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The UCL PRES (Postgraduate Research Experience Survey) ran this year from 15 February to 18 May.

The survey is the chance for our research student community to provide us with feedback on their experience. We need to know what postgraduate researchers think so we can address issues and keep doing what is valued. It is an opportunity to say what went well and what can be improved.

We encourage everyone to give us their views: the more responses the more meaningful the data and the more poweful the argument for changing things where they need to be changed. The survey is confidential and the results are made anonymous so that no individual can be identified.

2017 is the second time that UCL has run the national PRES survey.
View → UCL PRES 2015 Results & Post PRES Actions.

Why is PRES important?

  1. to understand the UCL postgraduate research experience from a variety of institutional, Faculty, Departmental and demographic perspectives
  2. to compare UCL to other institutions using sector and mission group benchmarks, whilst also allowing UCL to ask institution specific questions
  3. Most importantly to enhance provision by using a survey designed specifically for research postgraduates, and one that is mapped to QAA indicators and aligned to the Vitae RDF

For further information, please see the FAQs.

Promotional materials for Faculties / Departments


How will PRES be carried out?

PRES is a national survey, co-ordinated by the national body for improving teaching and learning in Universities, the Higher Education Academy. The results will allow UCL to benchmark against the wider HE sector.

The survey is carried out at UCL by the Doctoral School and the questionnaire hosted online by Bristol Online Surveys. On the launch date all research postgraduate students will receive an email from the Doctoral School asking them to complete the survey. Staff will also be sent information to assist them in raising the profile of the survey.

Any students not completing the survey within the first couple of weeks will receive further reminders. Faculties will also receive updates on the response rate in their Faculty. The survey will close on Thursday 18th May.

Who takes part in PRES?

  • all Doctoral students, as well as Research Master's students
  • the last time PRES ran over 53,000 students took part – nearly half of all research postgraduates in the UK
  • Participating institutions now include most members of the Russell Group, Million+ and University Alliance.

What will be asked?

The survey questions are broken down into the following areas:

  • Supervision
  • Resources
  • Research community
  • Progress and assessment
  • Responsibilities
  • Research skills and professional development
  • Opportunities
  • Overall experience
  • Institution Specific Questions
  • Demographic details

Within these categories, students are asked to agree or disagree (on a scale of one to five) with statements, or indicate how often a learning style or behaviour is encouraged.

Please see an overview of the questions being used in PRES 2017.

What will we do with the results?

The national aggregated results will be published by the HEA. UCL will also be provided with our own results. These will be analysed and published on this website. From there they will discussed by Research Degrees Committee and with the various stakeholders (for example UCL's Faculties, the UCL Student Union) to identify and implement an action plan for the coming period. We will look both at the areas which we are getting right and the areas for improvement; all reporting will be directed towards enhancing the environment and practice.