Investigating student wellbeing across an academic year to improve the experience of taught postgraduate students

Francesca Fotheringham*, Paula Jean Miles, Veronica O'Carroll

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Students with greater wellbeing typically have higher academic achievement and a better student experience (Humphrey & McCarthy, 1998; Royal College of Psychiatrists, 2011). Unfortunately, student wellbeing has been reported to be significantly poorer than the general adult population (Stallman, 2010). This disparity is particularly stark for postgraduate (PGT) students who have been named the ‘forgotten cohort’ (Coneyworth, Jessop, Maden & White, 2019). This is attributed to many challenges unique to PGT students: transitioning to a new environment, change in social support, having higher academic expectations, unstable living environment, financial stress, and juggling responsibilities and expectations (Coneyworth et al., 2019). PGT students have also faced additional
challenges this academic year due to the pandemic where loneliness, uncertainty and online learning/social interactions have become a source of difficulty.

The current study uses a longitudinal mixed method design undertaking both questionnaire (including the CORE-GP wellbeing scale; Evans et al., 2005) and focus group methodologies to understand: 1) PGT wellbeing across the academic year; 2) how PGT wellbeing from a pre-COVID cohort (2018-2019) compares to the current, COVID-impacted cohort; 3) how University policy can support PGT students and what tools can be developed in practice to support their wellbeing. Preliminary results have demonstrated that PGT wellbeing is poorer than undergraduate wellbeing and gets significantly worse throughout the academic
year. Students reported that the following factors can negatively impact wellbeing: social support/infrastructure, juggling responsibilities, COVID-19 and health issues. Encouragingly, students equated good wellbeing to University resources and staff, their social support network, and personal experiences.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sept 2021
EventHEIR 2021: Inclusive Institutional Research -
Duration: 22 Sept 202124 Sept 2021


ConferenceHEIR 2021
Abbreviated titleHEIR 2021
Internet address


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