November 12, 2004

Postgraduate education is the fastest growing sector in higher education.

There has been a 21 per cent growth in new entrants over the past seven years. UK universities now cater for nearly 500,000 postgraduates - making up just under a fifth of all students.

But while the introduction of tuition fees for undergraduates has led to detailed studies of undergraduate education, postgraduate education - a home-grown model of how a more fee-driven funding system works - has been neglected.

This summary of a Higher Education Policy Institute report, commissioned by The Times Higher, is the first wide-ranging UK study of postgraduate education since the 1996 Harris report.

It looks at trends across the sector and how they affect different universities and regions. It also looks at the financial impact of postgraduate education on universities, on postgraduates themselves and on the jobs market.

Finally, the report raises some important quality issues and assesses future demand.

Postgraduate education in the UK
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