Postgraduate applications up

Sam Wigglesworth

The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) has released its figures for postgraduate intake at Glasgow University for the academic year 2012/2013 and found that there was an increase of 3.7% from the previous year, while the UK as a whole saw a 5.6% decrease.

Glasgow Guardian reported last spring that the academic year 2011/2012 had seen an increase in postgraduate students of 3.1% from the year 2010/2011 and this upward trend has been confirmed by the latest statistics, with an even higher percentage increase in postgraduate intake released this year. The increase equates to approximately an extra 240 postgraduate students from the previous year.

The UK figure for postgraduate applications fell again after a 3.4% decrease the year before, while the number of applications in Scotland fell by 2.5% for 2012/13 after a 2.6% fall the previous year.

A spokesperson for Glasgow University welcomed the fact that Glasgow was defying the nationwide trend: “We are delighted to see an increase in applications for postgraduate study at the University of Glasgow. We are pleased that more and more people are choosing to study here, which also reflects the high levels of student satisfaction and the excellent learning experience we offer.”

Oli Coombs, SRC Vice President for Education, joined the University in welcoming the figures: “It is pleasing that the University of Glasgow continues to be an attractive place for students wanting to continue their studies.”

However, Coombs also noted that these increases in applications could add to the effects of overcrowding on campus. He said: “The SRC remain concerned about the growth in student numbers that continues to increase the pressure on many student services across the University. We are also concerned within certain areas of the University about the impact on pedagogy with lecturers having to deliver material to hundreds of students at a time. While the Western Infirmary development and an increase in the use of online learning will certainly address some of these issues, the University must ensure solutions are found in the short and medium term and we will continue to work alongside the University to ensure this happens.”

Overcrowding has been a major campus issue throughout this academic year and has largely been the result of an increase in the overall student population. Many students have complained of not getting seats at lectures and overcrowding at the University library.

While the majority of complaints have come from undergraduates, there has been some negative feedback from postgraduate students as well.

The Learning and Teaching Committee found that, as of May 2013, the overall satisfaction levels of postgraduate students remained steady at 88%. However, many individual scale items, such as how effective teaching and learning methods were on a particular course and the quality of the teaching support available to postgraduate students, have moved in a downward trend. 60% of the individual scale items were lower than the previous year.