Today on our website we publish the Guardian Postgraduate Guide 2011, covering master's degrees, including MBAs and qualifications such as the postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE). The tables are compiled in association with EducationGuardian.co.uk by Intelligent Metrix, an independent consultancy specialising in measures of higher education performance and activity, which also compiles our undergraduate University Guide.
Our postgraduate tables focus on master's degrees. Doctoral research degrees (PhDs) are very different. For anyone interested, the key criterion to look at will be the department's research rating. Tables based on the latest research assessment exercise (RAE 2008) appear at www.guardian.co.uk/education/table/2008/dec/18/rae-2008-results-uk-universities. In today's tables, readers can compare universities against the following criteria:
Number of postgraduate students
Full-time and part-time study are often very different, and the balance of provision can vary widely between departments with similar numbers.
Percentage of overseas students
Depending on the subject, this may indicate the international standing of a university.
Expenditure per student
We do not publish actual figures. This score is marked out of 10 in bands to allow for comparisons, where the departments with the highest rate of expenditure score 10. Spending on medical students is always going to be higher than on historians, for instance. Spending is based on combined figures for undergraduate and postgraduate teaching, including central academic services. It does not include the costs of academic staff, as these are already counted in the staff/student ratio. The amount of money is divided by the number of students given as full-time equivalents (FTEs); numbers of part-time students are converted to FTEs, so that part-time students contribute proportionately to the ratio.
This is based on combined figures for undergraduate and postgraduate teaching in each subject.
The figures show the proportion of leavers who achieved the qualification that they had set out for (or a qualification of equivalent or superior status).
For UK/European Union and overseas students. These figures are compiled by Mike Reddin, who publishes an annual survey (www.publicgoods.co.uk). The figures relate to master's courses and are general guidelines only.
• Please note that the Higher Education Statistics Agency does not accept responsibility for any conclusions derived from its data by third parties.