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In partnership with the Economic and Social Research Council, we commissioned Paul Wakeling of the University of York to conduct an evaluation of the Postgraduate Support Scheme running in the academic year 2014-15. 

The report evaluates and summarises findings from the £25 million initiative involving 40 higher education institutions in 20 projects to support and improve progression to postgraduate education.

The report finds that:

  • There is latent and frustrated demand for postgraduate taught study among graduates, especially disadvantaged students.
  • Funding is critical for students’ success. 
  • If the intention is to support widening participation at postgraduate level, then greater targeting of funding will be important.
  • A partnership model is emerging between employers, universities and students to develop innovative and responsive curricula that maximise students’ employability and employers’ recruitment opportunities.
  • Pilot projects provide proof of concept for various supply-side innovations which bring together universities and employers, and also highlight the risks and costs of postgraduate innovation.
  • Greater visibility and co-ordination are needed in universities to ensure the future sustainability of taught postgraduate courses.
  • Both financial and non-financial interventions are necessary to support success at postgraduate level.