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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

Intentions After Graduation Survey (IAGS)

The Intentions After Graduation Survey (IAGS) asks final-year undergraduates about their plans for what they will do after graduation, including plans for postgraduate study.

This allows us to see if intentions change between different cohorts – particularly pre- and post-fee reform – and we will also be able to track students to see if their actions reflect their intentions.

Analysis of the survey

We have now carried out an analysis based on the results of the Intentions After Graduation Survey (IAGS).

About the survey 

The survey is a response to a ‘gap’ we identified in the evidence about attitudes towards, and demand for, postgraduate study among potential postgraduate students. In particular existing surveys provide very little evidence about why students choose not to study. The survey looks to clarify whether the sector does not meet demand for postgraduate study and if there is a need for support in particular areas. 

The survey is linked to the National Student Survey (NSS). The 2013 pilot survey targeted almost all students in UK institutions when they were likely to be considering postgraduate study. Because responses are linked to student records, they can be analysed by many established measures, including socio-economic background, subject and institution type, to see whether trends differ between these areas. We can also track students through future studies, and so can see if their actions match their stated intentions.

The 2013 pilot survey had a good response: 65 per cent of HEFCE-fundable students who responded to the online NSS also completed the IAGS (over 100,000 students). It is important to recognise that the patterns reflect aspirations, rather than ultimate behaviour. But they provide a baseline to compare with both future years and other evidence about study and employment outcomes. 

The IAGS does not capture the views of people considering postgraduate study several years after they complete their first degree. This group is by its nature difficult to identify and access, but we are looking to address this through some of the research we have carried out

Plans for the survey

We expect to continue the IAGS for at least another three years. By comparing the responses of pre-fee-reform undergraduates (in 2013 and 2014) with those who have experienced higher fees (2015 onwards), we hope to get an early indication of any changes in demand, and which groups and subjects are most affected. 

Page last updated 14 December 2016