International postgraduate satisfaction soars in UK universities

A recent survey conducted by Advance HE, a member-led charity for higher education providers, gathered responses from nearly 84,000 post-graduate students across 101 institutions in the UK about their overall student satisfaction levels. The survey revealed a notable trend: international students pursuing postgraduate degrees in the country are expressing higher levels of satisfaction compared to their domestic counterparts. 

Comparative satisfaction levels 

A detailed analysis of the survey results showed that non-EU students consistently reported significantly higher satisfaction rates across various facets of their international postgraduate educational experience. For instance, when assessing resources, teaching quality, engagement, assessment methods and organisational aspects, UK students reported an 87% satisfaction rate, whereas international students expressed a remarkable 93% satisfaction rate. These satisfaction scores have displayed a consistent upward trajectory since 2014, with only a marginal decline observed during the pandemic.


Furthermore, 83% of all respondents were satisfied with their course, marking the highest level since 2016. Notably, when assessing satisfaction rates by region, 88% of African postgraduate students and 87% of Asian postgraduates expressed satisfaction, compared to 79% of UK students and European Union students. Specifically, in crucial areas like teaching, skills, organisation and course engagement, students from India, Pakistan, China and Nigeria exhibited significantly higher satisfaction rates compared to UK students. 

Insights into international student experiences 


The survey highlighted several factors contributing to the positive feedback from overseas postgraduates. Comments from international students particularly emphasised the impact of the teaching experience on their overall satisfaction. A student from India highlighted the shift from home-based exams to a more diverse and challenging coursework environment in the UK, emphasising significant difference in their academic journey. “The [coursework] has been quite challenging and interesting at the same time. I enjoy doing the necessary research,” the student wrote. According to Jason Leman, author and survey executive at Advance HE, this satisfaction highlights “the successful expansion of taught postgraduate study for these students across UK higher education,” he commented. 

Support in work opportunities 

While international students showed lower tendencies to consider leaving their courses compared to UK students, financial challenges remained a concern. The survey indicated a noticeable rise in financial difficulties among certain students, especially with the increased cost of living in 2023. Despite these challenges, international students were more focused on their concerns about institutional support in securing work opportunities to support their studies.

Adaptations in higher education 


The findings of the survey demonstrated the adaptability of the UK higher education institutions in meeting the expectations of international students. The sector’s response to diversifying experiences and catering to the needs of an expanding international cohort has been seen as positive feedback and satisfaction.  


The survey also shed light on the significant difference in satisfaction levels between international and domestic postgraduate students in UK universities. It also underscored the resilience and key strengths of the higher education sector in catering to a globally diverse student population, aiming to deliver competitive academic experience in the UK. 


To know more about study options and our partner institutions across Europe, feel free to check out our GSP platform, and don’t hesitate to reach out to our Business Development Managers for more information.    

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