Athena SWAN in SHW

Undergraduate and postgraduate taught student issues, aspirations and development

Photo of students in a teaching session with lecturer


Julie Langan Martin and Jim Lewsey


It is important that the Athena Swan Charter is incorporated into all aspects of the School of Health and Wellbeing’s work, including within our teaching portfolio. The school offers three intercalated BSc programmes for medical students (Global Health, Psychological Medicine, and Public Health) and six postgraduate taught programmes (MSc in Global Health, MSc in Global Mental Health, MSc in Health Technology Assessment, MSc (Med Sci) in Clinical/Applied Neuropsychology, MSc in Primary Health Care, and Masters in Public Health. This working group aims to monitor, report, and respond to gender sensitive issues in our undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes.


  • We have monitored the number of students, by gender, for each of our programmes by: full/part-time study, applications, acceptances, offers, and degree classifications. At least 60% of the full and part-time students enrolled on a programme of taught postgraduate study within SHW have been female (Figure 1).
  • We have tried to collect data from similar postgraduate programmes in the UK to ensure that our gender split is comparable but it has been difficult to ascertain these figures from other similar programmes.
  • The Postgraduate Taught Experiences Survey (PTES) is a national survey completed by all students in the final year of their studies to gather information on quality of learning and teaching, learning resources, organisation and management, and assessment and feedback. The PTES data available on gender-sensitive issues was limited. In answer to the question “Overall, I am satisfied with the quality of the course”, 78% of males agreed and 64% of females agreed (difference in percentages (females – males), -13.9% 95% CI -44.4, 16.5). The free text responses to PTES questions for 2018/19 were not available by gender due to the very small number of males who responded to the survey (N=9). There were no free text comments that referred specifically to gender sensitive issues; a summary of free text comments can be seen in Figure 2.
  • From 2015/16 we have tried to monitor the progression of PGT students onto PhD study. However, this is impossible to fully track, unless the student continues their studies within SHW.
  • In Semester 2 of 2017/18 we conducted our second survey to postgraduate taught students to identify any gender-sensitive issues. 
  • The recommendations this group has made have ensured that students on all SHW programmes receive the same information regarding the support and opportunities available throughout their PGT studies in SHW.

Future plans

  • A third survey has been sent to all postgraduate taught students in Semester 3 2019/20 to identify any gender-sensitive issues in this cohort that have not yet been considered.
  • We will continue to monitor student numbers, applications, offers, acceptances and degree classifications by gender on an annual basis to allow us to explore gender sensitive issues within the teaching programmes in SHW and to take any appropriate actions to ensure gender equality.  

Figure 1

Total PGT by gender - % and numbers

Graph of undergraduate and postgraduate student numbers 2016/17-2018/19 (2020/21 data pending)

Graph of undergraduate and postgraduate student numbers 2016 to 2019

Figure 2

Word cloud summary of PTES free text comments

Word cloud of student comments