Postgraduate Research Experience Survey (PRES)

The Postgraduate Research Experience Survey (PRES) is a valuable tool for our postgraduate research community at Bristol to feedback about their experiences throughout their time here. PRES is one of the most effective mechanisms for you to improve and change the University for a better and more positive experience.

What is PRES?

PRES is a national survey of postgraduate research students that’s organised by Advance HE (formerly the Higher Education Academy).

The survey is designed to highlight areas of strength — but also to collect feedback that helps schools, faculties and the University as a whole make changes that improve the learning experience for postgraduate research students.

The PRES benchmarking data that’s provided by Advance HE also helps us to see how the postgraduate research student experience at Bristol compares with other universities in the UK.

Until 2017, the survey ran every two years. From 2018 onwards, the survey has been made available to universities to run on an annual basis.

PRES 2019: the results

Over 1,000 Bristol postgraduate research students  35% of the total PGR student body  shared their feedback on learning, supervisionsupport and wellbeing at the University by taking part in PRES.

We would like to thank everybody who took part in the survey. Your feedback helps schools, facultiesthe Bristol Doctoral College and the University as a whole to make changes that will improve what we do in the future and to keep doing the things that you value.

A full dataset of all the results for Bristol including a summary of satisfaction scores broken down to school and department level has been produced by the Education Data Insights Team in Education Services:

What is the University doing as a result of PRES?

Change through PRES takes effect through all faculties and schools, and various central services involved in supporting the postgraduate research community.

Your school and/or faculty will also be developing a detailed Education Action Plan to ensure they respond directly to their most relevant areas for improvement. Education Action Plans are held in the QA Framework Documents SharePoint site

For historic PRES survey results, visit the Academic Quality and Policy Office website.

What is the Bristol Doctoral College doing as a result of PRES?

The Bristol Doctoral College, in partnership with other stakeholders across the university, has drawn up a list of 12 key recommendations as a result of PRES 2019.

Progression, assessment and induction

  1. Review and update training opportunities for PGR students around progression and milestones
  2. Review formal documentation relating to progression and milestones
  3. Revise and improve induction process for PGR students
  4. Standardise induction across faculties and school and improve induction for those who start outside of September/October registration period


  1. Review how actions resulting from Education Action Plans are communicated to the PGR community
  2. Streamline access to PRES results and actions.


  1. Review the application of academic workload allocation in relation to research student supervision.
  2. Evaluate communication to PGR supervisors around regulations and provide new development opportunities for supervisors.
  3. Strengthen support for research supervision through reward and accreditation schemes.

Community space and wellbeing

  1. Increase community building opportunities for PGR students across the university.
  2. Finalise the PGR Pastoral Support Framework and clearly signpost wellbeing and mental health support for PGR students.
  3. Set up research student supervisor update sessions with a focus on responsibilities on wellbeing for all.

Find out more about what the Bristol Doctoral College is already doing to enhance community building and support PGR student wellbeing.

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