Eight out of 10 postgraduate students taking a taught course in the UK report continued satisfaction with the experience over a five-year period.
More than 70,000 postgraduates across 85 higher education institutions responded to the Advance HE Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES) 2019. At 82%, overall satisfaction has remained consistent since 2015, with just a 2% dip in 2018. Last year’s PTES pointed to strike action at the time of completing the survey as a potential factor in this small decrease.
Institutions score highly for providing effective resources and information in 2019, remaining the same at 85% over the past three to four years. Although areas needing significant improvement are few, Advance HE has provided new analysis in 2019 on suggestions for improvements so that providers can continue to meet the needs of postgraduate taught (PGT) students.
Half of the 20,000 respondents suggested improvements on programme design and organisation, such as timetabling. More than a third (37%) of respondents felt programme delivery, including the quality of lecturers and contact time, could be improved and 34% said they would like to see better learning and project support.
The survey also shows that institutions face a challenge to increase the relatively low overall satisfaction reported by PGT students from Asian, Mixed and Other backgrounds. The results could provide the impetus for institutions to conduct further investigative work to understand how these groups feel their experience can be improved.
A relatively small proportion of PGT students - 20% - had considered at any point leaving their course. This compares favourably with similar data collected at undergraduate and postgraduate research level and endorses the levels of support provided across the sector.
It is heartening to see evidence that the postgraduate taught experience is so positive, with strong support from students and institutions. This is a true endorsement of the sector’s commitment towards postgraduate taught provision.
“However, although the sector is doing a good job of meeting the needs of PGT students, I hope this year’s results, as well as institutions’ own data, can help to drive further enhancements in future PGT experience.”
Alison Johns, Advance HE Chief Executive