The Student Room explores student attitudes toward postgraduate study

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The Student Room, the world’s largest student site has carried out research to find out student attitudes towards postgraduate study. The research looks at why students do post grad courses, what deters them, which universities are most popular and how they’re decision is influenced.

The study (of 672 students) indicates that the rise in tuition fees could have a major impact on the numbers applying for postgraduate courses in the future as almost a third (30%) of current under grad and post grad students said they would not do a post grad course had they had to pay £9,000 fees.

Download Report The research shows that the biggest deterrent to doing a post grad was that they are too expensive (66%) and lack of funding options (51%).

The study also found that student loyalty was low when it came to choosing a post grad course with just 20% saying they would stay at the same university they did their undergraduate course at. 47% also said they would consider studying abroad with the US and Canada the most popular destinations.

In addition to financial reasons 15% of students said that they weren’t doing a postgraduate course because they did not know enough about them to make a proper decision. And the main reasons for those that were doing a post grad was to increase their employability (53%) and improve their career prospects in later life (73%).

Jamie O’Connell, Marketing Director, The Student Room said: “With the cost of a degree set to rise significantly and with more students in large debt as graduates it is no surprise that people will think very carefully whether they want to potentially add to that debt by studying at a postgraduate level. Just as the UK HE sector and government are strengthening the information available to UG applicants to help ensure they make informed decisions, so to there needs to be clearer information provided by institutes as to what tangable benefits stheir students get from studying postgraduate qualifications. For example there is belief shown here that studying a postgradate qualification improved career prospects, depending on the sector that is not always the case and universities need to be transparent about this.”

Jane Penrose, Director, Postgraduate Studentships said: “This survey shows that Universities will need to be very careful how they price their postgraduate courses following the undergraduate fees rise, to ensure that postgraduate study remains both an attractive and viable option in the UK. Students are prepared to travel both within the UK and beyond to find the best postgraduate study. It’s good to see that there continues to be a clear appetite for postgraduate study, and a recognition of the benefits it brings – which makes it all the more important for the UK to ensure that obstacles don’t turn students’ enthusiasm sour, and that the excellence of the UK’s postgraduate offerings remains a positive and practical choice for students.”

Other findings:

  • 87% of 20-25 year olds on The Student Room are considering studying a post grad course
  • 76% of post grad students were over 20 years old when they decided to do a post grad course
  • 39% of students would consider doing a distance learning post grad


The research was carried out across 4 weeks in April/May 2011, amongst users to The Student Room website.

More postgraduate research findings…

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