates before and after the undergraduate reforms, through a survey linked to the National Student Survey
  • identifying issues around widening participation and access for postgraduate students, including transition rates from undergraduate to postgraduate study for different socioeconomic groups
  • working with Research Councils UK and Universities UK on the outcomes of postgraduate study, such as employability and workplace impact, and on issues of research quality such as those identified in the report.

Further details of HEFCE’s work on postgraduate study.

Notes

  1. We are providing an additional £40 million per year for taught postgraduate programmes and £35 million per year for postgraduate research.
  2. The HEFCE teaching funding consultation outcomes (HEFCE 2012/19) is available.
  3. Details of funding for teaching in 2013-14 are available in HEFCE 2012/08.