Posted on 29 Nov '21

Future Masters and Future PhD Surveys – 2021 Results

Postgraduate study is complicated, and that's kind of the point. But it doesn't make life easy for marketers and recruiters. Your audiences are choosing between a vast range of subject areas and a far more diverse portfolio of qualifications. They might currently be at university, or they might have graduated 10 years ago (or 20, or 30...). They're also a lot more likely to be international.

All of this makes it difficult to form useful assumptions about what 'prospective postgraduate students' think, or want, or do – and data for this area of higher education isn't always easy to come by.

Our annual Future Masters and Future PhD surveys are designed to address these information gaps at scale, helping and supporting postgraduate marketers to help and support prospective students.

Powered by our leading postgraduate choice platforms, FindAMasters and FindAPhD, this year's research draws on an unparalleled range of over 16,000 responses, all from people actively considering further study.

We've organised the results into a series of shorter reports, drilling down into specific topics and segmenting responses to properly explore the breadth and depth of potential audiences for postgraduate study.

You can browse each one as they're released, below. Alternatively, you can let us know you'd like to receive our monthly Postgraduate Pulse newsletter and we'll send you the latest info (and a whole lot more we honestly think you'll find useful).


Report 1 – University Choice

The first report from our 2021 Future Masters and Future PhD surveys examines how prospective postgraduates evaluate potential universities and programmes: identifying the factors that do and don't influence them and revealing how they seek information about further study:

The findings reveal that:

  • Prospective Masters students prioritise the uniqueness of a university's programme portfolio over factors such as rankings and location
  • The most popular source of information about Masters study is a university's prospectus; whereas the most popular avenue for information seeking at PhD level is direct contact with academics
  • Roughly a third of UK undergraduates would attend a study fair to learn more about Masters opportunities

Report 2 – Study Preferences

The second 2021 Future Masters and Future PhD report looks at interest in different entry points and modes of study for a wide range of prospective postgraduate audiences and asks how Covid-19 is (and isn't) reshaping these preferences.

The findings reveal that:

  • January 2022 was the most popular entry point for Masters and PhD students planning their studies in summer 2021
  • Attitudes to flexible study vary substantially between audiences, with UK students almost equally split between online, blended and on campus learning
  • Around a fifth of prospective postgraduates say the pandemic has made them more likely to study a Masters or PhD

You may also like...


Postgraduate Pulse updates

Our Postgraduate Pulse trackers offer ongoing insight into changing attitudes and intentions amongst prospective Masters and PhD students.


Highlights from our 2020-21 postgraduate marketing webinars

Louise looks back over the first year of our webinar series, picking out insights from experts in content, recruitment, social media and more.