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The online decision-making tool, provisionally called ‘PGT Choices’, will be launched in 2015. It is designed to help prospective postgraduate taught (PGT) students identify the sorts of questions to ask when deciding what and where to study, and to signpost sources of relevant information.

The work is being overseen by the Postgraduate Information Steering Group, which brings together representatives from across the higher education sector. It is part of a wider programme of work to address some of the challenges and opportunities facing postgraduate provision.

Research published today on behalf of the UK funding bodies [Note 2], which includes a study of 1,800 current and prospective PGT students, has found that despite good work by many higher education providers, the information needs of these students are not being consistently met across the sector. The findings will support universities and colleges to further improve the information they provide, and the way they present it on their web-sites and through other communications.

HEFCE and the other UK funding bodies have published guidance to help providers of taught postgraduate education courses build on work already under way [Note 3]. It provides advice on:

  • the type of information to provide – for example, details of levels of expected engagement with the course and how it is distributed across the year 
  • the way to deliver information – for example, through direct contact with staff, and through further segmentation of marketing information to reflect the diversity of the PGT market.

Professor Madeleine Atkins, HEFCE Chief Executive, said:

‘This is a time of significant change for the postgraduate taught education market. It is essential to ensure that students considering postgraduate study at UK universities and colleges have the information they need to help them decide what and where to study.

‘Universities and colleges are already doing excellent work to provide this information. The guidance that HEFCE and the other UK funding bodies are publishing today, and the launch of the PGT Choices web-site in 2015, is designed to support them to make further improvements and enhancements.’

Dr Sue Rigby, Vice Principal, Learning and Teaching, University of Edinburgh and Chair of the Postgraduate Information Steering Group, said:

‘At its heart, this is about the vitally important task of supporting people, at whatever stage of their learning and career journeys, to make informed choices about postgraduate study. We encourage universities and colleges to use this guidance to review and enhance their information provision, and we look forward to working with the sector over the coming months on the development of PGT Choices.’

Notes

  1. The four UK higher education funding bodies are: the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the Scottish Funding Council, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and the Department for Employment and Learning Northern Ireland.
  2. Understanding how people choose to pursue taught postgraduate study’ (CRAC and University of Derby International Centre for Guidance Studies).
  3. What information do prospective taught postgraduate students need?’.