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The UK's only independent think tank devoted to higher education.


In recent years, HEPI has produced around 20 reports a year. They are all available free of charge here on our website and are generally also available in hard copy from the HEPI office. (The version on the website should be regarded as the version of record.)

  • PhD students and their careers

    16 July 2020 by Bethan Cornell

    Key findings Most PhD students (88%) believe their doctorate will positively impact their career prospects. PhD students are almost equally more (33%) and less (32%) likely to pursue a research career after they started their PhD than before, with the majority stating academic (67%) research or research within industry (64%)…

  • UK Universities and China

    9 July 2020 by Michael Natzler

    UK Universities and China edited by Michael Natzler is a new collection of essays which provides an overview of the opportunities and challenges faced by higher education institutions engaging with China. The collection covers a wide range of issues from the importance of UK-China scientific research and the recruitment and…

  • Students’ views on the impact of Coronavirus on their higher education experience

    30 June 2020 by Rachel Hewitt

    Key findings: One-in-five students (19%) say they have had ‘very clear’ communications on Covid-19 from their higher education institutions (down from 31% in March). Two-thirds of students feel positive about the communications, three times higher than the proportion who feel negative – 66% say the communications are ‘very clear’ or…

  • PhD Life: The UK student experience

    25 June 2020 by Bethan Cornell

    PhD Life: The UK student experience by Bethan Cornell uses previously unpublished data from Nature and the Wellcome Trust to uncover the reality of life as a PhD student. The key findings include: the average PhD student works 47 hours per week, which is over 50% more than the average undergraduate and three…

  • The Student Academic Experience Survey 2020

    11 June 2020 by Nick Hillman

    There has never been a more important moment to ask students in UK higher education institutions what they think about their own lives. The 2019/20 academic year has been characterised by industrial action, a major global health crisis and rapid adverse changes to the graduate labour market. The Covid-19 pandemic…

  • Postgraduate Education in the UK

    14 May 2020 by Ginevra House

    Looking at how the UK postgraduate landscape has changed since the previous report was published a decade ago, this new report uses previously unpublished data to reveal the state of UK postgraduate education in the years before the Covid-19 crisis struck. The analysis considers how postgraduate education was affected by…

  • Pressure Vessels II: An update on mental health among higher education staff in the UK

    30 April 2020 by Liz Morrish and Nicky Priaulx

    Summary Analysis of 17 universities reveals a continued rise in staff access to counselling and occupational health referrals since Pressure Vessels was published in 2019. From 2016 to 2018, there was an increase of 16% in counselling at the 14 universities for which comparable time series data were obtained. Over the same…

  • Open for business? Students’ views on entering the labour market

    28 April 2020 by Rachel Hewitt

    Over three-quarters (79%) of graduates feel confident of getting a graduate level job once they graduate. However, when asked about their feelings towards entering the labour market, more (28%) cite anxiety as their number one feeling, ahead of confidence (23%), uncertainty (16%) and feeling overwhelmed by the prospect (16%). Only…

  • One for all or all four one? Does the UK still have a single higher education sector?

    16 April 2020 by Nick Hillman

    Using almost 60,000 responses to the HEPI / Advance HE Student Academic Experience Survey collected between 2015 and 2019, this report considers if the UK still has a single higher education sector – from the perspective of students. Some important differences are revealed among locally-domiciled students studying in England, Scotland, Wales and…