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‘Steps to Postgraduate Study’ 

A new guide to postgraduate study offers information and advice for prospective students on study options, finance and other practical matters, and the benefits of study at this level. 

See the ‘Steps to Postgraduate Study’ website

Costing postgraduate taught programmes

We are currently looking to understand in more detail the costs of postgraduate taught (PGT) programmes. So we have run a project that uses the existing method for costing institutions’ activities – the Transparent Approach to Costing (TRAC) – to develop our understanding in this area. 

Findings from the second phase of the project

The findings for the second phase of the project were published in December 2014. For more information on the first phase of the project, see ‘About the project’ below.

Read the report and full findings from the second phase of the project: ‘Review of the cost of postgraduate taught provision’.

HEFCE appointed the consultants KPMG to see whether the costs of teaching for postgraduate taught courses could be clearly separated from undergraduate teaching costs. KPMG collected, validated and analysed cost data from a sample group of 22 institutions.

Based on this small sample, the study found that the cost of PGT courses was in general higher than undergraduate teaching.

Aims of the project

In view of our new approach to funding teaching, we are continuing to provide extra postgraduate funding from 2013-14 to 2015-16 inclusive. This responds to the absence of any student finance arrangements in those years. From 2016-17 there will be a postgraduate loan scheme, which BIS will consult with the sector about early in 2015. 

The project supports the development of this new methodology by establishing a method to disaggregate undergraduate and postgraduate teaching costs, which has not previously been done under TRAC. This will provide us with evidence to inform any new funding methodology.

About the project

We worked with a number of institutions that reflect the diversity of postgraduate providers.

The project considered all of the postgraduate courses that institutions report to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). This includes:

  • PG Cert
  • PG Dip
  • taught masters.

But it excludes postgraduate research students who are supported through our funding method for research, and integrated masters (longer undergraduate programmes such as the MEng). The project also excludes regulated postgraduate programmes such as the PGCE.

We appointed KPMG to lead this work. The first stage of the project, in 2012-13, involved 21 institutions and focused on developing a methodology to disaggregate undergraduate and postgraduate taught costs. The findings are shown in KPMG’s report. 

Postgraduate taught cost study – Summary of stage 1 findings

Download the Postgraduate Taught (PGT) Cost Study – Summary of Stage 1 findings as PDF (147 KB)

The second stage, which is now complete, involved a larger group of institution which submitted data to KPMG to analyse and evaluate.

Postgraduate taught cost study – Summary of stage 2 findings

Download the pgtcostreview as PDF (803 KB)

We will link the outcomes from the study to the recent review of TRAC in order to minimise the reporting burden on institutions.

Page last updated 8 December 2015