The OU has been ranked sixth globally out of 89 higher education institutions for overall postgraduate research student satisfaction in the national survey of research students announced on 4 November 2021.
According to the national Postgraduate Researcher Experience Survey (PRES)2021, which asked OU PhD and Professional Doctorate students about their research degree programme experience, including supervision, resources, culture, progression, responsibilities and professional development, we performed as follows:
- In the supervision category, we ranked in the top quartile, and 92% of students said that they have regular contact with their supervisors, which clarifies expectations and allows them to deliver
- In the responsibilities category, we ranked 6th overall, and 87% of students said they received an appropriate induction to their research degree programme and are aware of what the University requires of them
- In the COVID-19 category, 81% felt they had got the support they needed during the pandemic, and 86% of students felt that communications from the OU relating to the pandemic were appropriate and clear
- We ranked in the top 10 overall for the postgraduate research experience in Arts and Humanities, STEM and Health and Social Care
- We came third in overall satisfaction among BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) research students
Dr Lindsay O’Dell, OU Graduate School Director, said:
“We recognise moving to distance learning was challenging for many of our postgraduate community, who traditionally enjoy the OU’s dynamic on-campus research environment. However, we moved quickly to draw on the University’s pioneering expertise in distance learning to create additional digital resources and seminar series to help our postgraduate researchers through the transition. We also introduced funding extensions for those whose research the pandemic directly impacted, held virtual inductions, including an online welcome from the Mayor of Milton Keynes and sent tea and cake to postgraduate research students’ homes.
“We’re very pleased with this overall result and in particular to see our postgraduate community valued these actions and that they helped them feel supported during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Our focus now is rebuilding our full-time postgraduate researchers’ on-campus experience, while continuing to support the online communities which developed during the past year.”
This success follows the OU’s rise in the National Student Survey when it was ranked third amongst 174 participating degree-awarding universities.