Posted June 02, 2020 07:59:11The number of UK postgraduate degree courses has been steadily increasing over the past decade, according to a new report.
It found that the number of postgraduate qualifications held by graduates has risen by 7.2 per cent annually over the same period, but the number held by postgraduate postgraduates has not risen at all.
It was up 8.3 per cent over the year ending March 2019, compared with a 7.1 per cent increase in the number holding postgraduate certificates in the same year.
But this has not been mirrored in the numbers held by UK students, which rose by just 2.1 percentage points.
According to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), there were 5.9 million postgraduate students in the UK in 2018.
However, the number was down by 10.2 million over the previous five years, to 5.6 million.
The number holding a postgraduate certificate has remained constant since 2010 at about 7.4 million.
The figures for the number with a post-graduate qualification have also increased, rising by just over 2.5 million over that time.
Although the number holds a small percentage of UK undergraduates, the figure is still a large enough proportion of the student body that a university can offer degrees that are not recognised by the higher education sector.
Postgraduate qualifications, which have risen from 3.4 per cent of all postgraduate graduates in the mid-1990s to almost 7 per cent today, have been a significant part of the UK economy for many years.
But postgraduate training has also come under fire in recent years, as universities have been criticised for over-investing in their degree programmes.
“In the past year we’ve seen some very worrying figures,” said Peter Davies, a senior lecturer at Montclair State University in New Jersey.
He said that while many universities were still focused on the economic benefits of postgraduation, “they’re also starting to see that students are going through postgraduate studies with a big risk of leaving.”
“That is a huge risk.
That’s why it’s really important to make sure that we don’t over-purchase.
You have to make a decision between the economic benefit of going to a university and the benefit of being able to be a part of your community.”
Professor Davies said that, while the numbers of degrees held by the UK post-graduates had increased, the quality of post-doc training remained the same.
There was still no indication that post-doctoral degrees were being produced for the job market, he added.
Professor Peter Davies is a senior fellow at the Montclair Foundation.