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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 November, 2004, 11:45 GMT
Growth in post-graduate studies
Much of the growth in numbers is at new universities
There has been a big increase in the number of students taking post-graduate courses in the UK.

In the past seven years, there has been a 20% increase in the number of post-graduate students, taking the number to 500,000 today.

Numbers have risen fastest in the new universities, a report from the Higher Education Policy Institute suggests.

It says the biggest growth area is in masters qualifications rather than doctorates.

Masters courses

In 2002-03, only 9% of postgraduate qualifications awarded were doctorates.

In terms of first-year enrolments, students on taught masters made up nearly half of all postgraduate students in 2002-03.

Much of the growth in this area is due to the enrolment of overseas students onto taught masters degree courses, according to the institute's report.

There has been a slight fall in the number of students studying for doctorates (research degrees). UK-based entrants to this type of study fell by 17% between 1995-6 and 2002-3.

New universities account for much of the increase in post-graduate study. The report says: "In England, postgraduate student numbers have risen fastest in new universities and colleges".

Between 1995-96 and 2002-03, postgraduate numbers in these institutions rose by 65% from 103,701 to 170,855.

"For overseas postgraduate numbers, the figures are startling. Overseas student numbers at new universities jumped from 10,048 in 1995-96 to 34,700 in 2002-03."

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