You need cookies enabled

HEFCE closed at the end of March 2018. The information on this website is historical and is no longer maintained.

Many of HEFCE's functions will be continued by the Office for Students, the new regulator of higher education in England, and Research England, the new council within UK Research and Innovation.

The HEFCE domain - - will continue to function until September 2018. At this point we will close the site entirely and all its information will only be available from the National Web Archive.


You need cookies enabled

‘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

Reports and data

This section presents reports, data and analysis undertaken or commissioned by HEFCE to build our evidence base on postgraduate education in England.

Overview of postgraduate education in England and Northern Ireland

In July 2013 we published our first report on trends in postgraduate provision. This summarised HESA data and also gave a qualitative update on current issues. We will provide annual updates of the HESA data and will report here on other significant developments.

The most recent postgraduate data is available in an interactive format. On the ‘long-term trends’ tab users can compare postgraduate level data for entrants or enrollers using one or two characteristics, such as age and domicile. On the ‘2012-13 snapshot’ tab users can compare the proportion of postgraduate enrollers by one characteristic, such as disability or institution group.

Note that the interactive data does not include subject area of study as one of the characteristics, this is considered in the section below.

Postgraduate education by subject

We have published subject-level data that covers postgraduate provision in a new, interactive format. These latest data add the academic year 2012-13 to our existing time series and give a picture of the numbers applying to, and studying in, higher education (HE) at postgraduate level across multiple subject areas. The data help HEFCE and the sector to identify trends and develop strategy and policy plans.

Users can filter a time series of subject areas by one other student or course characteristic. The user can also compare characteristics of postgraduate entrants by two HE subject areas in more detail.

Transition to postgraduate study

This report presents the trends in transition from undergraduate to postgraduate study, focusing on full-time first degree UK qualifiers from English higher education institutions between 2002-03 and 2010-11.

Costing postgraduate taught programmes

This project aims to improve our understanding of the costs of postgraduate taught programmes. It uses the existing method for costing institutions’ activities – the Transparent Approach to Costing (TRAC) – to develop our understanding in this area.

International comparisons in postgraduate education 

This report examines postgraduate education in Australia, England, Germany, India, Norway, Scotland, Spain and the United States. The report focuses on three overarching themes of quality, access and employment outcomes of postgraduate education. It includes comparisons between England and the other countries in order to identify the strengths and challenges of the various postgraduate education systems.

Investigating an age threshold for independence at postgraduate level

This report investigates different aspects of independence. This is to test for an age at which young adults might be treated as independent from their parents, to determine potential eligibility for postgraduate funding. 

Recruitment of postgraduate research students 

This study focused on the recruitment of students to research degree programmes (PhD and MPhil), the selection of PGR students from the candidate pool and the role of PGR students in the higher education research base.

Further information

For queries relating to the interactive charts and tables, including feedback relating to the onward development of HEFCE’s evidence base in relation to postgraduate data, please contact or 

For all other queries relating to HEFCE’s postgraduate policy please contact

Page last updated 8 December 2015