Postgraduate Research Experience Survey (PRES)

The Postgraduate Research Experience Survey (PRES) is the only UK higher education sector-wide survey to gain insight from postgraduate PhD Researchers about their learning and supervision experience.  Ulster University has participated in PRES for over ten years and has institutional reports noting progress across the indicators.  Previously, PRES was run biennially but the HEA has now moved to an annual survey, with surveys being launched in March and running through to mid May.

The latest institutional report (from PRES 2017) details the results at both an institutional level and by Faculty and the next survey, which will shortly be available for sharing, will allow us to further review results by Unit of Assessment.

Evaluate and enhance the postgraduate research student experience

The PRES enables us to gather information about the experience of our PhD Researchers.  It has been developed in consultation with the sector and has been robustly tested across many disciplines, in several institutions and with PhD Researchers to ensure it produces valid results.

The survey focuses on PhD Researchers’ experiences of:

  • supervision
  • resources
  • research community
  • progress and assessment
  • skills and professional development

It also considers PhD Researchers’ motivations for taking their programme.

Provides national, institutional and subject/discipline benchmarking

PRES results can be used to benchmark our postgraduate provision against others in the global higher education sector. Results can be broken down by discipline, gender, mode of study and home/EU/international domiciles, helping us to target enhancement where it is most needed.  The Ulster benchmarking report 2018 from the latest survey provides details on how Ulster provision compares across the UK.  In addition, for the first time this year, the Higher Education Academy has provided participating institutions with a ranking report, The ‘ranking’ report shows how our PhD Researchers' academic experience compares against other institutions participating in the 2018 survey, both overall, and across three key areas (retention, assessment and employability), including if our result is in the top 10 for a particular aspect.

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