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Education Quality and Policy Office



About the survey


The Postgraduate Research Experience Survey (PRES) is a service made available by the HEA to all HEIs across the UK which have postgraduate research students. PRES is designed to help institutions enhance the quality of postgraduate research (PGR) degree provision by collecting feedback from current PGR students in a systematic and user-friendly way.

PRES is based on the same methodology as the PTES, with students asked to rate their overall satisfaction with the quality of their course, how well elements of it have met their expectations, and their satisfaction within the following themes:

  • Supervisions
  • Resources
  • Research Culture
  • Progress and Assessment
  • Responsibilities
  • Research Skills
  • Professional Development Opportunities
  • Overall Satisfaction

The University can also ask an unlimited number of institution-specific questions.

For further information about the PRES, please contact Marianna Kaimaki (


Timing and target population

All students currently registered on a postgraduate research programme are invited to complete the PRES (matched against a list of HESA COURSEAIMs provided by the HEA), including MPhil and PhD students.

Eligible students are sent an initial email from the University asking them to complete the survey. They will receive a unique URL which will provide them with direct access. Targeted reminders are sent to those students who have not yet completed the survey throughout the survey period.

The survey is run at Cambridge every 2 years, between March and May. The next run is in 2017.

Faculties and departments are asked to encourage students to complete the survey to help the University achieve a meaningful data set.


Data analysis and publication

Publicly available data

No institutions are named in the HEA's aggregate report and aggregate data is stored anonymously, making it impossible to construct league tables. However, the report allows comparison of Cambridge's results with the aggregate, as well as the Russell Group benchmark. Each institution remains the owner of its data and can publish its PRES results internally and externally.

More detailed analysis for internal use only

The University has access to the full Cambridge dataset. Although email addresses are stored to enable survey access control, no individuals are identified during data analysis.


Consideration of the results within the University

Educational and Student Policy prepares a top-level summary report of the PRES results for the General Board's Education Committee, and School-specific reports with results disaggregated by faculty/department are provided to the Councils of the Schools.

The Schools are asked to send a brief response to Educational and Student Policy to address the feedback and outline any planned actions.


Key findings of the PRES

For the national findings of the 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015 administrations of PRES see:

Members of the University can download the top-level reports (Raven-protected).