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 by Mark Bennett
, posted on 12 Jan '18

Just How Popular is Postgraduate Study?

The decision to take on a Masters can feel like a big one - and it is. But just how many people make that choice? The answer is 'more than you might think'.

A new report from the UK's Higher Education Statistics Agency reveals that increasing numbers of students are taking on the challenges and opportunities that come with postgraduate study.

We thought we'd take a quick look at this data, here on the blog. The results reveal some interesting trends - perhaps they might also make your search for a Masters feel a little less lonely.

More people are choosing to study a Masters

Over 300,000 people started a taught postgraduate course in 2016-17. That's actually the highest number in a decade.

There's no prize for guessing one of the biggest reasons for this increase: the availability of new masters degree loans (introduced for the first time in. . . 2016-17). We've done our best to provide useful information and advice about this new funding since it was first announced, and it's great to see that more students are now able to pursue their postgraduate plans.

But this is also the second year in a row to show a rise in postgraduate numbers, perhaps suggesting a more general rise in the number of people seeking additional skills and training.

EU students are welcome

With Brexit on the horizon, it's nice to see that the number of EU postgraduates in the UK also rose in 2016-17.

Remember too that fee and funding guarantees are in place for EU students in 2018-19. So, if you want to study a Masters in the UK next year, you can!

More women are studying STEM subjects

The number of female postgraduates in traditionally male-dominated subject Science, Medicine, Engineering and Technology ('STEM') fields all increased in 2016-17.

Hopefully this is part of an ongoing trend, reflecting the important work being done by campaigns like Women in STEM.

The most popular postgraduate subjects are. . .

Actually, almost all subjects have seen an increase, reflecting the fact that more students have been able to take advantage of a Masters.

But the most popular subjects also reflect that breadth: the two biggest increases have been in Biological Sciences and Creative Arts & Design.

Find out more

Fancy digging into these figures for yourself? No problem. You can view the full report on the HESA website.

In conclusion. . . you won't be alone

If these figures show anything, it's that more and more people are taking advantage of postgraduate study, and that those opportunities haven't been restricted by nationality or gender. All of this is great to see - and hopefully the trend will continue.

Fancy seeing how popular postgraduate study is for yourself? Why not come along to one of our upcoming Postgrad LIVE! events? You'll be able to meet other students in the same position as you, chat to universities and get some advice from our application and funding experts.






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Find out more about Postgrad LIVE!

We'll be in Birmingham, Bristol, Sheffield, Liverpool & Edinburgh. Want to know who's exhibiting, check out the talks or book your free place? Find out more here.


New year, new (postgraduate) you?

Looking to join the increasing numbers of people taking on a Masters? Here's why 2018 could be the perfect time to do that.


Brexit and postgrad students - what you need to know

We've been keeping a careful eye on what Brexit means for students considering a Masters in the UK or the EU.