Outstanding success for Nottingham postgraduates

Students in the Laboratory
28 Jul 2010 17:35:11.107


PhD students at The University of Nottingham are among the most successful in the country, according to a new report.

Nottingham is ranked joint second in England on a measure of PhD completion rates, in a report that underlines the quality of its postgraduate education and the support available to doctoral students.

Data released by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) shows that 88 per cent of full-time Home and EU doctoral students at the University qualified within seven years.

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The figure puts Nottingham joint second — alongside Bristol University — on a measure which looked at postgraduate research courses at 111 English universities in total. It ranks Nottingham above other Russell Group institutions including Cambridge, Oxford, King’s, Warwick and University College London.

A completion rate of 88 per cent is also well above Nottingham’s benchmark of 82 per cent — the level at which it was expected to perform based on a profile of its students.

The HEFCE survey of research degree qualification rates lists the percentage of full-time doctoral students who began their courses in the years 2000/01, 2001/02 and 2002/03 and who had qualified within seven years.

Professor Bob Webb, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and the Graduate School, said: “Nottingham is a research-led institution and we are committed to building on our status as one of the leading research universities in the world.

“Research students at Nottingham have an important role to play in this, and they benefit from personal supervision and support from senior staff who are often internationally recognised for their work. It is very pleasing to see this support, and the quality of research opportunities on offer at Nottingham, reflected in the outstanding completion rates highlighted by HEFCE in its latest report.”

For international students, Nottingham’s qualification rate was 84 per cent, which ranks it seventh among English universities. This figure was again higher than the institution’s benchmark of 76 per cent.

Professor Claire O’Malley, Dean of the Graduate School at The University of Nottingham, said: “Nottingham’s success rate with PhD completions also reflects our commitment to providing excellent resources in terms of training, development and research environment through its Graduate School and Graduate Centres, which were commended in our most recent Quality Assurance Agency review.”


The University offers postgraduate research opportunities across all five of its faculties, in more than 30 schools and departments across the institution. More information on postgraduate opportunities available at The University of Nottingham is available at:



HEFCE monitors how long it takes postgraduate research students to obtain their qualification as a measure by which the quality of research degree programmes can be assessed.

The full HEFCE report can be found at www.hefce.ac.uk/pubs/


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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 100 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings.


More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to RAE 2008, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranks the University 7th in the UK by research power. In 27 subject areas, the University features in the UK Top Ten, with 14 of those in the Top Five.


The University provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain's “only truly global university”, it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation — School of Pharmacy), and was named ‘Entrepreneurial University of the Year’ at the Times Higher Education Awards 2008.

Nottingham was designated as a Science City in 2005 in recognition of its rich scientific heritage, industrial base and role as a leading research centre. Nottingham has since embarked on a wide range of business, property, knowledge transfer and educational initiatives (

www.science-city.co.uk) in order to build on its growing reputation as an international centre of scientific excellence. The University of Nottingham is a partner in Nottingham: the Science City.

Story credits

Tim Utton

Tim Utton - Deputy Director of Communications

Email: tim.utton@nottingham.ac.uk Phone: +44 (0)115 846 8092 Location: University Park

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