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New website planned to help students choose postgraduate courses

The information needs of prospective postgraduate students are not being consistently met, a study has found.

Research conducted by the Careers Research and Advisory Centre (CRAC) and the International Centre for Guidance Studies at the University of Derby shows that many prospective students struggle to find the information they want about course workloads, employment prospects of graduates and the reputation of programmes or departments.

A survey of more than 1,800 prospective students considering returning to higher education after graduating with a first degree three years or more previously found that many would like easier access to academics to talk about programmes they were interested in.

A report on the findings from the Higher Education Funding Council for England says that while most students found university websites useful, many felt there was a need for a national site to help them find the information they wanted.

In response, the four UK HE funding bodies are planning to launch a new website in 2015 with an online decision-making tool to help prospective students find information and identify what questions to ask when deciding where and what to study.

New guidance to institutions from the four funding bodies suggests what information should be provided and gives tips on the best ways to deliver it. 

Professor Madeleine Atkins, Hefce Chief Executive, said: "This is a time of significant change for the postgraduate taught education market. It is essential to ensure that students considering postgraduate study at UK universities and colleges have the information they need to help them decide what and where to study.

"Universities and colleges are already doing excellent work to provide this information. The guidance that Hefce and the other UK funding bodies are publishing today, and the launch of the PGT Choices web-site in 2015, is designed to support them to make further improvements and enhancements."

Get the full picture from HEi-know: Briefing Report 148