First year entrants onto postgraduate study
1. Main facts and figures
New data for the period August 2015 to July 2021 is available if you download the data. The charts, tables and commentary on this page cover the period August 2015 to July 2020 and do not include the new data.
in the 2019 to 2020 academic year, 221,220 people started postgraduate study at a UK higher education provider – this only includes students who were UK residents before their study and whose ethnicity was known
in the 5 academic years to July 2020, the percentage of postgraduate entrants from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups went up – the percentage of White entrants went down
the number of entrants from each of the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups was highest in the 2019 to 2020 academic year
the number of White entrants was highest in the 2018 to 2019 academic year
2. Things you need to know
The data measures the number of students who started full-time and part-time postgraduate study in the UK, by ethnicity.
The student’s first year of study does not have to be the first year of a postgraduate course. For example, the data includes students joining the second year of a part-time postgraduate course.
Postgraduate study is predominantly master’s degrees, such as a Master of Arts (MA) and Master of Science (MSc).
The data only includes students whose normal residence before starting their study was in the UK, Guernsey and Jersey (including their smaller islands) and the Isle of Man.
Student numbers are rounded to the nearest 5. Percentages are rounded to 1 decimal place, and have been calculated using unrounded student numbers.
Not included in the data
Students from outside the UK are not asked to report their ethnicity and are not included.
The ethnic groups used in the data
Data is shown for 5 aggregated ethnic groups:
This means figures are shown for these groups as a whole.
Students record their own ethnicity, either when they apply for a course or when they register with a higher education provider. The percentages are based only on students whose ethnicity was known (97% of first year postgraduate entrants in the 2019 to 2020 and 2020 to 2021 academic years).
Read the detailed methodology document for the data on this page.
The figures from August 2016 may have been affected by:
- the launch of a postgraduate loan scheme in the 2016 to 2017 academic year
- the inclusion of ‘alternative providers’ in the data – these are higher education providers who do not receive public funding
3. By ethnicity over time
|Year||Asian %||Asian Number||Black %||Black Number||Mixed %||Mixed Number||White %||White Number||Other %||Other Number|
Summary of First year entrants onto postgraduate study By ethnicity over time Summary
4. Data sources
Type of data
Type of statistic
Higher Education Statistics Agency
Purpose of data source
Student information collected by the Higher Education Statistics Agency is used for:
- performance indicators
- publications (including UNISTATS)
- league tables
The student record includes:
- their entry profile and personal characteristics
- module and course-level data
- funding information
- their qualifications
5. Download the data
The file contains the following: measure, time, time_type, ethnicity, ethnicity_type, value, value_type, numerator, denominator