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UK: int’l PGR students report rise in satisfaction

Satisfaction rates among international postgraduate research students in the UK have increased in 2022, a new survey has suggested.

Nearly 14,000 postgraduate researchers from 62 higher education institutions took part in the survey. Photo: Unsplash

Disabled postgraduate research students are more than 10% less satisfied than those with no disability

Advance HE’s Postgraduate Research Experience Survey 2022 found that non-UK students reported satisfaction at 82%, helping to drive the overall satisfaction among postgraduate research students.

Overall satisfaction has risen slightly from 79% to 80%, stemming the small but consistent fall over the past three years.

Meanwhile, the survey found that satisfaction for UK domiciled postgraduate research students has fallen slightly to 79%, remaining on a similar level to that experienced during the pandemic.

Photo: Advance HE

Although the overall increase in satisfaction for all nationalities is just one percentage point, “there has been an encouraging increase in strength of feeling”, Jonathan Neves, head of business intelligence and surveys at Advance HE, said.

“Many more postgraduate research students in 2022 ‘definitely’ [agreed] that they are satisfied compared to 2021,” Neves added.

“As we are yet to see a recovery in satisfaction for undergraduates, as measured by the National Student Survey, this recovery in PRES is a positive finding.”

According to the report, many areas of the survey have improved compared to the past two years, which shows the impact of the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Photo: Advance HE

“There have been strong improvements in access to resources and facilities, with postgraduate research students often praising how their institution has adapted and developed facilities to meet their needs,” the report stated.

“Dedicated Covid-19 support was also praised, particularly the quality of communications, while overall support across aspects of academic skills, accessing or using resources, and health and wellbeing needs also received high scores.”

“There has been an encouraging increase in strength of feeling”

However, the report showed that PG researchers with a declared disability experience significantly lower – and declining – levels of satisfaction. Furthermore, in most cases, disabled postgraduate research students are more than 10% less satisfied than those with no disability.

Nearly 14,000 PG researchers from 62 higher education institutions took part in the annual survey which provides the opportunity for postgraduate research students to give feedback on their learning experience, supervision and research environment.

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